The Breakout Novelist

From Donald Maass's book The Breakout Novelist learn: Get expert craft advice (from beginner to advanced) and insider career advice Build your skills with over 70 exercises Learn from Maass’ experiences over more than three decades in the publishing industry
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The Breakout Novelist

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Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers

by Donald Maass

Writer's Digest Books, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1-58297-990-8

ISBN-10: 1-58297-990-1

$24.99 hardcover with concealed wire-o, 352 pages

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Find out how create an effective career path.

Online Exclusive: Q&A With Donald Maass

Literary agent Donald Maass shares what it takes to succeed in as novelist.

About the Book

The all-inclusive guide for novel writers! If you’re serious about making your fiction vibrant, engaging, and marketable, you’ve found the right book. The Breakout Novelist gives you the craft and business know-how you need to make your book stand out.

Inside, veteran agent, Donald Maass brings together the most innovative and practical information from his workshops and previous books to lead you through every aspect of setting your novel apart from the rest. Maass shares examples from contemporary writers across all genres to equip you with the strategies great writers use to craft great fiction—from core fiction-writing elements like character, setting, description, and plot, to more advanced techniques including point of view, voice, and suspense. Plus, you’ll find over 70 practical exercises to help you move your writing from blah to breakout.

You’ll also learn from Maass’ experiences over more than three decades in the publishing industry. Get straight talk from an insider about agents, contracts, how the industry is changing, and how to be the kind of author who builds a successful career book after book.

Get the best of Maass’ expertise and instruction in one easy-to-use reference.

About the Author

Donald Maass heads the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York City, which represents more than 150 novelists and sells more than 150 novels every year to publishers in America and overseas. He is a past president of the Association of Authors Representatives, Inc., and is the author of several books of interest to fiction writers: The Career Novelist, Writing the Breakout Novel, and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. His Web site is

Table of Contents


PART 1: Mastering Breakout Basics

  1. Premise
  2. Stakes
  3. Time and Place
  4. Characters
  5. Plot
  6. Sub-Plots + Pace + Endings
  7. Advanced Plot Structures
  8. Theme
  9. Practical Tools

PART 2: Achieving Breakout Greatness

  1. Protagonists vs. Heroes
  2. Characters Who Matter
  3. Scenes That Can't Be Cut
  4. The World of the Novel
  5. A Singular Voice
  6. Making It Real
  7. Hyper-Reality
  8. Tension All the Time
  9. The Fire in Fiction
  10. Practical Tools

PART 3: Building a Breakout Career

  1. Status Seekers & Storytellers
  2. Publishing Myth vs. Reaity
  3. Pitching
  4. Agents
  5. Career Patterns That Work
  6. Breaking Out
  7. Contracts
  8. Numbers, Numbers, Numbers
  9. The Future of Pubishing
  10. Passages