Today, writing bloggy friends, we have some good insights into novel writing from Donald Maass' book, "Writing the Breakout Novel." Hope you find them illuminating.
- "[Breakout novels] change us because their authors are willing to draw upon their deepest selves without flinching. They hold nothing back, making their novels the deepest possible expressions of their own experience and beliefs."
- "The key ingredients that I look for in a...premise are (1) plausibility, (2) inherent conflict, (3) originality and (4) gut emotional appeal."
- Plausibility = "Could that really happen? (Like the best lies...a breakout premise has a grain of truth.) It invokes questions, draws us deeper."
- Inherent Conflict = "If the milieu of the story is not only multifaceted but also involves opposing factions or points of view, then you have a basis for strong, difficult-to-resolve conflict."
- Originality = "It is essential to find a fresh angle...Is it [your premise] truly a fresh look at your subject, a perspective that on one else buy you can bring to it?"
- "If there is one single principle that is central to making any story more powerful, it is simply this: Raise the stakes."
- "...a combination of high public stakes and deep personal stakes is the most powerful engine a breakout novel can have."
And speaking of writers and writing, hop on over to Kimmi's cool blog (the one featuring her soon-to-be-released-book The Unbreakable Child), and enter her contest. Winner gets a really cool prize on February 8th!