Writing Exercises from Matt Bell

Matt Bell
Fiction writing exercises, craft talk, and reading recommendations. Publishes monthly.
Created 03 Mar 2020
  • Exercise #25: Seeking Joy in Superfluous Worldbuilding
    01 Jan 2022 • 10 min read • 3 1
    Hi friends, Happy New Year! Here’s hoping your 2021 came to as smooth and safe an end as possible, and that 2022 begins well for you and yours. I’ve been indulging in a quiet couple of weeks at home h...
  • Exercise #24: Édouard Levé's Stochastic Anti-Plots
    01 Dec 2021 • 14 min read • 4 0
    Hi friends, Hello! Last month I was traveling to a writing residency in France as I was writing you; today I’m on the move again, having just left the place I’ve been staying and working. I’m in Toulo...
  • Exercise #23: Activating Backstory with Dialogue Instead of Flashbacks and Info Dumps
    02 Nov 2021 • 11 min read • 7 4
    Hi friends, I’m writing this from Phoenix on October 30, but if all goes well it’ll actually reach you as I’m landing in France on November 1. This is my first significant travel since before the pand...
  • Exercise #22: The Set Piece Prologue as Scale Model
    02 Oct 2021 • 11 min read • 6 0
    Hi friends, It’s finally feeling like fall here in the Phoenix area, with daily temperatures under 100 for the first time since early spring. Surviving the summer here is always a lesson in endurance,...
  • Exercise #21: How to Study Sentence Structure
    01 Sep 2021 • 8 min read • 2 3
    Hi friends, It’s the first week of September, and also somehow already the third week of my semester at ASU. I’m vaxxed and masked and teaching in-person for the first time since March of last year, a...
  • Exercise #20: Syntactic Symbolism
    01 Aug 2021 • 8 min read • 5 2
    Hi friends, It’s hard to believe it’s August already! Here in Phoenix, we’ve had the heaviest monsoon season yet in my seven years of living here, so it’s been unusually humid these past few weeks, an...
  • APPLESEED launch day! / Exercise #19: Retelling Myths, Folklore, and Fairy Tales
    13 Jul 2021 • 8 min read • 4 0
    Hi friends, Today’s the day: My novel Appleseed is now available wherever you buy your books! Here’s the quick pitch: Appleseed is an epic speculative environmental novel, told across three storylines...
  • Exercise #18: How to Structure Multiple Storylines
    01 Jul 2021 • 8 min read • 4 0
    Hi friends, My novel Appleseed comes out in less than two weeks, on July 13! If you want to be sure you get a copy on release day, you can still preorder it from wherever you buy your books, whether t...
  • Exercise #17: Shapeshifting the Autobiographical
    01 Jun 2021 • 9 min read • 2 0
    Hi friends, Hello again! I hope you’re doing well as we move into summer, and that you’ve had the chance, if you’re vaccinated and ready, to begin seeing more of your friends and family in recent week...
  • Exercise #16: The Scientific Method as Story Shape
    01 May 2021 • 11 min read • 4 1
    Hi friends, Hello again! I hope this finds you and yours healthy and safe as we transition from spring into summer. Here in the Sonoran Desert, temperatures have started to climb as we head into the h...
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