The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
We've all read them: novels by our favorite authors that disappoint. Uninspired and lifeless, we wonder what happened. Was the author in a hurry? Did she have a bad year? Has he lost interest altogether?
Something similar is true of a great many unpublished manuscripts. They are okay stori
This isn't surprising since he can't know the specifics of your story, but at times it felt too generic in its approach, ...more
Because Donald Maass's earlier book, Writing the Breakout Novel was so good, I was afraid of being let down by his newest and didn't even touch it for a while when it arrived in mail.
What is he going to say that could be better? Is this going to be just a rehash of the old material in his earlier book?
Doubts swirled, but I finally convinced myself to read it.
What a ride.
He goes well above and beyond my highest expectations. Compared to his earlier book, the book is more tightly organized ...more
By Donald Maass
This is not the type of book I normally post a review about on my Blog, but it is such a fabulous tool for writers, I just can’t pass up the opportunity. THE FIRE IN FICTION is a powerful guide to writing fiction. The author’s insight into the many styles and skill levels is simply uncanny.
The format serves as a fantastic cover-to-cover read as well as a dynamic reference. Mr. Maass gives reason and definition to admirable style. In a short amount of text, he di ...more
Fire is about specifics. You've got your first draft done. Even your second or third draft. But it's still not getting interest. The Fire ...more
I realize it's a first draft and some crappiness is permitted at this point, but in trying to get myself out of the rut, I thought I'd finally give thi ...more
For the most part, the topics here are advanced. If you don't have a grip on things like plot, P.O.V., passive writing, and when to show/tell, then you might want to work your way up to this book. But I have no doubts the ideas here will help make anyone's fiction writing better.
Protagonists vs. Heroes
Characters Who Matter
Scenes That Can't Be Cut
The World of the Novel
A Singular Voice
Making the Impossible Real
Tension All the Time
The Fire in Fiction
Maass provides plenty of examples from bestselling authors to support his points. Most of the advice in here isn't necessarily a "how to write", but larger ideas to ...more
I was blown away by this book. There were some sample texts I skimmed as they aren't pertinent to what I write, but the exercises at the end of each chapter I will visit time and again. ...more
Positive: This is one agent's opinion on what makes novels sell. It focuses on mainstream and thriller novels, and all of the guidance is based on trends in bestselling novels. It's mostly good advice, I think, and I applied some of what Maass advised to my current manuscript. I like that he uses specific examples from published work and breaks down how they work.
Negative: This book contains casual transphobia and ableism, specifically against mentally ill and autistic people.
That said, this is a pretty conditional 4 stars.
I first read The Fire in Fiction years ago, when I only had a novel or two beneath my belt. I was still learning how to craft an entire novel, and I needed a lot of help. So when I found this book, I thought it was amazing! I loved it. I ...more
What it is most insightful of is that it encompasses the mind of a literary agent and what this one likes and expects from his authors. And perhaps some ...more
In this one he makes an interesting distinction when asking the reader why you want to write that novel: do you want to get published? Or do you want to write a great book? THe two are not mutually exclusive, of course, but he argues that if you're dead set on publishing, you'll be more likely to aim for a novel that's "goo ...more
There's no course you can take on writing and selling novels in college. If there is somewhere, it is probably worthless. For a young wannabe-author, it is hard to take advice or ...more
Still with me? Cool. I hope you read the book, too.
Although it's worth reading from start to finish (and I savored it, spreading the first three chapters over a year), Maass' advice in The Fire in Fiction boils down pretty neatly to something like this:
Use multiple ch ...more
Some of ...more
This is not for the beginner, it's for those who already have a grasp of the basics and probably it helps if you've already completed at least one novel. This book doesn't tell you how to write, or even how to write a novel, but it does tell you how to write a BETTER novel. The cover says it ...more
I mean it when I say my only regret was not reading The Fire in Fiction sooner. The advice is fantastic and the exercises at the e ...more
Goodreads is hiring!
Learn more »