Monday, October 11, 2010

If you play with fire...

You may have noticed my blog posting bandwagon has been moving slowly lately. That's OK. I'm spreading the slacker love around by not doing much writing, either.

I have kids. They stress me out. They take up most of my time and invade my brainspace while they're at it. Until we get our kiddo issues figured out, the slacker trend may continue. But I will still send my readers lots of love telepathically, if not so much fiberoptically.

I've been reading Donald Maass' The Fire in Fiction lately (thanks to my pal Sydney who's been shoving it down our writer group members' throats recommending it). Maass has lots of good ideas. Did I mention lots? This is book boot camp, baby. If you read this book and apply his ideas to your manuscript, it won't look the same when you're done. His chapters aren't the typical boring ones you might expect, such as Plot: To Outline or not?

No, he's more imaginative than that. Here are some chapter titles: Making the Impossible Real. Tension All the Time. Good concepts to make your manuscript more intriguing, yes? The end of each chapter contains a step-by-step guide to implementing ideas. My personal favorite was how to write scenes that can't be cut. The key is making your character have both an outer and inner turning point. When these happen in your scene, your character is changed somehow. That gives your reader compelling reasons to keep reading.

Anyway, enough of the infomercial. If you have a manuscript that needs work, pick up some Fire. But you may need to make some scary changes if you do. That's what happens when you get burned.


Maria Zannini said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Kaylie. I liked Maass's other book, The Breakout Novel.

I'll look for Fire next time I'm out.

Kaylie said...

Breakout was good but I liked Fire even better.