Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Saturday Review

The Fire in Fiction
By Donald Maass

Genre: Craft
Publisher: Writers Digest Books
ISBN-13: 978-1582975061

Literary agent, Donald Maass’ new book, The Fire in Fiction should be in every writer’s toolbox. I had the privilege of attending his workshop, by the same name, this past summer at the RWA conference in Washington DC. I’ve only now had the chance to spend time pouring over this new, powerful text on how to not only write a novel, but write a novel readers can’t forget.

From the back cover:
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Something similar is true of a great many unpublished manuscripts.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 our 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!

A sure hit with any writer you know this Christmas!!

Rating: 5 Petit fours
Reviewed by Darcy Crowder


Carol Burnside said...

Dang it, Darcy, I swore I wasn't going to buy any more craft books for awhile, but you really make me want to buy this one. (sigh) What's one more book, right? The shelves are only bowing, not actually cracking...yet. :)

Linsey Lanier said...

This is a great book. I agree it's a must-read for writers.

Donald Maass gives loads of examples in his books. In his "Cutting Heroes Down to Size" topic in "The Fire in Fiction," he presents Elena Estes, tough-as-nails heroine from Tami Hoag's "The Alibi Man" and shows how Hoag makes her human.

I just finished listening to that book on CD and am in awe of both Donald Maass and Tami Hoag. It was an incredible story with a superbly drawn heroine. Thanks, Mr. Maass, for the illustration! I learned a lot about characterization and plot.


Tami Brothers said...

Wow! Another great book. I'm with Carol. I had promised I wasn't going to buy anymore reference books, but you and Linsey have really made this one sound awesome. I LOVE Tami Hoag!

Thanks for sharing this with us.


Ana Aragón said...

Okay. I give. Yet one more book to put on the shelf in hopes that one day soon I can read it!

Marilyn Baron said...

I did buy his book on the advice of someone who recommended it earlier on the blog. And I'm looking forward to reading it.