Writing the Breakout Novel


I borrowed a wonderful book from my friend Ashley that I want to recommend to any aspiring writers out there!  It’s called “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook”, and it is a fantastic, hands-on resource that will help you to turn your story into a true best-seller, the kind of book that people want to read and read again.  Donald Maass, the author, is truly interested in helping you write a more interesting and complex story, and he knows exactly how to do it!  He wrote the original “Writing the Breakout Novel”, as well as its workbook, to help people just like us to get their books published and sold.  Check it out sometime, it’ll be well worth your while!

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Writing the Breakout Novel

  1. Reuel,

    I looked at a few reviews of it, and I am divided about its usefulness. Perhaps I am being too picky. I am sure that it is good to learn from, but I would like to know how much it is geared for ‘catering to the audience’ or ‘changing the audience for the better.’ The former is too modern for me, and the latter is more biblical, although it might not make you a million. What do you think?

    With joy and peace in Christ,
    Sir Emeth Mimetes

    • To be honest, I have only read the Workbook for myself, not the actual book. In my opinion, however, with this book (as any advice book) you don’t have to use all of the advice given, just what you need to make your story better. A lot of Mr. Maass’s focus is on making a sellable novel (if that is a word), but deep, interesting, well-written novels sell, so his book is full of hints on how to improve in these areas. That is what I appreciated about the book. You can add changing the audience for the better for yourself, and then you will have a book that is not only inspiring and challenging, but that a lot of people want to read. A good combination, no? So in a nutshell, never compromise for the sake of the audience, but when the audience wants a quality story… I’ll take any advice that will help me give that to them!
      In Him,
      Reuel Dreamseer

  2. Jay, you bring up an interesting question, but I think the two sides of “catering to” and “changing” the audience can go together.

    Donald Maass’ book is really about how to write a novel that a lot of people will want to read. I’ve read it, found it very helpful, and I don’t think any of his advice precludes including a life-changing story.

    As well, I don’t think any of us start out writing thinking, “I want a very small audience to read my book”. If a story is life changing, then we want as many as people as possible to read it.

    But you know what? The Biblical reality is that it doesn’t matter. Even if a book only changes “1” life (maybe even just the author’s), then that is enough!

    So my thought is, chew the cherries, spit out the pits, write as well as you can, and let God worry about the rest.

    Anyway, that’s my perspective.

    FYI: Donald Maass will be teaching an early-bird session at next month’s ACFW conference. http://www.acfw.org

    -Robert

    • Sir Robert,

      Thank you for your very insightful and wise advice. I concur with your reasoning, although I might not have had you not articulated it so well! You made your point ably, and I see how I got hung up over a little pet annoyance that I have.

      I am adding this book to my rapidly growing list of books to get. There are very many good books and curriculum out there for people who are wanting to learn how to write well.

      Have either of you heard of the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum?

      http://oneyearnovel.com/

      With joy and peace in Christ,
      Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

  3. Jay,

    The One Year Adeventure Novel curriculum looks great! Well thought out, thorough, and by a Christian, which is the best part.

    I do need to add caution, though, to my previous comment about “Writing The Breakout Novel.”

    Invariably, when I read a secular book on how to write, examples of writing with immoral behavior is included. I can’t remember specifically about Donald Maass’ book, but if I remember, it was cleaner than many of the others.

    In other words, sometimes the pits may not be worth it to get a few cherries, caution is always advised, and our personal holiness is very important.

    So if you find any book with too many pits, skip that section, cut it out and throw it away (if you own the book) or just get rid of it.

    -Robert

  4. Okay, so I’m preaching to the choir!

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