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The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great Paperback – June 26, 2009
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About the Author
- Publisher : Writer's Digest Books (June 26, 2009)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 158297506X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1582975061
- Item Weight : 13.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.75 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #526,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The format of the book is a series of examples and half-page quotes which Donald thought illustrated a point, followed by his commentary.
The last couple chapters were amazing. Second to last chapter was entitled "tension everywhere" and I think improved my abilities as a writer:
"Micro-tension is the moment-by-moment tension that keeps the reader in a constant state of suspense over what will happen, not in the story but in the next few seconds."
And (spoiler) here's the Fire in Fiction, another great concept:
"Originality comes not from your genre, setting, plot, characters, voice, or any other element on which you can work. It cannot. It isn't possible. Originality can come only from what you bring of yourself to your story. In other words, originality is not a function of your novel; it is a quality in you."
My one complaint is that the writing was a bit loose. Sometimes, he'd write for a paragraph about a book of some kind, only to say, "Ok, now we'll ignore that book and talk about something else that author wrote." By the end of my book, my head was swimming after going through SO MANY examples from SO MANY books.
Still, very, very helpful.
This book advances The Breakout Novel by going through the modern genres and updating where they stand today, and exploring in depth what creates prose we want to read.
Guess what? It's not many of the things other books tell you.
He also gives away a lot of the common cliches writers submit to his agency. Got a thriller about an unearthed archeological artifact? Scenes where the hero ponders what just happened and decides what to do next?
If you're on the A list, you probably think you don't need this book -- I won't mention any names, but I can think of some big names who've fallen into bad habits.
If you're just beginning, you won't understand it. Get more basic books about plot, point of view and so.
For those of us in the huge space between beginner and A List, this book is a blessing.
I was grabbed from the opening pages. There, Maass talked about why some books from well-known authors, or authors who've written several books in a series go south. Having experienced that phenomenon as a reader I really wanted to understand how to avoid that problem as a writer.
This book is filled with great examples of good writing with explanations of WHY the writing is good. There's also some neat exercises at the end of each chapter that guide a writer in thinking through their own process, as it relates to the chapter's topic, i.e. scenes, character, protagonists, etc.
A great read and one I'll go back and read again.
Top reviews from other countries
I thought I knew a fair bit about character and conflict but turning points and micro tension were new concepts to me. I recognised them instantly from the examples - a bit of a 'duh' moment for me. However it's the systemised way that you can go through your own novel, editing each different aspect - that's very useful.
Endings and beginnings...I knew they were important but now I'll be taking a fresh look at those as well (not just the first and last page).
The exercises I have yet to try - you'd think I would be excited and I am in a way...except I know it will also be hard work.
There are a lot of exercises.
The difficulty is choosing which ones to do first. I know the more effort I put in, the better my book will be.
Yes, I enjoyed this. Very much.