Friday, 5 January 2018

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass

This is one of my favourite return to books as the exercises at the end of each chapter are designed to help you enhance the manuscript you are currently writing or editing.

Each chapter is a discussion on the subject, example(s) and exercises. There are 34 chapters including; From Protagonist to Hero, Multidimensional Characters, Larger-Than-Life Qualities, Ultimate Stakes, and High Moments.  

All the chapters have exercises with follow up work as well. For Example the chapter - Larger-Than-Life Character Qualities - has an exercise section on 'Creating Larger-Than-Life Qualities:-

Step 1: Write down the following: What is the one thing that your protagonist would never, ever do, say or think?

Step 2: Find places in your story in which your protagonist must do, say or think those very things. What are the circumstances? What are the consequences? Make notes, starting now.   Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

This reversal is shown to great effect in 'A Knight's Tale' where main character, William, refuses to forfeit a jousting match even though everyone else has because the opponent is the heir to the throne. Thus demonstrating William's determination to win regardless of the risks. So when his love interest asks him to lose the jousting tournament to prove his love for her we understand how much this goes against his nature and the depth of his love when he does indeed do the one thing he never would. This is a true memorable moment. With this book you could include many more memorable moments in your manuscript

I love that that the exercises have follow up exercises, usually to find more places where you can repeat the exercise or even have your character pointedly let the opportunity go.

I return to this book time and again and I know I'm not the only author that does so.

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