Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Striking the Match

Every novelist I know reads books on craft their entire career.

I'm taking a workshop from Donald Maass in September, and because I like to have an idea what might be coming, I purchased his newest, The Fire in Fiction. Okay, the another reason might be I can be a little bit of a suck-up.

The INTRODUCTION made me very glad I don't wear dentures because I dropped my jaw more than once.

Take a look:

"What do I mean by passion? Simply put, it is the underlying conviction that makes the words matter. It is the burning drive to urgently get down something specific, something that the reader has to see. It could be as big as a universal truth about human nature or as small as the quality of light on an autumn afternoon on the Nebraska prairie." (pg. 2)

"Passionate writing makes every word a shaft of light, every sentence a crack of thunder, every scene a tectonic shift. When the purpose of every word is urgent, the story crackles, connects, weaves, and falls together in wondrous ways." (pg. 3)

Donald Maass creates big expectations. He sets the bar of storytelling higher and higher. He makes me rethink every plotline, every character, every . . . every word. I believe my writing will be better for it.

This book is shaping up to be my most high-lighted, notated, re-read book on craft yet.

CR: Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott.

(Waiting to receive the new Linwood Barclay for review.)

It's all better with friends.


  1. Those are wonderful quotes, Peg. Is this the workshop on writing the breakout novel? My friend and trusty (best plot editor I know) took it and one of the perks apparently was that Maass promises to read the first fifty pages along with your query...

  2. That would be the coolest thing, but I kind of doubt that the deal includes a read. Wow.

    Maass is leading an Early Bird Seminar for the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference being held in Denver. I don't recall the if there were any specifics mentioned as to what he's going to cover, but I didn't care.