Kelly's Picks: 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.
Author:
Publish date:

From Kelly:

Image placeholder title

The Fire in Fiction is the latest book from successful literary agent and author Donald Maass. In it, he explores the difference between a so-so manuscript and a novel readers cannot forget, and offers techniques for layering your story with passion and conviction.

Featuring original exercises, techniques, and examples from bestsellers, The Fire in the Fiction looks at capturing a special time and place, creating characters whose lives matter, nailing multiple-impact plot turns, constructing scenes that cannot possibly be cut, making the supernatural real, encompassing a wider world, and more.

In Chapter Two: Characters Who Matter, for instance, you’ll find out why secondary characters are so important and et tips for making sure that supporting characters appropriately influence your protagonist. Here’s a sample exercise from that chapter:


Creating Special Characters

Step 1: Look at the special character through the eyes of your protagonist. List three ways in which they are exactly alike. Find one way in which they are exactly the opposite.

Step 2: Write down what most fascinates your protagonist about this special character. Also note one thing about the special character that your protagonist will never understand.

Step 3: Create the defining moment in their relationship. Write down specific details of the place, the time, the action, and their dialogue during this event. What single detail does, or will, your protagonist remember best? What detail does she most want to forget?

Step 4: At the end of your story, in what way has this special character most changed your protagonist? At the story’s outset, in what way does your protagonist most resist this special character?

Step 5: Incorporate the above into your manuscript.

Discussion: Special-ness comes not from a character but from their impact on the protagonist. What are the details that measure their impact? How specific can you make them? The steps above are just a start. Whether for femmes fatales or any other character, it is those details that will bring their special-ness alive.

Don’s other books for writers include Writing the Breakout Novel and the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. You can also learn more about Donald Maass by visiting his website.

Poetic Forms

Rannaigecht Mor Gairit: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the rannaigecht mor gairit, a variant form of the rannaigecht.

Weinstein_1:21

The Writer, The Inner Critic, & The Slacker

Author and writing professor Alexander Weinstein explains the three parts of a writer's psyche, how they can work against the writer, and how to utilize them for success.

Stottlemyre_1:21

Todd Stottlemyre: On Mixing and Bending Genres

Author Todd Stottlemyre explains how he combined fiction and nonfiction in his latest book and what it meant as a writer to share his personal experiences.

plot_twist_story_prompts_take_a_trip_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Take a Trip

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character take a trip somewhere.

Probst_1:20

Making the Switch from Romance to Women’s Fiction

In this article, author Jennifer Probst explains the differences between romance and women's fiction, the importance of both, and how you can make the genre switch.

Wrobel_1:20

Stephanie Wrobel: On Writing an Unusual Hero

Author Stephanie Wrobel explains how she came to write about mental illness and how it affects familial relationships, as well as getting inside the head of an unusual character.

who_are_the_inaugural_poets_for_united_states_presidents_robert_lee_brewer

Who Are the Inaugural Poets for United States Presidents?

Here is a list of the inaugural poets for United States Presidential Inauguration Days from Robert Frost to Amanda Gorman. This post also touches on who an inaugural poet is and which presidents have had them at their inaugurations.

precedent_vs_president_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Precedent vs. President (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use precedent vs. president with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 554

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a future poem.