Chrissa's Reviews > Writing the Breakout Novel

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
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Jun 01, 08

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Recommended to Chrissa by: my writer's group
Recommended for: novelists who have a work to apply the information to
Read in May, 2008

Despite myself, I enjoyed this book. Mr. Maas did an excellent job of describing what areas to review in your novel in order to increase it's chances of generating the word of mouth needed to find increased success. His emphasis on taking the time to build upon themes, characters, and plots already existent in a draft novel was a welcome change from what I had expected.

Most of the novels that were presented as examples I have not read, which leads me to believe that the author and I do not share a definition of a 'good' novel, although I can't disagree with his description of a breakout novel. At times, it seemed as if I was being subtly pushed to purchase a novel (some of which were written by authors represented by Mr. Maass, a link he readily acknowledges) to gain a better understanding of why the novel was a breakout.

Because of the general information presented, I feel that someone who has already reached a certain point in their career and wanted a refresher would most benefit from this book. I skipped the last section which pertained exclusively to finding an agent, signing contracts, etc. that didn't directly apply.

The end result of reading this book gave me a better understanding of how the publishing industry works, what it means to write for mass consumption, and by demonstrating that my own tastes skew away from the breatkout category, allowed me to finally shut the door on my own ambition to write a novel.
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