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Writing the Breakout Novel (E–pub/Kindle) ↠ Donald Maass

Fresh Water kIng They made me dislike herSo what did Maass like about Tell Me Lies The following which was too general and not specific enough Maddie s new boyfriend is an accountant Crusie chooses that profession for her hero not only to give him conflicting sides but to enhance her theme of accountabilityCrusie uses high moments and deathhas a number of interconnected plot layersThe fun of the novel though lies in the middle It is the sexual heat between Maddie and CL as well as Maddie s larger than life outlook that brings the story to breakout level The plot layers help So do the many distinctive characters and their interwoven destinies p 221Maass comments I wasn t feeling them I ve read 12 Crusie books I gave 5 stars to three of them But this book got 1 star I have a hard time using this book as a standard for other authorsMANY SUGGESTIONS WERE NOT SPECIFIC ENOUGHMaass has an exercise for the author to determine theme Ok so the author figures out the theme then what Maass doesn t say what to do with it or why a theme is necessary I believe Stephen King does not use themes when planning what to write because he does not plan his plots Following is a uote from Stephen King s book On Writing I plot as little as possible Plotting and the spontaneity of real creation are not compatible Situation comes first and then watch what happens as the characters try to work themselves out of it Most of the time the outcome is something I never expected Personally I don t like artificial cliff hangers at the end of scenes Maass names some popular authors who use cliff hangers and then says Cliff hangers may be clunky but can all these authors be wrong about them Clearly notFalse success at the end of a scene also suggests a coming disaster Readers are wise to certain authorial tricks A rise is likely to precipitate a fall p193 I don t understand those last three sentences stated together this way Instead of clarifying the next sentence after these is about another subject It s the following What if you have no idea about your novel s pacing Do not worry You cannot go too far wrong if your focal character is strong your central conflict is clear and established early and the main plotline always strides forward and is rarely than a scene or two away Work with solid plot fundamentals in this way and your story probably will maintain its drive of its own accord p193 These phrases sound good but they are not specific enoughMaass mentions a book What ties it together is not plot but a powerful framework provided by a young woman s yearning p223 My thought How does an authornow if she has a powerful framework Breakout novelists are willing to experiment reverse direction throw out large chunks of manuscript add length in short do whatever it takes to wrestle the many interwoven elements of a large scale novel into shapeBreakout novels sprawl If not long they generally are lavish in other ways depth of character setting detail theme and so on p225 How does this tell an author what they need to do It sounds like they need an editor to tell them what to throw add etc In contemporary stories of breakout caliber a sense of the historical moment is also captured What makes our time this very moment in history similar to or different from any other As I am sure you can anticipate the answer once again lies in your characters perceptions of these things p 88 Your characters live in an era but which one And in what stage of its life Find the moments in the story that delineate that distinction detail them from a prevailing point of view and you will be on your way to enhancing your novel with a sense of the times p 91 breakout novelists employ many approaches to setting but all have one element in common detail A setting cannot live unless it is observed in its pieces and particulars A place is the sum of its parts The emotions that it evokes are most effective when they are specific better still when they are uniue p 97DATABook length 260 pages Swearing language none Sexual content none Copyright 2001 Genre nonfiction how to writeOTHER BOOKSFor excellent books on the craft of writing consider the following I gave 5 stars to both of themStein on Writing A Master Editor shares His Craft Techniues and Strategies by Sol SteinOn Writing A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King m still a few pages from being done with Donald Maass s Writing the Breakout Novel and WOWFor YEARS I have been looking for what I consider the perfect writing book And every time I go to a bookstore I find yet another book on writing or some aspect I find to be utterly indispensible I must have themI m not going to talk about how many writing books I have Let s just say A fewHowever there are only a few books I would recommend to people A lot of the books I ve purchased are Well they tend to repeat the same things over and over again Just in different waysThis one does not In fact Writing the Breakout Novel has a TON of information you don t see in other writing books Why I have no idea but this information feels like the information I have tried to findThis is a MUST READ for any writer fiction or nonfictionDonald Maass is a *literary agent yes one of those people we all would love to have represent us In fact he represents some *agent yes one of those people we all would love to have represent us In fact he represents some the big names in the industry Robert McCammon Anne Perry Elizabeth Bear You can find a list of his clients on his webpageAnd this book is a book EVERY writer needs to have on hisher shelfMaass takes a look at breakout novels the novels that get their author s names about and dissects them for their uniue attributes What makes a novel great This book tells you what this agent thinks using examples from contemporary works as well as his own years of experience reading submission after submissionHe tells us what ideas that beginning novelists like to use and then proceeds to tell us why it usually doesn t work He gives us alternatives to these ideas as well as showing when they actually MIGHT work and how successful authors used themThe Examples Maass Uses Are From Maass uses are from different types of novels including both genre and literary fiction Yep there are spoilers for the books but we re not really reading for pleasure are we I m making a list of the books and categorizing them into books I want to read in order to study what the author has done I probably won t read them all but the ones that stand out for me I ll be all overMaass has also published a workbook to compliment this book It includes examples as well as exercises to incorporate Maass s ideas and thoughts into your novel I ll be using this and The Fire in Fiction Passion Purpose and Techniues to Make Your Novel Great to work on making my current WIP better than ever I ll probably use it also to go back and help flesh out my NaNoWriMo novel from 2008 as wellI m also a graduate of Holly Lisle s How to Think Sideways class as well as her How to Revise Your Novel class I think Maass S Work Will s work will a substantial source of information to help me along my journeyI m glad I bought this book and I ll be using it MUCH than most of my other. Tain a high degree of narrative tension from start to finish develop an inspired premise that sets your novel apart from the competitionThen using examples from the recent works of several best selling authors including novelist Anne Perry Maass illustrates methods for upping the ante in every aspect of your novel writing You'll capture the eye of an agent generate publisher interest and lay the foundation for a promising care.

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Writing the Breakout NovelOks It sounds like a writing hack s how to book I assure you it s anything butFirst off Maas is a top literary agent in New York He is also the author of uite a few pseudonymous novels 14 as of 2001 probably now but since I don t French Daguerreotypes know what his pseudonym is I can t check He s made a successful career out of his studies on this topic and what he s written is not so much how to write a breakout novel as it is how to write a novel worth readingMaasnows that what drives book sales is word of mouth recommendations but what inspires word of mouth Read his book to see how well your book will do and what needs to change to make it better I can t recommend Writing the Breakout Novel highly enough to aspiring novelistsIn fact I think I ll make a habit of re reading it every time I m about to start working on a new novel myself There are obvious reasons why adding this title is embarrassingBut the book is not what you thinkMaass is a writer and agent with several decades of experience and he uses that to explain why some books work and some don t He analyzes both commercial and literary fiction He s basically interested in any book that reaches a wide audience and why regardless of its categorizationThis book worked for me because it coalesced a year s worth of reading writing taking apart books and workshops on structure novel and plot Maass goes over how to create compelling characters plot and subplot theme etcAlso I d like to address some easy misconceptions and points other reviewers have made Maass is not discounting hard work He s not saying a person can spit out a novel in a month He acknowledges that novel writing reuires practice and years of work This book doesn t contain formulas either However Maass does show how a successful career novelist must write many books He tracks several novelist s careers and demonstrates how they build audiences usually after amassing a body of work He argues for writing an excellent book and another and another and another and so on So for the rare authors who are able to live off of writing they haven t done it with the first book they ve spent years writing books before they re able to retire from their day jobs and devote themselves to full time writing WARNING The plot formulas exposed and lauded in this book can be toxic May lead to dizziness fits of cynicism and paroxysms Do not take this product if you harbor unrealistic expectations about what sort of books the American book buying public actually consumes Do not read if you are offended by the notion that trite adolescent writing and conventional morality may be the most sellable commodity in today s literary marketplace Do not take if you are allergic to any of the followingMichael CrichtonJohn GrishamTom ClancyChicken Soup of the Anything If after reading you are seized by the sudden urge to write a highly commercial techno thriller take with John Gardner s On Becoming a Novelist and EM Forrester s Aspects of the Novel If problem persists write twenty non rhyming couplets on the intellectual anguish of having to watch Sex in the City then read Shakespeare s CoriolanusIn shortA fantastic wake up call and a manual on how to write crass highly sellable fiction Maass effectively and succinctly answers that most nagging of author gripes how does this garbage get on the best seller list He nows his stuff which is what makes this book so terrifying As an aspiring novelist a friend gave me this book thinking I would like itI didn tFirst the pros On one hand the book gives a few basic pointers about storytelling and the publishing industry The book offers a few interesting extract from novels And maybe maybe you might like this book if you were a Complete NewbieBut On The Other Hand The Author Claims To newbieBut On the other hand the author claims to found the magic formula to write a hit book And this is where everything goes wrong The author of this book is an agent not a novelistThere s no magic formula or as some other reviewers have already mentioned the author would be a successful novelist himself And he s notReading this book made me cringed than once Repeatedly the author sounds arrogantpompous and gives horrible advice as if it were the gospel of truthThe chapter on E Revolution comes to mind Talking about e readers the author suggests it s a fad they stand little chance of replacing traditional paper books he saysYep tell that to Amanda Hockings This is so wrong and it s almost comical to read today This book was written in 2001 and it showsI found this book to be very condescending as well There is this overarching tone in the book implying I now better than youI suggest you discover instead On Writing 10th Anniversary Edition A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King A much better volume on the craft of writing by someone who s actually ualified to talk about it and who does it in a way that will inspire you 2 stars for generalities not enough specifics 4 stars for some good ideas that are probably found in most writing booksAUTHOR IDEAS I LIKED the past perfect tense and its evil facilitator the word had will always rob a scene of its vital immediacy Even though we need to learn about events that have already happened the author eeps the action always in the present It has impact that way p143Maass encourages combining roles as in the lifelong friend who is also a doctor or the ex spouse who is also a tennis partner p127 Most of us do not for very long tolerate people who make us feel frustrated sad hopeless or depressed not in life not in books p 105 Every protagonist needs a torturous need a consuming fear an aching regret a visible dream a passionate longing an inescapable ambition an exuisite lust an inner lack a fatal weakness an unavoidable obligation an iron instinct an irresistible plan a noble ideal an undying hopewhatever it is that in the end propels him beyond the boundaries that confine the rest of us and brings about fulfilling change p77MY FAVORITE PART ualities that we ordinarily associate with greatness vision insight high intelligence p77MY FAVORITE PART ualities that we ordinarily associate with greatness vision insight high intelligence accomplishment wisdom to name a few If you were to construct a character that embodied all of those ualities however you would wind up with someone about whom it is not very interesting to read Why Because there is nothing left to discover nothing unresolved about such a paragon Accomplishment already accomplished does not hold our attention Striving to attain the impossible though is a struggle from which we cannot take our eyes Do you watch the Olympics on TV Who does not Do you still care what happens to the bronze medal winner a month or two after the closing ceremony No Who does p110MAASS ADMIRES THE FOLLOWING BOOK I IMMENSELY DISLIKED ITMaass considers Jennifer Crusie s Tell Me Lies a breakout novel I gave it 1 star At one point I was so angry I wanted to throw the book I did not like it for two reasons 1 heroine stupidity The heroine did at least five stupid things One of them was seeing a murder weapon touching it and putting her fingerprints on it 2 The heroine lied too much The lies were not interesting or entertain. Breakout novels share regardless of genre then shows you writing techniues that can make your own books stand out and succeed in a crowded marketplaceYou'll learn to establish a powerful and sweeping sense of time and place weave subplots into the main action for a complex engrossing story create larger than life characters that step right off the page explore universal themes that will interest a broad audience of readers sus. ,

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