Jonathan Maas

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Born
in New Haven, Connecticut, The United States
August 14

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Bernard Malamud, John Updike, Sherman Alexie, Ridley Scott, Neil Gaima ...more

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January 2011

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Jon Maas was born in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from Stanford University with degrees in Biology and History, he's earned a living as a Musician, Peace Corps Volunteer, Standup Comedian, TV Producer and Web Designer.

He has published ten books, and has more on the way.

He has also directed the movie 'Spanners' starring Shawn Christian and Eric Roberts, and wrote its sequel book - 'Spanners: The Fountain of Youth.'

He writes on his bus commute to and from work, and has a soft spot in his heart for all types of Public Transportation.
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Jonathan Maas 1) Just do it

2) Don't listen to anyone else, just do it

3) Start a project with a definitive end date in mind. One novel, one short story, get it done,…more
1) Just do it

2) Don't listen to anyone else, just do it

3) Start a project with a definitive end date in mind. One novel, one short story, get it done, and put it somewhere, either self-published or in a blog.

Don't be the guy or girl who 'isn't ever quite done with their novel.' Be the person who 'has [some completed project] up [somewhere], and is currently working on their next thing.'

The most important step here is 'to get one thing up.' Want to be a novelist? Get that first one up. Even if it isn't your best work, just get it up so you 'at least have one.' Lionel Shriver wrote 7 books before she hit it big with 'We Need to Talk About Kevin':

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...

You don't need to write 7. You do however need to write one, be it a novel, short story, graphic novel, screenplay or anything else. You need to write your first thing, have it 100% done and readable somewhere, and that will free you to start writing the next one.

4) For your first book (or any book thereafter), pick the most fertile/easy premise you can imagine. Look at JK Rowling. She made it easy on herself by incorporating monsters we already know (unicorns and werewolves), being able to add monsters she made up (dementors), having a school were there is always a 'hidden room' to give the plot a kick in the butt ... and a hundred other things.

Make is as easy as possible at first. Writing something fertile and easy is more important for your first project than 'writing what you know.'

5) All you really need in this business is time. Find a way to schedule quality time to write (i.e. non-tired, repeatably scheduled time). As a working parent, I write on the bus to and from work. That's my time.

If you don't have time, you need to make it!

For more ideas on how to make time:

http://jonmaas.com/home/2014/08/27/ei...

6) One more powerful quote from Ira Glass:

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/3094...

In short, plow through your bad writing. You're writing, and that means you probably have good taste in writing. You'll get frustrated because your writing can't compare your heroes John Updike, Chinua Achebe or JK Rowling.

The successful writers ignore the impulse to quit, and keep plowing ahead. Get through that initial 'suckiness,' for lack of a better word, and keep writing.

If you do so, you'll eventually 'get it acceptable,' and then you'll 'get it right.' Finally, you'll get to the point where you'll express some ideas that Updike, Achebe and Rowling never did, and that will make the journey worthwhile.(less)
Jonathan Maas Great question! The answer is varied:

1) Often it is good to just pick a character and just stick with it through the story, and let the story develop …more
Great question! The answer is varied:

1) Often it is good to just pick a character and just stick with it through the story, and let the story develop the character. You sit down with these stories for a long time, every day, so you just stick with the plot and then tweak the character according to what feels 'true.'

Sometimes you need to sit down and say 'What makes this character unique? What am I bringing to the table of literature that has not quite been seen before?' If you don't have an answer, stick with the plot and just keep thinking about it until you have one. It doesn't have to be a big answer, just something that makes the character unique.

For example in Paula Hawkins' 'The Girl on the Train,' her protagonist is an alcoholic, and thus an unreliable narrator. It makes it interesting.

In Uzodinma Iweala's 'Beasts of no Nation' the narrator is a child soldier with limited education, and his English is not perfect. It just gives it that unique twist.

Not every character has to have such an epic twist to their persona, but it doesn't hurt!

2) Sometimes for villains (or antagonists) I have a little trick I do in which I think of people in my life that I really like, and then try to conceptualize the complete opposite of that person. It often yields interesting results.

3) Another trick I have is called 'Neil Strauss through a wormhole.' The non-fiction author Neil Strauss is excellent at encapsulating real-life characters. He'll interview you and write a non-fiction book that absolutely captures your essence.

I am not Neil Strauss (though at times I wish I was - he is brilliant!) - but I do have a little trick that softens that. I can't capture someone's real life essence like Strauss, but I can take their essence, put it through a wormhole and into a bizarre alien landscape, and see what that person would do there!

It yields a lot of fun results as well!(less)
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Jonathan’s Recent Updates

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Moonshine, Vol. 1 by Brian Azzarello
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Just incredible, I hope to write a full review shortly.
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The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains by Jon Morris
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Regrettable? More like incredible.

In any case great collection, I highly recommend it!
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The Guide by Peter Heller
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The Big Book of Urban Legends by Robert Loren Fleming
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Great collection - very good, just incredible!

I am a fan of the series and I recommend this one!
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The Girl on the Porch by Richard  Chizmar
The Girl on the Porch
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The Dry by Jane Harper
The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1)
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Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke
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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
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Jonathan Maas wants to read
Campfire Story by Robert Y. Kline
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Jonathan Maas is now following Steve Horowitz's reviews
More of Jonathan's books…
“I know precisely what honor is, Heracles. Honor is the artifice kings sell the peasants’ sons so that they may fight and die without pay. Honor is what drives a peaceful man to bloody vengeance. Honor is what drove the Celts to behead the children of the Apache Courts.
- The Egyptian God Bes”
Jonathan Maas, Hellenica

“Having an attack of self-doubt about your writing ability?

Step #1 - Tell yourself - 'I'm the best damn writer there is, and the world deserves to hear my voice.'

Step #2 - Repeat Step #1 until you believe it.”
Jonathan Maas

“The only thing you really need to be a writer is time. Regular, consistent time, quality time when you're not tired.
I write on the bus to and from work, that's my time, 1 or 2 hours every single day.
Make the time, keep at it, and you'll be a real writer before you know it.”
Jonathan Maas

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“The only thing you really need to be a writer is time. Regular, consistent time, quality time when you're not tired.
I write on the bus to and from work, that's my time, 1 or 2 hours every single day.
Make the time, keep at it, and you'll be a real writer before you know it.”
Jonathan Maas

“Having an attack of self-doubt about your writing ability?

Step #1 - Tell yourself - 'I'm the best damn writer there is, and the world deserves to hear my voice.'

Step #2 - Repeat Step #1 until you believe it.”
Jonathan Maas

“Countless times, I remember watching him toss ideas—pretty far-out ideas—into the air, just to see how they played. And if they didn’t play well, he would move on.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

“A man hates the person he has wronged, paradoxically. I think it’s because the victim is a perpetual reminder that he behaved shamefully.”
Ken Follett, Edge of Eternity

“Long hours spent checking off a to-do list and ending the day with a full trash can and a clean desk are not virtuous and have nothing to do with success. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list—a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results.

To-do lists tend to be long; success lists are short. One pulls you in all directions; the other aims you in a specific direction. One is a disorganized directory and the other is an organized directive. If a list isn’t built around success, then that’s not where it takes you. If your to-do list contains everything, then it’s probably taking you everywhere but where you really want to go.”
Gary Keller, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

385284 Parallel Magic — 27 members — last activity Aug 03, 2018 11:58AM
An exclusive group for listeners of Parallel Magic: The Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Show. Read along with Kate and Jonas, discuss your favorite sci ...more



Comments (showing 1-4)    post a comment »
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Jonathan Maas Apuca wrote: "Thank you very much for the "Friendship"!"
Yes Apuca! Likewise!


message 3: by Apuca

Apuca Thank you very much for the "Friendship"!


Jonathan Maas Thanks bro! Just "put it out there," and then "don't stop," and good things will happen!


Assaph Mehr Thanks for your help and advice (via Eric :) on self-publishing!

Cheers, Assaph


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