Hurricane Mathew is not exactly making this a fun Friday for everyone up and down the coast of Florida. He is bearing down on us starting in the early morning hours. I’ve pre-posted this because with hurricane Wilma we had no power for a couple of weeks. I hope everyone stays safe through the storm.
It’s a process learning to write a novel. The best step in that process is working with a critique group but
learning the craft of writing includes many more resources. Aside from conferences and writing coaches, there are a number of good books as well as articles from places like Writers Digest that are available.
My greatest challenge in fiction writing has been in plot and structure. I’ve purchase a few good books to help me out along the way. Writing the Breakout Novel by literary agent, Donald Maass is one of those books.
It starts out talking about premise. He defines premise as a feeling, belief or image that has enough power to propel the story for hundreds of pages. Maass says there are four facets of great novels and asks his readers to think of three unforgettable novels. He demonstrates how the principles apply.
- Readers are whisked into a captivating realm world full of details that are unknown and convincing.
- There are unforgettable characters that act, speak and think in ways that we cannot or dare not, saying things we wish we had. These characters grow and change in ways we dream about doing. They feel the emotions we feel.
- The events of the story create unusual, dramatic and meaningful change in the characters.
- The story has an outlook that changes a reader’s perspective. It has a message, a new way of seeing the world.
Maass covers setting, plot and theme. He says premise has to be plausible, original and have emotional appeal. He pulls all of his concepts together with a workbook of the same title.
This workbook has helped me immensely in weaving plot lines together and fleshing out characters. I highly recommend both of these as tools for your writing process.
If the power is out for a prolonged period, a workbook can help you continue with your craft.