Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Review - The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass

The Fire in Fiction
Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
by Donald Maass

I have to tell you I love this book. Several reviews of this book suggested that it wasn’t as in depth as his other work, Writing the Breakout Novel. I have to respectfully disagree. From the introduction, where he discusses the difference between status seekers and story tellers, through the chapters I found enough material to study for a year or more. This book manages to be a primer for anyone wanting to write great fiction, as well as a must have for any established writer who wants to improve his craft.

Each chapter provides examples from contemporary fiction and a great section called Practical Tools. These tools are exercises that I used to cement the lessons taught in that chapter. It’s one thing to find a great writing book to read—it’s something else entirely to find one that provides so much practical application.

I also had the opportunity to attend a one day workshop by Mr. Maass at the 2009 ACFW Writers Conference in Denver, CO. I have to tell you it was amazing! If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, don’t pass it up. But, that said, all of what he spoke on was covered in The Fire in Fiction. His writing style closely follows his speaking style and I believe that’s one of the reasons this book stands out among craft books. So run, don’t walk, to your local bookstore and pick up The Fire in Fiction.

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