- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158297182X
- ISBN-13: 978-1582971827
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 244 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level
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From Library Journal
In today's world, an author who doesn't produce a breakout novel risks getting lost in the midlist of the publishing world. Maass, the author of 17 novels who now works as a literary agent representing such distinguished writers as Anne Perry and James Patterson, knows firsthand what makes a novel rise above its category in the already saturated book market. Using his own clients as case studies, Maass defines the most crucial elements of a breakout novel a powerful sense of time and place, larger-than-life characters, a high degree of tension, good subplots, and universal themes and shows the reader how to use these elements efficiently to write a novel that will generate interest and have the potential to hit the best sellers lists. Each section ends with checklists for review. Recommended for all public libraries serving communities with struggling writers. Lisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., WI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Donald Maass is the author of 17 novels. He works as a literary agent, representing dozens of novelists in the fantasy, crime, mystery, romance, and thriller categories. He speaks at writer's conferences throughout the USA.
Top customer reviews
I cannot offer the perspective of a seasoned novelist, but as an avid reader and beginning writer, I found Maass's perspective very helpful. He describes the interplay of elements within a novel, always stressing that time and care can turn a novel from good to extraordinary. Along the way, he cautions against envy of other writers, the lure of the high advance, and signing with the wrong agent, but above all, he stresses one fact: it comes down to the writing. The way to become a brand author is to keep delivering excellent work that delights your readers.
As an author and world-class literary agent, Donald Maass has the credentials to advise fiction writers. He explains in detail why readers read and what they crave. Then he tells you how and why you should tantalize them, lead them on from one gut-wrenching chapter to the next, and finally how to satisfy them. In short, how to turn a good story into a great one. And he follows his own advice. He keeps you begging for more all the way to the end.
Thank you, Donald Maass.
Frank Allan Rogers, author Upon A Crazy Horse
These sorts of books, you expect to get a lot of repetition of things you already know, and you sift through them to find the little gems that are worded in a slightly different way than usual in order to finally break through your skull and explode in sunshine and rainbows all over your brain. This book has a lot more of those gems than I expected, and it also explored some new topics that I haven't read about elsewhere. I particularly liked the discussion about the interaction between characters and their settings. I loved the assertion that writers should be opinionated... and how to deal with that without alienating your audience. In the past, I've always tried to keep my opinions OUT, but now it seems Donald Maass has given me something to think about.
This book is geared towards professional mid-list writers, so there were definitely portions of this book that were not relevant to my purposes. I didn't mind reading though it all anyway. It was interesting.
I found this book to be helpful and insightful, and I think that if any of you other novices are interested in picking it up, you'll learn a lot from it. Just.. relax and try not to get too overwhelmed when you realize you need to make some big changes in your current project. After all, that's why your reading a book on writing instead of actually doing the writing... isn't it?