Amy Eller Lewis's Reviews > Writing the Breakout Novel

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
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Sep 04, 11

I read based on Marissa Meyer's review, but was skeptical, as I am with most Books About Writing. But this is, without a doubt, one of the only writing books that gives actual *information* on writing a novel that is not obvious ("Novels are made of Scenes!"), condescending ("My advice to new writers? Don't do it.") or just so you-are-a-special-and-unique-snowflake that it turns me off. Donald Maass, a Publishing Veteran, does not think you are a special and unique snowflake. But your book needs to be. He uses concrete advice and examples (verbs in his sentences, as Dr. Phil would say) that are applicable to writing across all genres. And yet he doesn't seem to be putting across a "tried and true" formula that you can just plug in and have a bestseller. And I can't argue with his main point: "Want to be a bestselling writer? Write a better a book."

I don't recommend this for shiny, new beginners, as his tone my put you into a panic and you may feel overwhelmed. If you still need some hand holding, if you still need to be told "believe in yourself", you're not there yet. Neither would this be of much use to those writing experimental novels (but I'm not sure experimental novelists are trying to "break out"). But for those of you who are serious about writing commercial fiction, and taking your career as a writer seriously, this is a good point of reference
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