Write Your Novel from the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A powerful secret and a fresh approach to writing bestselling fiction!
What's the best way to write a "next level" novel? Some writers start at the beginning and let the story unfold without a plan. They are called "pantsers", because they write by the "seat of the pants".
Other writers plan and outline and know the ending before they start. These are the "plotters".
The two sides never seem to agree with each other on the best approach.
But what if it's not the beginning or the end that is the key to a successful book? What if, amazing as it may seem, the place to begin writing your novel is in the very middle of the story?
According to #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell, that's exactly where you'll find your story's heart and heat. Bell's "Mirror Moment" is the secret, and its power is available to any writer, at any stage of the writing process.
Bringing together years of craft study and personal discovery, Bell presents a truly unique approach to writing a novel, one that will stand the test of time and serve you all your writing life.
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|Listening Length||2 hours and 4 minutes|
|Author||James Scott Bell|
|Narrator||James Scott Bell|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 25, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #108 in Writing Skill Reference (Books) |
Reviewed in the United States on May 30, 2015
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This book might be a game changer for plotters and pansters. Many books claim to be flexible, but appear to be some version of "outlining lite". There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not really new information.
This plotting from the mirror moment out is the perfect compromise between writing a 50 page outline and writing the entire book by the seat of your pants and then revising heavily. It's a bare bones structure, either from the plot or character standpoint, that allows you to fill in the blanks as much or as little as your writer's heart desires.
There's also extra bonus goodies at the back of the book, including one of Bell's best exercises. It shows you how to channel your creavity to mimic the lovely period right before falling asleep. I use it almost every time I write and it's made a huge difference.
All in all, this book is worth every dollar, and much more than the price he's charging. He remains one of my go-to authors to insta-buy from, and someday I will realize a life long dream of attending one of his seminars. Until then, we can be content with the writing books he puts out.
And yet I forget every single time I pick up one of Bell's craft books how gratingly condescending his authorial voice is. Which is what dropped my rating down by a solid star and a half.
In this book in particular he also shows a pretty snide hostility to a certain kind kind of author writing a certain kind of book
*cough* women *cough cough* romance
Also weirdly hung up on how he thinks there should be no body parts in sex scenes.
IN SHORT: this has many helpful concepts, and some concepts that really don't seem as clear cut as he states them, yet even those concepts remain highly helpful even if they are somewhat hard to codify. Yep, get this book and read it.
A BIT MORE EXPLANATION of areas that lack clarity to me:
ONE, He refers to the three acts and the two pillars that largely define them. To me, it seems that these pillars are not always a distinct moment, but a gradual realization (for character driven stories) or gradual shift in context (for plot driven stories). Small point maybe.
TWO, he refers to the golden triangle. One can glean how it relates to the pillars and acts, but it's not clearly laid out. The golden triangle refers to the entire book, and certainly it includes the beginning of the book. It doesn't address whether the triangle encompasses the end (although it seems to) and in fact, the contents of Act III is never specifically addressed anywhere in the book (not even to say "it includes a resolution to the death issues that were fought in Act II"). It refers to the right side of the triangle being the transformation, but that could include only the end of Act II (with Act III as being resolution after transformation) but he never explicitly says. ONLY in examples does he refer to the right tip of the triangle as being the "show us the transformation." So, I can glean that it extends to the end of the book even though he never directly addresses it.
THREE, the descriptions of the first pillar, the second pillar (and to a degree, the middle mirror moment) takes a bit of absorption to get clear.
FOUR, I don't recall the book addressing the cases in which one might want more than one mirror moment, or might have multiple pillars/acts like I've seen in some books (e.g. The Stand by King).
HAVING SAID ALL THAT: The key point is that these seem to be incredibly valuable points, even the ones that were not stated as clearly as I'd like. These are valuable even if your writing requires deviations from this core structure (this is a short book and thus has little room for filling in anything other than the core framework). So far, I find it very valuable in thinking of changes I want to make, and we will see how valuable it is as I put this structure to a current story, and then in 2020 as I practice.
CONCLUSION: If you're at all new to writing, I highly recommend this as a fantastic kickoff to assuring you have core concepts laid out well. If you have even medium experience, I can't reliably address how much it will help, but I suspect it will help a lot. Any experience beyond that is beyond my ability to address it... yet. :-) I may come back to this as I put it into practice; we'll see how that goges.
Thanks James Scott Bell! This is a great resource for me.
Top reviews from other countries
I'm a nonfiction writer by trade but contemplating NaNoWriMo... so I surfed through my library to see if anything might inspire me (counter the fear & sense of ridiculous of such an undertaking, more likely)
I found this. Write Your Novel From the Middle. Surely no more ridiculous than contemplating NaNoWriMo?..
So I read it. This afternoon. Swiftly. With increasing enthusiasm and head-nodding.
The idea is genius and simple to see
(1) how it would work - for the author
(2) make for a far more powerful novel - for the reader
Too late I started highlighting the flurry of wonderful tips and how to's.
Time to go make dinner and re-read the whole thing again, pulling from it everything I can.
(it's only 93 pages but I'm guessing I'll probably end up with almost as many ideas, helpful directions and inspiration..)
Suddenly NaNoWriMo doesn't seem so personally ridiculous after all...
I was looking for something to help me with plotting or outlining the second half of a sequel I am working on & this helped me identify what I needed to work on to make it run right & what questions to ask myself about my characters & story to complete it. It also has brilliant writing tips at the back.
Definitely worth all types of writers giving it a read, there's something to take away for everyone.