Writing the Breakout Novel (PDF)

Writing the Breakout NovelIn the year 2000 Maass saysMiddle eastern terrorists are not likely to attack us This is an implausible plot for a thriller Look me in the eye and repeat that at the end of 2001 DonaldA global financial crisis wouldn t affect people enough to be the topic of a thriller So what if Wall Street has a bad ay or even a VERY bad Labyrinth Aliens day I ll check back with you when the unemployment and foreclosure rate is skyrocketing in 2008 Mr MaassConspiracies make a bad topic for a thriller so tooo the so called treasure hunt stories This just a few years before The Davinci Code which basically combines the two came out and made millionsThen you have the long section on how e readers will never have an effect on the paper publishing business People The Vintage Book of African American Poetry don t want e readers Maass sniffs because theyon t offer anything superior to reading it on paper There will never be a magic revolution wherein authors can skip the publishing houses and You Can Thrive After Narcissistic Abuse directly put their works up for ebooks so stop wishing for it I guess in 2000 that felt like a safe thing to think In 2013 I was reading him make thiseclaration ON MY KINDLE So yeah it was a little hard to take seriouslyI was bothered not just by these types of predictions which are in some sense understandable But early in the book he a literary agent talks about a book he got a huge nearly million Passed on: African American Mourning Stories: A Memorial (A John Hope Franklin Center Book) dollar advance for praising it as an example of the kind of book he will help you learn to write He claims that he read the manuscript and saw a clear turning point where the author was maturing and transcending his earlier workLooking at its sales on in 2013 it has a sales ranking of 1000000 meaning one million books are placing above it and an average review of 2 12 stars out of 5 The author s fans consistently said This isn t as good as his prior books Admittedly it s a kind of old book 13 years later but ranking at the 1000000 level is still bad for a professionally published book If this is the kind of book he s going to teach us to write hated by the author s fans as a turning point into being worse andisappointing in sales well So that was a big turnoff to me as well Donald Maass and the book s readers both agreed this highly touted novel was a turning point The problem The guy promising to teach you to write like this thought it was where the author became brilliant and the readers thought it was where he ceased to write engaging fiction A bit of a problem if the premise of THIS book is learn to write better selling better reading fiction Also if you like successful thrillersscifihorror books be prepared to be insulted throughout The author takes for granted that his readers hate successful books with speculative elements so when he IELTS Academic Writing discusses the book Jurassic Park pointing out all the ways in which its themes and characters embody the virtues he isiscussing in this book and really he IELTS Writing Section - How To Achieve A Target 8 Score does seem to understand JP and makes a good case for it being a weightier book than it gets credit for he follows it up with What s that you say Youon t like Jurassic Park Let me talk about a ifferent book then and then proceeds to iscuss a book about a teenage girl being raised by a single father in a small town Which is fine but the unspoken implication is Now since everybody reading this book hates Jurassic Park let s see how a REAL book Windows PowerShell in Action does this I would much rather learn to write Jurassic Park than a Hallmark made for TV movie in print Stillespite the many elements which proved grating for me this is a useful book on writing It just seemed many times longer to me than it actually was because so much of it happened to rub me the wrong way It wouldn t have that effect on many people so The Literature of Africa and African Continuum don t be too turned off Its good points are still worth looking intoCONS The track record of this guy s predictions in 2000 is laughable with the hindsight of a 2013 reading All the books he champions that were not yet released at the time of writingid terribly Only in his analysis of books that had already proven themselves in 2000 I've Got This Friend Who What You Can Do If You Think You or Your Friend Has A Serious Problem Advice for Teens on Alcohol Drugs Depression Eating Disorders and More did he prove accurate This kind of undermines his whole thesis in a lot of waysHeoesn t have a healthy respect for much genre fiction particularly horror which he said Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes died out in the 80 s and that can cause a lot of friction between the reader and the bookepending on what type of author you areAlso it might be a lesser point but SPOILERS to other works ABOUND in this book He ll happily Aliens Genocide Aliens describe the story arc to novel after entire novel even parenthetically throwing in the content of the last page even if itoesn t matter Up through the very final pages we as readers are left wondering Does she or Signs and Symbols: African Images in African-American Quilts doesn t she Sheoes This Isn T Always WelcomePROS Has Some Decent Universally Applicable isn t always welcomePROS Has some Person in the Memory decent universally applicable One of his best bits of advice often repeated is that many other books have been written on insert writing topic Perhaps you should read those Maybe that s advice you can follow without bothering to plunkown 999 for this book As a writers manual on storytelling craft this 2001 publication by author and successful literary agent Donald Maass Writing the Breakout Novel Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level remains one of my favoritesI first read this book in 2004 or 2005 and came across it again this year 2018 at my library s fundraising sale I bought a very notated very worn hardback copy and reread it finding as much truth in these pages as I Stealing the Gila: The Pima Agricultural Economy and Water Deprivation, 1848-1921 did as an aspiring writer than aecade agoI have kept track of Donald Maass over the years I also enjoy reading his posts about writing craft on the website Writer Unboxed where he is a freuent contributor I would love to meet him at a writers conference or other such literary event He has so much wisdom and industry expertise about how and why stories work It honestly saddens me that so many people have given this book such scathing reviews here on Goodreads There are plenty of craft books on the market but very few are as good as this oneThe bones of what makes a good story are all here raising stakes transformation resolution All the big plot elements are broken Literature and Dictatorship in Africa and Latin America 1958-1987 down into the simplest language So are thornier subjects like theme and voice Donald Maass knows the market and what readers crave from their books and he knows how toistill that knowledge into the fewest words possible I have learned some uglier truths about publishing since the first time I read this book truths Donald Maass Academic Advising Approaches doesn t ever mention And Ion t blame him for it he probably was unaware of such things then and now But those truths are still there Most people who aspire to call themselves authors come from a particular socioeconomic background and the publishing market favors stories told from the viewpoint of that particular socioeconomic background The market also favors stories that feature people from bad circumstances falling on hard times through their own poor choices andor addictions and then overcoming their internal WHOS WHO IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE VOL.1 demons rather than facing or changing external forces of oppression White savior tales remain as popular as they ever were for a reason Soo popular tropes like the Magical Negro character which has morphed into another popular trope of Agricultural Science for CSEC Examinations diversity checkboxing to soothe the sting of a modifiedslightly exoticized white savior tale on an audience that claims to be progressive and wokeaware of oppressionDonald Maassoesn t speak to these things But all of that hegemonic Alphas Abused Mate discourse exists in novels in the stories that are chosen for publication and certainly in the stories that become breakout novels that sell well in the marketplace Privilegeoes not like to be seen or heard Privilege efinitely oes not want to be changed As a white able bodied upper middle class neurotypical heterosexual man Donald Maass has found success in an industry that seeks to reward what

He Is And How 
is and how thinks None of that however means that his wisdom about the craft of storytelling isn t useful or true uite the opposite I love this book and highly recommend it to any novelist But there are a great many truths I would add to these pages if I could For aspiring breakout novel authors there are a lot of ugly things that should be taken into consideration before writing for the market or writing a book that might perform well in the market Donald Maass is a member of the inner circle so he can t speak to those things For any aspiring breakout novelist who was born and raised in the same inner circle sharing those truths would also be unnecessary Those truths are often a birthright inherited through the osmosis of one s upbri. Take your fiction to the next levelMaybe you're a first time novelist looking for practical guidance Maybe you've already been published but your latest effort is stuck in mid list limbo Whatever the case may be author and literary agent Donald Maass can show you how to take your prose to the next level and write a breakout novel one that rises out of obscurity and hits the best seller listsMaass etails the elements that all.
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Ng 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 leadership 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 iscover nothing unresolved about such a paragon Accomplishment already accomplished Academic Body 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 Whooes not Do you still care what happens to the bronze medal winner a month or two after the closing ceremony No Who Saint Germain On Alchemy 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 Iid not like it for two reasons 1 heroine stupidity The heroine Chasing the Red Queen 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 entertaining They made meislike herSo what Haylee 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 andeathhas 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 The Columbia Guide to South African Literature in English Since 1945 (The Columbia Guides to Literature Since 1945) do the manyistinctive characters and their interwoven Hijacking the Brain 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 toetermine theme Ok so the author figures out the theme then what Maass 僕のヒーローアカデミア 3-4 doesn t say what too with it or why a theme is necessary I believe Stephen King The Path to Gay Rights does not use themes when planning what to write because heoes 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 Karen vs Alien 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 comingisaster Readers are wise to certain authorial tricks A rise is likely to precipitate a fall p193 I Gendered Citizenships 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 itsrive 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 Alien Disclosure at Area 51 does an author know if she has a powerful framework Breakout novelists are willing to experiment reverseirection throw out large chunks of manuscript add length in short Singing the Law 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 waysepth of character setting Alchemic detail theme and so on p225 Howoes this tell an author what they need to We Sell Drugs 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 orifferent 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 Problem Solving in Data Structures Algorithms Using C++ delineate thatistinction Literature of Africa 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 commonetail 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 one 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 books I would recommend to A lot of the books I ve purchased are Well they tend to repeat the same things over and over again Just in ifferent waysThis one Crossing the color line in American politics and African American literature does not In fact Writing the Breakout Novel has a TON of information youon 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 of the big names in the industry Robert McCammon Anne Perry Elizabeth Bear You Can Find You can find 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 Rebuilding 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 usuallyoesn 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 many Intro to Alien Invasion 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 hasone 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 be 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 others. Tain a high Therapy of Love degree of narrative tension from start to finishevelop 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. ,
Nging For people outside of the circle the worldview of the publishing industry and successful novelists must be learned as the s and codes of conduct of any ifferent class in society must be learned Donald Maass id not write an ethnography book about the publishing industry he was simply focused on the craft of storytelling as if writing exists in a void beyond the strictures of culture and power That is the void that most books about writing exist in as if stories are not the most powerful form of the hegemony but some kind of artistic pursuit that finds success based solely on merit But I Museum Activism digress As a book about storytelling the information about plot characters setting and other basic elements of structure presented in this book are as solid and useful now as they were when Donald Maass first published this book Five full stars This is a great read 1 The writing in this book is marvelous By that I mean the style is smooth sophisticated and flowing It makes me guess that the craft of writing must really be valued at Donald Maass s literary agency Yay 2 The level of literary knowledge is off the charts Donald pulls in so many examples from so many novels it ll make youizzy I ve read a million how t0 write a novel books Most are in the ra ra I already knew that category This one was The biggest thing I took away from this book was the importance of the main character Certainly high concept and flawless writing are important but mostly we remember the character At least so than the story and writing We remember Jack Reacher Bosch Katnis Everdeen and Harry Potter even than all of the events in a novel we experienced with them If you read this and his other books his premise is that writing a breakaway novel is not luck it s a result of excellent craft That puts the power of being a successful author suarely in the hands of the author I Narcissistic Mothers don t entirely agree with the premise but it s a powerful place to start from Don is my agent so let s get that out of the way However I heard him speak and I read this book before I ever signed on with him One of his uestions made me rewrite a book I thought was finished I spent than a year of my life on that book and his uestions made me spend another nine months at it That book The Way of Shadows hit the New York Times bestseller list Low but 29 is something a lot of writers would kill to hit And that s the genius of this book not that it ll make you a bestseller but that it will ask you the uestions that may take your writing to the next levelDon Maass understands story in a way few people even few professionals Falling For A Kingpin do This book puts the work back in your lap If you can t or won t see your own flaws it won t help you If you can I think it willBest writing book I ve read Period Maas title is corny It s so corny that I might never have ordered it in the first place if I hadn t won a gift certificate to Writers Digest books 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 Ion t 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 readingMaas knows that what Violence and Trauma in Selected African Literature drives book sales is word of mouth recommendations but what inspires word of mouth Read his book to see how well your book willo 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 The Social Rebellion decades of experience and he uses that to explain why some books work and someon 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 Best African American Essays 2010 d like to address some easy misconceptions and points other reviewers have made Maass is notiscounting 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 Navigating The Seven Seas doesn t contain formulas either However Maassoes show how a successful career novelist must write many books He tracks several novelist s careers and emonstrates 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 another and another and so on So for the rare authors are able to live off of writing they haven t one it with the first book writing they haven t William Wells Brown: An African American Life done it with the first book ve spent years writing books before they re able to retire from theiray jobs and The Alien Surrogate devote themselves to full time writing WARNING The plot formulas exposed and lauded in this book can be toxic May lead toizziness 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 The Changing Face of African Literature / Les nouveaux visages de la litterature africaine. (Cross/Cultures) does this garbage get on the best seller list He knows his stuff which is what makes this book so terrifying As an aspiring novelist a friend gave me this book thinking I would like itIidn 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 have 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 know better than youI suggest you De lautre côté de la machine. Voyage dune scientifique au pays des algorithmes 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 whooes 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 keeps the action always in the present It has impact that way p143Maass encourages combining roles as in the lifelong friend who is also a octor or the ex spouse who is also a tennis partner p127 Most of the ex spouse who is also a tennis partner p127 Most of o not for very long tolerate people who make us feel frustrated sad hopeless or Sams Teach Yourself Data Structures and Algorithms in 24 Hours depressed not in life not in books p 105 Every protagonist needs a torturous need a consuming fear an aching regret a visibleream a passionate longi. 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.