Thursday, May 28, 2009

Break Into Fiction®

My work in progress was suffering from a severe case of the missing middle recently. I knew how it opened and how it ended. It was everything else between the two that was not coming together for me. So I broke out my Break Into Fiction® materials. These materials consist of a series of templates used to develop a book. The questions on the templates forced me to dig deep into my characters, their goals, motivations and conflicts. My imagination was also stretched so that I thought of unique ways to solve plot problems. Now I'm unstuck and working again.

I’m firmly convinced that the Break Into Fiction® templates can help any writer whether they are plotters or not. Think of the templates as another critique partner who sits down with you to brainstorm and ask those tough questions.

I first became aware of Break Into Fiction® when I attended a weekend workshop hosted by Dianna Love Snell and Mary Buckham. It was an intense weekend of learning how to use their system and digging deep into a book I was working on at the time. Dianna and Mary went on to publish their program in a book called Break Into Fiction®.

The following blurb from the book’s back cover describes Break Into Fiction® best:

“Based on their popular seminars, award-winning novelist Mary Buckham and Dianna Love have created a writing system that anyone can follow. Their innovative Power Plotting method shows how to create stories of depth, excitement and emotion with:

- Easy-to-understand templates that guide new writers through building a novel and show more experienced writers how to elevate their first draft.

- Simple worksheets that help build a strong story one step at a time for any fiction genre.

- Troubleshooting tips that reveal how to identify and fix holes that weaken plot.”

So if you are like me and get stuck periodically or need to add depth to your book, pick up a copy of their book. It is one of those must haves for your writing bookshelf right along with Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Deb Dixon.

If you are thinking about attending one of Dianna and Mary’s workshops, check out the review Sandra Elzie, another workshop attendee, and I created based on our weekend experience. You can find the Power-Punch Your Next Novel article on my web site.

Dianna and Mary have also cooked up another exciting event called Five for Five. This is where multi-genre top authors Sherrilyn Kenyon, Tess Gerritsen, Ed Gaffney, Suzanne Brockmann, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Lisa Gardner, Susan Wiggs...and so many more share tips on writing the week of June 8-12, 2009. Check out the Break Into Fiction® web site to learn more.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Have to agree with you about the workshop and templates. They gave me (finally) a complete understanding of my book, its plot, and characters' motivations. Highly recommend the workshops and the book!

Cinthia Hamer said...

I am practically shaking with anticipation of the publication of BIF!

I've listened to Dianna speak at GRW and read her posts here, and she is truly a gifted writer and teacher.

I'm thinking my CP and I will be using the BIF techniques to polish our next books--whaddya think J???

And...can't wait for M&M!

Tami Brothers said...

I'm in the cheering section for this new book to come out next month. I've heard the best reviews from people who have attended Dianna and Mary's workshops. Since I can't make it to one on my finances right now, I believe this new book will be the next best thing.

Thanks for sharing this, Tammy. I LOVE Dianna and, like Cinthia above, have enjoyed listening to her speak at GRW. I can't wait for this new book.

Nicki Salcedo said...

Tammy, thanks for the great review (and switching blog dates with me this week). I can't wait for Dianna and Mary at 2009 Moonlight & Magnolias (

Your articles are great. It is so important to remember that writing is an art and a craft. Deb Dixon's book and workshops are wonderful resources, too. Focusing on craft helps focus us when we get scattered by our creativity.

Tammy Schubert said...


I'm so glad to hear you are as excited as I am about this book as well as Deb Dixon's.

Here's a secret for you. You don't have to wait for the BIF release date if you order it off Amazon. I got mine about a week and a half ago.

Nicki, you are welcome. It was my pleasure to switch with you.

Mary Buckham said...

Tammy ~~

Thank you for the wonderful review of BREAK INTO FICTION. This is the book Dianna and I wished we had starting out as writers to shorten that learning curve of not only how to plot but how to plot consistntly!
Dianna and I are actualy at the BEA Conference in New York city this week where writers of all genreas bought out all the BREAK INTO FICTION books for sale -- fun for us but also great for those writers because writers every where undersstand that ceating a strong character-diven plot is vital.

Thank you again for sharing your feedback.

Cheers ~~~ Mary B

Tammy Schubert said...

Thanks for joining us Mary. I'm very excited to hear that your book sold out at the conference. Have fun in NYC.

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Tammy,

Great review. Of course, I agree that the workshop was worth the price and I can't wait for the book to come out. Also, thanks for sharing with everyone about the Five for Five in June. Great opportunity for everyone.

Thanks for the reminder for me to reread my notes and review my templates, we can never learn enough and we tend to forget what we've been taught, so it's good to review.

Sandy Elzie

Judythe Morgan said...

Great blog and right on spot (to borrow a Maryism) for BIF. My copy from Amazon is on it's way...and not a minute too soon, my current WIP has stalled. I know Mary and Dianna's worksheets will charge the brain cells and get me going again.

See everyone at the Five for Five.

Congrats to Mary and Dianna on BIF's pre-release success.

Dianna Love said...

Tammy -
Thank you for the wonderful post. And a huge thanks to all of you for the kind words and support of our new book and the Break Into Fiction(R) progams. There is no better form of advertising than sharing with one another - we're thrilled this book is helping writers, which was our one goal is creating Break Into Fiction(R).

Those of you who attended our Power Plotting retreat played a role in the development of this book, too. We listened to you and learned what you needed from us and adjusted parts of the program along the way to best help all writers. Your enthusiasm for writing and for sharing with each other is a joy for us to watch and experience.

Thanks for telling everyone about our Five for Five Writer Extravaganza - we were so thrilled to have a line of NYT best sellers, an Agatha winner, Edgar winner and new authors share their tips.

Mary and I are soooo excited about the 2009 Moonlight & Magnolias conference - we're looking forward to presenting the program we've created just for this conference.

BTW - I did get to read the latest great installment of your ongoing Aspen Expose, but got thrown off the internet that night before my post would go through (argh!). Mary and I have fought to get online this week in NY - worst place to access the internet, which is strange. I've included your book and blog link in my next newsletter.

We're headed back to BEA soon, but will stop by later today if the internet gods deem us worthy of posting.

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks for the great information about Break Into Fiction. I have not attended the workshop so I am looking forward to buying the book and to their extended workshop at M&M.

Dianna critiqued my latest manuscript as part of the Virginia Ellis workshop and I was able to see her dynamic plotting powers in action. I can personally attest to how helpful her advice was to me.

Marilyn Baron

Ginger said...

I can't wait to get my copy. Every single time I've worked with Mary on any form of writing I've learned something and improved. I'm sure BIF will be no exception.


Cyrano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cyrano said...

Excellent review Tammy. I haven't been able to attend a Break into Fiction workshop (soccer tournaments Arrrg.) But I can't, can't wait for this new book to come out. I'm sure it will be as good or better than the first, and that's saying alot.
Break into Fiction has become my bible, along with (Goal, Motivation, Conflict and the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook.) All fantastic and informative reads.
And even if I knew nothing about Dianna's books (romance or self-help) I'd still run out and buy her newest Power Plotting words of wisdom based on her personality alone. Dianna has been unbelievably supportive, gracious and helpful. There's not many published authors willing to take time out of their busy schedules to reply to every last comment when they visit blogs. And recently Dianna did just that for us here at PFHT.
Bravo Dianna.
And bravo Tammy for sharing this with us today.
Have a gorgeous and productive afternoon,

Linsey Lanier said...

I have heard everyone raving so much about Dianna and Mary's workshop, I had to get the book. I just ordered it on Amazon. Can't wait till it gets here. Hurry and get yours today!

Hey everyone, anytime you have a computer-related question, check out Tammy's website ( I'll bet she's got the answer.

Can't wait to see Dianna and Mary at M&M. We'll all probably have to camp outside the door early, like a rock concert. :)


Helen Scott Taylor said...

I'm so excited about this book. So Many writing friends have recommended Mary and Dianna's Break Into Fiction workshops to me, but as I live in the UK, it's difficult for me to attend. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book.

Tammy Schubert said...

Thanks for stopping by, Dianna. A lot of people are very excited about your book and workshop.

Ladies, thanks for stopping by and sharing your excitement about the book with us today.

Linsey, thanks for the plug on the tech column I write :) I hope the column is helpful.

For those of you who don't know, Helen has had a lot of success with her book The Magic Knot. You might want to jump on over to her Web site and check it out. She's even got a free story to share with you.

Sheila Athens said...

I've attended the Break Into Fiction class and thought it was a real break-through in my plotting. My BIF book is on order and I can't wait for it to get here as a refresher course! I highly recommend it for people who want to learn structure, cohesiveness and plotting.

Dianna Love said...

Mary and I hoofed it around NY today stock signing after BEA. Our hooves are sore and we're ready to crash out, but I wanted to stop by and and say thanks again for the gracious post.

I'm hoping this posts and I don't get thrown off again - this is my third attempt. Mary just told me she isn't able to get on at all - NY has the worst internet connections.

Thank you all for the wonderful comments - you always make me feel very appreciated. I'm so happy to know all of you.

Mary said thanks too and will talk to you again soon when the internet gods shine on us.