The fire in fiction : passion, purpose, and techniques to make your novel great

by Donald Maass

Paperback, 2009

Status

Available

Publication

Cincinnati, Ohio : Writer's Digest Books, c2009.

Description

Discover the Difference Between a So-So Manuscript and a Novel Readers Can't Forget 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 Something similar is true of a great many unpublished manuscripts.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 stories that never take flight. They don't grip the imagination, let alone the heart. They merit only a shrug and a polite dismissal by agents and editors. It doesn't have to be that way. In The Fire in Fiction, successful literary agent and author Donald Maass shows you not only how to infuse your story with deep conviction and fiery passion, but how to do it over and over again. The book features:    * Techniques for capturing a special time and place, creating characters whose lives matter, nailing multiple-impact plot turns, making the supernatural real, infusing issues into fiction, and more.    * Story-enriching exercises at the end of every chapter to show you how to apply the practical tools just covered to your own work.    * Rich examples drawn from contemporary novels as diverse as The Lake House, Water for Elephants, and Jennifer Government to illustrate how various techniques work in actual stories. Plus, Maass introduces an original technique that any novelist can use any time, in any scene, in any novel, even on the most uninspired day...to take the most powerful experiences from your personal life and turn those experiences directly into powerful fiction. Tap into The Fire in Fiction, and supercharge your story with originality and spark!… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member KVHardy
I got alot out of this book. (at least I think I did)
LibraryThing member Annfrailey
This book is a useful tool for writers. The examples were quite helpful. There is a lot to consider when trying to create a really good piece of writing. Lots of food for thought here.
LibraryThing member monica67
Wow. I've read a lot of books on writing. On building characters, on story structure, and on writing craft in general. The Fire in Fiction falls into the category of general craft, as it touches on many aspects of writing. It is one of the -- if not the -- best books on craft I have read. Maass's insight hits home every time, explanations are clear, examples further make his points, and by far the best, the exercises after each section are so immediately helpful I had stopped reading and started applying them to my WIP. I then decided to finish the book first, so now I'm going back to the exercises. They've already improved my manuscript!

If you're going to read one book on the craft of writing, this should be it.
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LibraryThing member JLDobias
I found The Fire in Fiction to be helpful only in delineating things I've previously discovered and wished I'd known earlier. Perhaps it even has helped me hone in on the target in some areas I tend to slack off in and I would have loved to have read this five years ago before I did all the research that helped me see the targets the first time.

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 bit of unintentional verification of something I have long suspected. They really do like purple prose as long as it is purple prose that helps develop the unique character that is integral to the story. There's a lot of it in these example that he critiques.

That leads us to the problem that resides in the pages. This book is a serial compilation of critiques or reviews of what appear to be this authors favorite authors. And I would agree with others that it serves little purpose other than to pat the backs of these authors and fill the pages. Much of what is said here could be condensed and I would expect that to be the first thing that would be recognized by a literary agent when editing this whether it is self edited or otherwise. ( and it would be insane to self edit in this context).

Something that would have been helpful is examples of what went wrong amidst all the what went right.

And at least twice we were told certain things could not be covered here as they would take too much time and space which becomes ridiculous when one considers that 100 pages of this could have been eliminated by narrowing down all of the favorable reviews.

The reason I gave this four stars is that it doesn't deserve five and I am taking enough out of it to rate it higher than three.

I definitely recommend this to any author as a refresher on what works for some of this agents favorite writers. There is much to take away and I would also recommend it to the Forums and writers groups who always claim they are helping each other meet the requirements of an agent. This might help them focus a bit on the real as opposed to their preconceived notions.

It's also engaging and entertaining despite the bloat of examples.

J.L. Dobias
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LibraryThing member chaosmogony
Maybe I'm just easily pleased, but I loved this. Each chapter contains explanations for why different elements of fiction "work" -- that is, why characters, places, descriptions, and voice can all capture our attention and turn an otherwise ordinary story into a page-turner -- and practical exercises you can use when writing or revising.

In my ever so humble opinion, this is worth the read for any would-be writer.
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LibraryThing member malrubius
Excellent advice from someone who obviously knows what he's talking about. Very good examples.

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