Monday, June 2, 2008

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

No one can list 'how to write' books without mentioning Donald Maass' book, Writing the Breakout Novel.

This book's target audience are published authors who are mid-list authors. He describes these authors as someone selling books that are not best-sellers nor are they the lowest author. He wrote this book to help these authors breakout of the mid-list. However, any writer from any skill level can benefit from the knowledge of this skilled literary agent's expertise.

I like Mr. Maass' checklist style to writing. Personally, I like to chunk information for easier reading. I can quickly scan the material and not have to wade through long passages of prose.

This book is wonderful for writers who have already mastered the ABC's of writing and are ready to move on to the next level.

The author leads the reader through setting, characterization, plot, themes, multiple viewpoints, pacing, and so much more. He encourages the reader to challenge their writing skills by pushing the boundaries in their manuscripts. For instance, what is the worst thing that could happen to your character?

I promise you will learn something from this book. Go a step further and purchase the workbook with it. You know how I feel about writing exercises, so I won't bore you again on the importance of exercising your writing muscles.

My only drawback to this book is the countless references to other published works. I tend to skip over these examples when I feel their too long or excessive. I also would've liked it better if there were less references to thrillers.

Overall, this is a most awesome resource tool. I encourage you to buy it today.


  1. Great book and workbook. If you want a little more Michelle Styles has some great handouts on her site. She uses Donald Maass all the time.

  2. I attended his workshop at Nationals. It was a wonderful workshop. If anyone ever has a chance to attend his workshop, they should. In the meantime, it sounds like his book would be a good one to own and study.


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