So, you have a terrific idea for a book and then you get to the middle and suddenly remember the refrigerator needs cleaning out. You were so passionate about writing your novel, but now your mind is wandering.
Even after writing many novels, novellas and short stories, I still run into scenes that aren’t going anywhere, stories that sag and characters that no longer amuse me. At a friend’s suggestion I picked up a copy of James Scott Bell’s Superstructure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of Story. It was a fast read and oh-so-valuable.
First, because writers are always in edit mode–let’s change the title. Sorry James. This needs to be “The Roadmap”. Yes, you’re lost and yes, it’s time to ask for directions. In his 14 signpost scenes, Bell takes you from the first paragraph to the last page of your book. When I was reading the book, I was right down to the very last set of scenes on a novel and found myself looking out the window saying, “Hmmm….what now? Maybe I’ll clean a closet….”
After reading through the scene list, I checked through my story and found I had many of them already, but there were a few I needed to add. It was like being near the end of a jigsaw puzzle and suddenly realizing where everything went! He uses examples from current movies and books that most people know.
The signpost I loved the most? The “Q” factor. This is the part in James Bond when Q gives him a secret weapon like an exploding pen which will come out at the finale when Bond is fighting off the enemy. Since reading the book, I started finding Q factors everywhere, including my own manuscript.
If you are new to writing, or like me, an experienced writer who still needs to learn, check out Super Structure. Your refrigerator will keep.
Happy Homicides Valentine’s Day Update: The book is almost here! Betsy Livingston is back on Valentine’s Day with her mystery,
<3 A Heart for Murder<3