Monday, June 7, 2010

Review of Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas

Countless books have been written about the writing trade. Few, however, are able to achieve what this book does. In a witty, engaging style, Maas guides his readers upon a journey through the most important elements of crafting, not just a “breakout” novel, but a superb novel. Like so many authors have done in similar works, he discusses premise, time and place, characters, plot, and theme, as well as miscellaneous other factors. But, unlike so many other authors, he does more than simply point out the necessity of such components—he explains, using examples from an array of successful fiction, just how to achieve excellence in each of these areas.

Maas’s focus is primarily on bestselling genre fiction, and in some instances his emphasis can seem skewed toward writing stories that sell versus stories of quality. Happily, however, since the best stories often fit both categories, his information provides a useful foundation for any writer wanting a solid overview of the elements that constitute a good story.
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