Skip to main content
Publish date:

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:

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.

Agent Advice

Agent Advice: Analieze Cervantes of The Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

Agent Advice (this installment featuring Analieze Cervantes of The Harvey Klinger Literary Agency) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 4 WDU Courses, an Upcoming Webinar, Submission Deadline for Your Favorite Writing Websites, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce 4 WDU courses, an upcoming webinar on creating an author website, and more!

How To Find the Right Professional Editor for Your Writing

How To Find the Right Professional Editor for Your Writing

It's not enough to know when your manuscript is ready for a professional edit—it's knowing who is the right fit to do the editing. Here, Tiffany Yates Martin discusses how to find the right professional editor for your writing.

From Script

Understanding the Writer and Agent Relationship (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, read an intimate interview with Verve Literary Agent and Partner David Boxerbaum about the state of the spec market, the relationship between a writer and agent, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ending Your Story Too Soon

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ending Your Story Too Soon

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is ending your story too soon.

FightWrite™: Fight Scenes with Magic

FightWrite™: Fight Scenes With Magic

In this post, trained fighter and author Carla Hoch explores the process of writing fight scenes with magic—how to make the unbelievable believable, how limitations bring us closer to our characters, and more.

Invoice Template for Freelance Writers

Invoice Template for Freelance Writers

If you're a freelance writer who is able to secure assignments, an essential tool you'll need is an invoice. In this post, Writer's Digest Senior Editor Robert Lee Brewer shares a very basic and easy invoice template for freelance writers to get the job done (and get paid).

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

A career behind the curtain helped Amy Neswald in creating her own stories. Here, the author shares 3 things being a broadway wig master taught her about storytelling.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let things get a little out of control.