Happily Ever After logo

by Terescia Harvey

Book Reviews: Books for Writers

Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham

When I bought Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham, one of the books from the Elements of Fiction Writing from Writer's Digest Books, I got an even better resource than I expected.

As the author of more than 80 books, including Twister (on which the recent movie was based) and The Apple Dumpling Gang (who doesn't recognize that title?), Jack M. Bickham was more than qualified to write an instructional book on writing. I didn't realize all this about the author until I started reading Scene and Structure.

With chapters such as: planning and revising scenes for maximum effect, scene-sequel tricks to control pace, and common errors in scenes and how to fix them, Jack M. Bickham has written a comprehensive guide to the structure of a novel's most important part--the scene.

In my opinion, a quote straight from Chapter 1: The Structure of Modern Fiction sums up the entire purpose of the book.

"[A] thorough understanding and use of fiction's classic structural patterns frees the writer from having to worry about the wrong things, and allows her to concentrate her imagination on characters and events rather than on such stuff as transitions and moving characters around, when to begin or open a chapter, whether there ought to be a flashback, and so on. Once you understand structure, many such architectural questions become virtually irrelevant--and structure has nothing to do with 'filling in the blocks.'" (p.1)

Jack Bickham goes on to outline in detail how to structure your novel. He devotes an entire chapter to plotting with scene and sequel, and in that chapter (a chapter I considered one of the best in Scene and Structure) he discusses how to maintain rising action in your story. From this chapter alone, I learned enough to feel like I got my money's worth out of Scene and Structure.

Many people have written reviews and recommended this book. I have to say that I agree with the recommendation. Scene and Structure is a book that I would recommend to any writer, whether a romance, science-fiction, fantasy, or mystery writer. Before his death, Jack M. Bickham was a creative writing professor. His expertise shows. Scene and Structure covers its subject clearly and thoroughly. I highly recommend this book to all fiction writers.

» Buy this book: Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham   » More info

This book review is copyright ©2001 Terescia Harvey.

Top of Page

Recommended Books

Scene and Structure
(Elements of Fiction Writing)
by Jack M. Bickham
Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham
» buy this book
» more info

The Elements of Fiction Writing Series:

» Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress
» Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
» Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble
» Description by Monica Wood
» Dialogue by Lewis Turco
» Manuscript Submission by Scott Edelstein
» Plot by Ansen Dibell
» Setting by Jack M. Bickham
» Voice & Style (out of print) by Johnny Payne

Search by keywords:
Type your own search term(s).
In Association with Amazon.com

Other Stuff

Feel free to to add to this, or any other page, on my site.

Updated on: April 29, 2002.

This site is copyright © 2001-2002 Terescia Harvey

Top of Page