Monday, August 15, 2011
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
But this book changed the way I feel about the craft. I thought that since I am a trained legal writer, and have been successful at persuasive writing for the audience of clients, judges and adversaries, creative writing would come naturally. Not so much.
Sure grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary and other tools of legal writing don't hurt. But I learned from Donald Maass' book that the name of the game in creative writing is: CONFLICT. Sure there are many, many more facets that he discusses in this book, but really the one that he talks about more than any other is conflict: inner conflict, outer conflict, personal stakes, public stakes, ultimate stakes, active complications, tension, brewing tension, etc. While all these elements are slightly different in context (Mr. Maass spends a chapter on each one of these) they all add up to one thing: more and more conflict...with a dash more conflict.
This book is a quick read, with real practical help and suggestions to strengthen your story. I know a lot of you out there might have already read it. Its one of the more popular writing books, endorsed by a ton of people. Totally worth the time. Even for someone like me, who hates to waste any precious writing time. I only get so much!
And btw, today B is for BREAKOUT! Let's all write a Breakout novel:)