Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thank you, James Scott Bell

They say a reading of Ten Commandments can change a guy's life. I am sure that is true. But there are Ten Commandments, and then there are the Ten Commandments for an author. Those "tablets of stone" for writers came recently from James Scott Bell, one of the better writing coaches in the business. Bell's Commandments have forced me to take a long look and a wrecking ball to my second novel.

I won't detail which commandments had such a great impact on me, but Bell taught me two lessons in the plainest language yet: refine character, complicate plot. I took those lessons and took a hard look at what I had written. There was only one conclusion to make: I had work to do.

So, at 3:42 a.m. Saturday morning, with the music of Bach playing in my headphones, I reentered my novel. I had Bell's commandments playing in the back of my mind as well.

This won't be a short exercise. I am taking entire sections I wrote and refining them. I am tossing out sections of plot and substituting new ones. I am looking at details of character, especially for my protagonist. I am built him well; now I need to build him better.

So, thank you, Mr. Bell. I hope my finished work adequately fulfills your commandments.

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