Posts Tagged ‘donald maass’

Favorite Books on the Craft

No one can teach you to write a really fine novel. I take that back. They can teach it, but your novel may still flounder. It’s all in the gestalt of your finished story. It’s up to you to make the artistic choices.

However,  the tools of the novelist are fairly basic. You should master them, and one way is to read (and take classes on) different approaches. Each teacher will come at things like plot and character and subplots a little differently. But they all talk about the same set of tools. That being the case, it’s time to start building your library!

Here are a few of my faves, sort of in order of complexity:

  • How to Tell a Story, Peter Rubie & Gary Provost
  • How to Write a Damn Good Novel, James N. Frey
  • The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler Read More…

Mentors I Have Known

Sometimes it’s just dumb luck. You stumble into an obscure writing class and the instructor shows you God. You meet an author who for some inexplicable reason gives you his time and attention. You stumble out of a fiction seminar half-blinded by sudden understanding. Your third, tenth, eighteenth try at finding an agent yields a friend for life.

You have just found a mentor. Read More…

Getting to Know Agents

I came across a nice audio interview of Donald Maass by Author Magazine. Donald happens to be my agent, and I think he’s terrific. The web offers lots of opportunities for aspiring writers to look over their choices for agents. Sometimes  you get an immediate feeling that yes, this could work–or yikes, I’d never be comfortable with that agent! Read More…

The Emotional Scene Goal

I’m always tempted, before throwing a book at a wall, to figure out what went wrong. Often it’s boredom from tepid scenes. Yet some low-action scenes are fascinating. What’s the disconnect here?

It has to do with tension and desire, and how to get them on the page more effectively.

If we’ve conceived our plot carefully, we have a driven protagonist who’ll engage the story problem in escalating and surprising ways. But let’s look at what the character wants right now. Read More…