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Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook Paperback – June 14, 2004
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You certainly don't need both books. In either case, neither book will take you from idea to finished product. More accurately, both expect that you at least already have a work-in-progress, so an accurate title would be "REVISING the Breakout Novel."
I bought both books and I would suggest only one or the other. If you want some in-depth on topics, buy the book. If you want just the essence and a few questions for thought, buy the workbook.
I have read dozens of writing books over the years; just about always I glean some valuable nuggets from each of them. Maass's workbook is no different. For instance, he suggests that the beginning novelist put off back story as long as possible to add tension and suspense. Maass stresses THERE CAN'T BE TOO MUCH TENSION in a novel. He suggests the writer add tension on every page!
Another segment I found useful was his section on plot development. He recommends using layers and subplots to add texture and believability to your work. Subplots are plot lines given to characters other than the protagonist; layers are additonal plot lines given to the main character. He uses Mystic River as an example. Sean Devine is a homicide cop who must investigate the murder of his boyhood friend Jimmy Marcus's daughter; his wife has also left him, taking their baby daughter with her; he also flashes back to the day when the principal suspect, Dave Boyle, was kidnapped by child molesters while he and Jimmy stood by and watched.
Maass reinforces his advice by furnishing a sample outline in an appendix. He insists that every novelist, whether he uses an outline in actual practice or not, must provide one for a possible agent or film producer eventually anyway, so he might as well learn how to do one.
Beginning writers should understand that writers never quit learning and that they should continually practice their craft. Baseball players and piano players practice continually, why not novelists? WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK will help you practice and head off possible mistakes.
I own the Breakout book and just now am comparing the workbook that I checked out of the local library. They're not the same, not by a long shot, despite what one reviewer here says. Though many sections have identical headers (such as Inner Conflict), they are completely rewritten, using different examples. The original book is 259 pages of 6x9, the workbook is 230 pp. of 8-1/2x11 format, thus it is by no means a condensation as TheCafeWriter asserts, and the original book is not necessarily more "in-depth." Some sections are, some aren't. The structure is substantially rearranged. Yet the concepts and the really fundamental points -- keep your story charged with tension, and so on -- do remain identical. These are essentially two complementary treatments of the same material by the same author
Maass asks his seminar participants to bring their in-process novels to perform exercises on, so the workbook is particularly useful if you are well into writing a novel already. With the discipline of the exercises, Maass teaches you to be your own draft doctor.
For me, there appear to be easily enough new perspectives and ideas here to warrant buying the workbook even though I have read the original and have it on my bookshelf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I attended a panel at the New York Public Library with the authors Jonathan Maberry and R. L. Stine, and Maberry said that each time he wrote a novel, he bought himself a copy of... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Horrorfeminista
This is an absolutely fabulous workbook. It's applicable to whatever one might be writing. Going through the workbook is like attending a workshop with Donald Maass.Published 1 month ago by Sande Roberts
This book has helped me remarkably. It truly helps you outline your book in a way that sets it apart from other's.Published 3 months ago by Amanda Lynn
The order arrived very quickly and the books were in new, unused condition. I already had a copy of the book and found it most useful. Read morePublished 4 months ago by John D. Harris
Practical, no-nonsense and hands-on tool to polish your novel into a work of art.Published 5 months ago by exoVentures
One of the must buy books for authors. Whether you've published no books, five books, or fifty, you can still learn something from the exercises in this workbook.Published 5 months ago by P. Eddy
This book has so much helpful information in it that I am sure it is going to be a great resource when I get further along with my writing. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Lots of great information found in this book. It doesn't matter how long you've been publishing. This book is great for any stage of your writing career.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer