Tea & Empathy for Writers

October 13, 2018

I’ve Been Deceived

Deceived, one of James Scott Bell’s early mysteries (2009), is a good example of using chronology to assist in structuring a novel without annoying or boring your readers. As the days count down or up, based on how you see the world, you can feel the climax creeping and clamoring to explode.

Using what I would definitely define as a cast of eclectic characters, Bell’s subplots challenged me to fit the cantankerous pieces of the complex plot puzzle into the right spots, a task I enjoyed. Speaking of characters, his multiple points of view let the reader in on the growing paranoia and guilt-ridden psyche of a serial killer, which added other spine-chilling moments.

If all that isn’t enough to charm the birds from the trees, Bell accomplishes all these writerly feats in a cozy format, which doesn’t leave you with the feeling you need a bath or to wash the author’s mouth out with a bar of soap by the last page.

Another bonus is when Rocky explains shaping words: “That’s the art of it. [music] Words make sounds. You can clank ̓em or you can turn ̓em into music.” As a writer, I wanted to shout, “Yes!”





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