OwlTail

Cover image of James Scott Bell

James Scott Bell

14 Podcast Episodes

Latest 16 Oct 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Episode artwork

Plot Structure Techniques by James Scott Bell

Bookey App 30 mins Book Summaries Knowledge Notes and More

Many people harbor the urge to turn their personal stories into a novel. With this in mind, some start writing. But before they can finish even a couple of lines, they realize that they can't come up with good plot ideas, and have difficulty sorting out a storyline. At this point, they become frustrated, thinking that writing is so hard that only gifted people can handle it. Finally, they put down their pen and give up.In this book James Scott Bell uses his personal experience to tell us techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.

13mins

20 Jul 2021

Episode artwork

How to Write the Last 50 Pages of Your Book with James Scott Bell

Christian Publishing Show

“The first page of a book sells that book. The last page sells your next book.” –– American crime novelist Mickey SpillaneWhen you write a novel, you want your readers to be so thrilled by the ending of your story that they immediately buy your next book.  And then they tell all their friends about it.But if your ending flops and your readers are dissatisfied, the only thing they will be telling their friends is:  “Don’t buy this book!”  So how do you write an ending to your story that leaves your reader feeling thrilled and fulfilled?  We have a special guest returning to the show today.  He is the winner of the International Thriller Writers Award and the author of more than 20 books for writers, including the #1 bestseller Plot & Structure.  Other books you may be familiar with include Writing Unforgettable Characters, Writing Your Book from the Middle, and The Last 50 Pages.James Scott Bell, welcome back to the Christian Publishing Show!http://jamesscottbell.com/The Last 50 Pages Isaac Asimov’s Eureka Phenomenon Sponsor: The Christian Writers Market GuideThe Christian Writers Market Guide 2021 is the most comprehensive and highly recommended resource on the market for finding an agent, an editor, a publisher, a publicist, a writing coach, or a place to sell whatever you are writing. Wherever you are on the writing spectrum–from beginner to seasoned professional–the Guide will help you find what you are looking for. Over 1,000 curated listings, including more than 200 book publishers, 150 periodical publishers, 40 agents, 200 freelance editors and designers, podcasts, and much more. Includes a denominational index.You can get it in print or online. You can listen to this episode How to Write the Last 50 Pages of Your Book with James Scott Bell on Christian Publishing Show.

37mins

22 Jun 2021

Similar People

Episode artwork

S2/E36: The Last Fifty Pages by James Scott Bell

The Rookie Writer Show

I will confess. I love James Scott Bell‘s books and classes. He not only cuts to the chase (and this book is no exception, weighing in at a mere 110 pages), his writing style makes those pages fly by. But don’t let the conversational tone and Dad jokes fool you. Bell knows his stuff. He’s won an International Thriller Writers Award, has written the #1 bestselling resource for writers, Plot & Structure (published by Writer’s Digest Books), and has taught writing at a myriad of locations (including Pepperdine University) throughout the English speaking world. You’ve also likely come across some of his articles and columns in Writers Digest. In addition to several other successful books on writing, Bell’s a prolific fiction writer with dozens of titles across a variety of genres. And if that’s not enough to impress you, how about this from his website: “He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver, and graduated with honors from the University of Southern California Law Center” (emphasis added).Bell helps you understand endings by breaking them down in a variety of ways. I clearly won’t be able to cover them all, but here are my…THREE THINGS…1Endings sell your reader on you. If the first pages are about trying to get your reader to give a particular book a try, your last pages are about convincing them that it’s worth it to pick up your other books (and to tell other readers about you). The key is what Bell calls simply “reader satisfaction.” Using the old golf maxim, “It’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive,” he emphasizes that it’s critical that we “leave the reader in a positive emotional state about the reading experience as a whole” (emphasis added). Let’s put it this way. How many times have you heard this, “It was a little slow at the beginning, but once it got going it was really, really good. You should read it!” Okay, how about this one: “It was going great, but it really petered out at the end. You should read it!” I rest my case.2It doesn’t have to be a happy ending to be a good ending. In fact, Bell suggests that there are five types (or “shapes”) of endings that work well. The Lead Wins – AKA Happily Ever After (Think Pride and Prejudice)The Lead Loses – AKA Downbeat Ending (Think The Great Gatsby)The Lead Sacrifices – The Sacrifice is the point – almost becomes a new Objective for the Lead (Think Casablanca) The Lead “Wins” but Really Loses – Often found in Horror novels (Think Pet Sematary or “The Monkey’s Paw”)Open Ended – Mostly found in Literary novels and/or experimental fiction (Think Catcher in the Rye) Having some idea of the “shape” of your ending will help guide you when things get hairy in the mushy middle.3 It is not death that a man should fear… Bell warns us, “If the story doesn’t have death on the line, it’s going to feel flat.” That’s not to say that it must always involve physical danger. He reminds us that there are basically three “types” of death we can use to give our story the kind of suspense and excitement readers crave:Physical Death – Just what you’re think it is. The threat of physical violence, danger, or actual death.Professional Death – Again, just what you think. Your protagonist’s calling or job is at risk. Psychological Death – This is when your character’s heart, ego, etc. is on the line. Bell digs deeper into these concepts in his book, Conflict & Suspense. Here’s another writer’s review of it. TODAY’S QUOTE:This is for all of you out there who’ve written and rewritten (and rewritten) that first chapter. Consider giving this bit of advice from Bell a whirl:“My first piece of advice to you is this: have an ending in mind to write toward. You can always change it along the way, or when you revise. And the way you come up with an ending list to start in the middle.”James Scott BellHACK: Music Soothes the Savage BeastSometimes there’s nothing scarier than the swirling vortex of a book that seems to have lost its way. When this happens, one of the things that Bell suggests is to revisit your endings with a fresh brainstorming session. He likes to close his eyes and listen to different types of music, letting the various endings play out like a movie in his mind. Later, he jots down notes from the different “mind movies” and plays with the pieces until he finds his optimal ending. Music is a key piece of his Stew, Brew, Accrue, Do, (Woohoo!) technique, which I think all by itself might just be worth the couple of bucks you’ll spend on the book. I’d also like to mention that Bell suggests a handful of exercises (and only a handful), which he scatters throughout the book. I recommend giving both this book and those exercises a try. They certainly worked for me when I was feeling both stuck and lost in my manuscript recently. They helped me understand the lay of my story’s land, so to speak. There is a lot more in here that I couldn’t begin to cover, but again, Bell does a great job of keeping things streamlined. He knows you’re busy and you’ve got writing to do! I hope this was helpful! This is the last episode of Season 2 and the last episode for 2020. I’m going to give myself the holidays off this year. (Woohoo!) Be safe, wear your masks, manage your risks, and mostly just hang in there. Maybe give yourself a break where you can, too. Please take care of yourselves so that we can all meet back here in 2021 with Season 3! Until then. . . Happy writing, people!SOME OF THE WRITING BOOKS BY JAMES SCOTT BELL:IN OTHER DAIR-RELATED NEWS:I have a book out! If you’re at home with your kids and need some fresh ideas to keep them sane, engaged, and entertained, check out Happy Busy Kids: 50+ Dairbrained Ideas, Games & Projects. I’m donating 30% of the profits to the COVID19 projects of First Book, No Kid Hungry, and Prevent Child Abuse America. And for free resources and more ideas, visit HappyBusyKids.com. Fellow author Robin Knabel and I recently posted a new episode of our podcast, Unsettling Reads. Come check out our spoiler-free review of It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan. Visit www.UnsettlingReads.com to browse our other reviews of books from the crime, fantasy, horror, literary, mystery, sci-fi, suspense, and thriller genres. And a reminder to look for Robin’s short story in the summer issue of The Raven Review! To find out what I’ve been working on, fiction-wise, visit www.HDairBrown.com. Sign up for the email list, and I’ll send you a free story every month. Just one email a month. I promise not to inundate you. I hate a pesky emailer!Finally, to help you keep track of both your writing goals and your time, visit TheRookieWriter.net and sign up for the email list to get a free undated quarterly version of The Rookie Writer Playbook (a planner/organizer just for writers) to try out. And, of course, The Rookie Writer Etsy shop has full annual, dated Writing Planners available, along with a few other tools and fun swag for writers. Now on sale for 50% off!Consider also downloading a free sample of The Rookie Writer Playbook, which includes a few standard checklists, as well as places to make your own checklists.

9mins

19 Nov 2020

Episode artwork

How to Craft Unforgettable Characters with James Scott Bell

Christian Publishing Show

If readers don’t care about your characters, they won’t care about your book. If your characters are wooden, generic, or forgettable, readers won’t buy, read, finish, or recommend your book. If you want to write a book people not only finish but recommend to friends, you must craft compelling characters. So how do you do […] You can listen to this episode How to Craft Unforgettable Characters with James Scott Bell on Christian Publishing Show.

34mins

18 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Episode artwork

The Beginning and the End: An Interview with James Scott Bell

WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast: Write a Book, Change the World with Kitty Bucholtz

EPISODE 180IToday's guest is bestselling and award-winning author James Scott Bell. We talk about two of his many nonfiction books for writers, The Last Fifty Pages and Plotman to the Rescue.From the first book, Jim talks about the Ahhh and the Uh-Oh types of endings. There can be a satisfying ending where it all works out for the protagonists, or at the end, when things seem to have worked out, the reader glimpses some little thing that says something bad might still happen, like at the end of Stephen King’s Pet Semetery. There are genre conventions for some books like the happily ever after in romance, but there are all kinds of shapes to endings. As an author, you need to find the right trajectory for your ending. Not having any idea what it is can lead to a lot of rewriting or a less than satisfactory ending for readers. Plotman to the Rescue is a reference book to find the problem you’re having with your story and some suggestions on how to fix it. Jim has so many creative suggestions for writing books - this is a great episode for any level of writer!You can find out more about Jim, his books, and his teaching on his website. He can also be found on Patreon where you can read his short fiction before anyone else!

1hr 6mins

13 Feb 2020

Episode artwork

Writing From the Middle: An Interview with James Scott Bell - ENCORE

WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast: Write a Book, Change the World with Kitty Bucholtz

EPISODE 171IJames Scott Bell is a Christy Award-winning and International Thriller Writers Award-winning author in several fiction genres, and a beloved and sought-after writing teacher. He has written many nonfiction titles on the craft of writing, including several for Writer’s Digest Books. In today’s episode, Jim talks about how he got the idea for his craft book, Write Your Novel From the Middle.

41mins

26 Dec 2019

Episode artwork

Writing Tips: Unforgettable Endings With James Scott Bell

The Creative Penn Podcast For Writers

The last pages of your book are critical because they determine how the reader will feel when they leave your world — and whether they will buy your next book. As readers, we've all been disappointed by weak story endings, so how can we make sure that we leave our readers satisfied? James Scott Bell […] The post Writing Tips: Unforgettable Endings With James Scott Bell first appeared on The Creative Penn.

57mins

16 Sep 2019

Episode artwork

Creating Your Character's Mirror Moment with James Scott Bell

Red Sneaker Writers

Bestselling author William Bernhardt discusses the latest news from the writing world, followed by an interview with James Scott Bell, author of bestselling thrillers and many books on writing, including Plot and Structure and Write Your Novel From the Middle.News:1) Kindle Direct Publishing adds or improves two features: Image Handling and Tables of Contents in your eBooks;2) The publishing industry experiences book shortages that curtail sales during the holiday season; and3) End-of-the-Year Report. Books sales rose in 2018, largely due to an increase in the sales of political nonfiction. Independent bookstore sales increased a bit. More than 1000 authors made over $100,000 self-publishing their work. And more.In the interview, Bell discusses how he structures his writing day, setting writing targets and tracking his productivity. He talks about creating an action plan to develop a writing career and keep it on track. He explains "the mirror moment," a mid-point scene in which the protagonist undergoes a moment of self-examination that leads to a transformative character arc, enriching the novel.James Scott Bell will be the keynote speaker at WriterCon 2019 in Oklahoma City over Labor Day weekend. Register now to take advantage of the Early Bird special. Just enter the promo code EARLYBIRD when you register at writercon.org.The support this podcast, visit: www.patreon.com/willbernEmail William Bernhardt at wb@williambernhardt.com, or visit his website: www.williambernhardt.com

30mins

31 Dec 2018

Episode artwork

MTTA 72: James Scott Bell

Meet the Thriller Author: Interviews with Writers of Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense Books

James Scott Bell is a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for his novel, Romeo’s Way, and the #1 bestselling author of books on the craft of writing. Jim attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver. He graduated with honors from the University of Southern California law... The post MTTA 72: James Scott Bell appeared first on Meet the Thriller Author.

32mins

17 Oct 2018

Episode artwork

014I – Writing From the Middle: An Interview with James Scott Bell

WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast: Write a Book, Change the World with Kitty Bucholtz

James Scott Bell is a Christy Award-winning and International Thriller Writers Award-winning author in several fiction genres, and a beloved and sought-after writing teacher. He has written many nonfiction titles on the craft of writing, including several for Writer’s Digest Books. In today’s episode, Jim talks about how he got the idea for his craft…

34mins

18 Jan 2018

Loading