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That time I was "Refuse to Be Done by Matt Bell: A Review, a Riff and a Path Forward" at LitReactor.


· Book Review,Matt Bell,Refuse to Be Done,LitReactor,Research
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Which is to say, you can read my revelatory review and think piece "Refuse to Be Done by Matt Bell: A Review, a Riff and a Path Forward" here and / or you may also read some excerpt below. Cool? Excellent.


"Bell wants you to squeeze every bit of beauty out of your work and I love this too. Full disclosure, I picked-up this book for research purposes, and yes, Bell talks about research as well, particularly in relation to what he refers to as “art life” as opposed to “lived life,” both of which you can read about under the “Feed the Imagination” section of the book starting on page 27.

"But back to me…I have a completed draft of a novel that I want to be something else, something faster paced, leaner, and I already write lean, yet with more dread, tension and momentum as well. I wrote a character study and I want something more elevated in terms of speed and commercial possibilities. Something a reader can’t put down, even if they need to look away. I don’t know how to do that. Bell does and I want to consume whatever he believes must be done to achieve this. His tips in the second and third chapters, and there are so many good tips, are exactly what I need, including this: “I write a full outline of the novel, outlining what already exists…the aim here is to discover what you’ve already done…once my outline is complete, I revise it, not the novel, until the outline becomes a plan for the better book I want to write.” (pages 83-84)

"Bell doesn’t start with an outline, but he does craft one midway through. Brilliant.

"Also, he’ll tell you why to eschew the use of “but,” and I’ll encourage you to go find out why this is so, though please note it falls under the same thinking as the use of “because.” The thing is, I’ll encourage you to go find out all his tips, they’re endless and wonderful. Also, as I find in the workshops I teach and with clients who do all kinds of work writing and otherwise, there are any number of informal actions you already take and haven’t yet taken the step to formalize them and make them a practice. Bell has, and you can pick and choose what you want even as you recognize that there are elements in the book that you’ve been doing already, you just haven't named or taken the time to ritualize them yet."