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Author Archives: James Scott Bell

The 7 Tools of Dialogue


My neighbor John loves to work on his hot rod. He’s an automotive whiz and tells me he can hear when something is not quite right with the engine. He doesn’t hesitate … Read more

The 5 C’s of Writing a Great Thriller Novel


BY JAMES SCOTT BELL Boost your story’s immunity to reader scrutiny with these fortifying nutrients.
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5 Tools for Building Conflict in Your Novel


Just like anyone else who builds things from scratch, writers need tools. And the more you use them, the better you become at using them. The more tools you’re exposed to, the … Read more

How to Write a Novel Readers Won’t Put Down


A friend alerted me to an interesting infographic posted on Goodreads. The subject: Why readers abandon a book they’ve started. Among the reasons … Read more

The 5 Biggest Fiction Writing Mistakes (& How to Fix Them)


Start your revision by addressing these, and you’ll immediately change your story for the better. Read more

7 Things That Will Doom Your Novel (& How to Avoid Them)

You can doom your debut from the start with these 7 (tongue-in-cheek) strategies for flailing, and failing—or, you can do just the opposite. Read more

Oh, You Can’t Learn to Write Fiction? Really?


Let author (and guest poster) James Scott Bell explain why learning the how-tos of writing fiction is not only important, but essential to getting published. Read more

The Geyser 5-Step Approach to Revision

Revising is a natural balance of creative eruptions and quiet analysis. Use this 5-step method to harness your story’s power and channel its flow to create a finished piece that will make a splash. Read more

5 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Scenes

Here are some simple techniques for revising scenes so your edifice will stand the test of time.

by James Scott Bell

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What is Plot, Anyway?

Read chapter 1, "What is Plot, Anyway?" of Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure. Read more

Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure

Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish Read more

Raising the Stakes

To get your novels to that next level of stakes, train yourself to think of even deeper tribulations for your lead. Read more


Structure Secrets Read more

Deepen Your Plot

Increase the staying power of your fiction by focusing on these four elements. Read more

Find the Passion

Emotional power is one of the most important components of a great story—and one of the most difficult to conjure. These five steps will help you to summon it, and make it work, every time. Read more

Jump Off the Page

These three characteristics are essential to bringing your protagonist to life. Read more

Grit, Wit and “It”

Work one or all three of these important traits into your lead character and create a hero worthy of remembrance. Read more

The Big Grab

Capture your readers’ interest at the very first paragraph. Read more

10 Disciplines for Fiction Writers

Good writing takes practice, and practice makes perfect! Use this disciplined approach to write your very best. Read more