Writing the Breakout Novel

Despite the cheesy title, Donald Maass' book, Writing the Breakout Novel, is a guide to writing good novels, not a guide to selling out. Maass is not fond of generic thrillers and has a soft spot for literature as a genre. A novelist and New York agent, Mass is in a unique position to help the aspiring writer.

The emphasis throughout Breakout, is on craft and quality. Maass's theory is that books which "break out," i.e. step up a sales category, do so on word of mouth. This buzz is created by the story itself, even though other factors help the marketing of a book. Books that fail, according to Mass, do so mostly because they are shallow, unoriginal or not entertaining. It's a good theory which puts responsibility for success on the writer, not on who she knows.

If his philosophy interests you, go to his site, Maass Literary Agency, to download his free ebook, The Career Novelist. I plan to read it.

Progress Report

Directing my show is over, so I have more time to finish my novel. To keep myself honest, I'm posting my progress so far:

I have only completed one tenth of the first draft of my new project but I am cautiously optimistic about the story so far. Outlining is supposed to reduce the editing process later so if I'm writing a little slower these days, it's for the right reasons.

Happy reading!

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