“Pointers from the Pros” gives tips from authors and publishing industry professionals on everything from craft to querying to their experiences on the road to publication.
I spoke at the 30th annual Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando, Fla. Although I couldn’t go to all the faboo sessions being offered, I took a ton of notes at the classes I was lucky enough to attend—and I’m sharing some of those tips with my lovely blog readers. (<—Thanks for being so fabulous, BTW!)
The first afternoon of the conference, I attended the PRO Retreat, which was stockpiled with talks by awesome agents, editors, and authors. *ahem—Donald Maass much?*
Here is what else Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction author/agent extraordinare Donald Maass of Donald Maass Literary Agency (or, The Donald, as I like to call him) had to say about writing great fiction. Click here for part I.
WHAT TURNS THE PAGE?
- The notion of microtension
- Microtension: the line-by-line tension on the page, which causes apprehension on the part of the reader and makes them move forward
- It’s that “What’s going to happen?” feeling you get when you’re reading—it’s not in the story, not in the scene, but “what’s in the next few seconds?”
- If you understand the principles, the underlying conflicting emotions inside the central character, you can do anything on the page.
- Highly emotional and emotionally gripping writing
HOW DO YOU WRITE EMOTIONALLY-GRIPPING STUFF?
- Ask yourself these questions:
- What in the world of my story makes me personally furious? Why?
- What is the greatest injustice that you know, and how on the page can you give that fury to your heroine?
- What are two new probs your MC can face? And what are two ways your character can NOT get it?
- What are two things your MC wants? What is the opposite? Two times to reject it and then, when she gets what she wanted, REJECT it?
- In what way is the antagonist right? In what ways is he most human in what ways?
- What are things only your heroine notices what about your world?
- What could she say that would be shocking to even herself?
- Knowing the answers to these kinds of questions and implementing some of them will make your fiction great.
4 thoughts on “Pointers from the Pros: Agent and Author Donald Maass on Great Fiction (Pt. II)”
Oh, great stuff here! I would love to hear him speak. Thanks for passing on the info to us, Ricki! I so much wanted to go to the RWA con. Next year, hopefully!
Pretty sure I’ll be there!
Yes, the Donald is fab. 🙂
Have you or any of your blog readers read “Writing the Breakout Novel”? I’d be curious to know more about it.
I have both that book and the workbook associated with it, but I haven’t read them cover to cover yet. There are lots of interesting exercises in the workbook that I’m eager to try out, though! Perhaps as I edit my WIP?