Friday, May 28, 2010


passion, purpose, and techniques TO MAKE YOUR NOVEL GREAT”

Continuing a look back at books I read in ’09 to study the craft of writing.

THE FIRE IN FICTION. What a great title.

Fire…emotions, reactions, events…feel the heat.

I understand the concept of “FIRE”…especially after events this past Sunday. That afternoon my new desktop…barely six months old…made a little popping sound. Instantly, the screen went black. And stayed black. Is still black.
FIRE…pain pounding in head. Heat rushing to face. Heart pounding. Stomach churning. Muscles stiff with tension. I felt them all. FIRE.

Another reminder came a few hours later. We were awakened by a phone call from son #2. The ceiling in his apartment was dripping. A light fixture was filled with water. He’d had a ceiling fall early in his college days, because of a leak. In that earlier apartment, everything had molded while he was away on a summer internship project.

FIRE…dread, helplessness, frustration, anger, need to comfort, need to give assurance…FIRE.

Oh, I understand FIRE. But can I put it on paper? Can I fuel characters’ emotions? Make dialogue sing? Build tension? Make readers care? Cut scenes? Make tension real? Make setting a character? Find my voice? Give characters a voice?
These questions add to the beauty of this title…

THE FIRE IN FICTION…passion, purpose, and techniques…TO MAKE YOUR NOVEL GREAT By Donald Maass

WHY I READ THIS BOOK: Author’s name, and earlier books

I LEARNED: This book just keeps on giving. Great techniques and examples.

WAS IT HELPFUL: [1] Routine [5] Ah ha Moment
This is a 5…more awe than ah ha!

COLOR CODING: [underlined in a different color each time I read] [1] a New Book [5] Trying to master
This book is new…with several colors already…

TAKE AWAY: Make it count. Make people care. Trim the fat, leave what matters.

Have you read this book? Share your opinion with us.


Elisabeth Rose said...

I haven't read this one Carol but I have his 'Writing the Breakout Novel'. On tip I learned from that is that every page should have something of interest, some little page turner type thing. I often check random pages in my wip to see if that little question mark or problem or tense moment is there.

Donald Maas is really inspiring.

Carol Hutchens said...


I agree. Maass is 'the Donald' to writers. We're lucky he has time to write books like this.

Thanks so much for posting.

mulligangirl said...

I've been on the fence about getting one of Donald's writing books, but after reading this, I know I'll give this one a shot. Nice review, Carol.