Friday, March 27, 2009

A Friday Five Courtesy of Donald Maass

From the book WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass.

I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book. I won my copy courtesty of Becky Levine (thank you Becky!!!) and clearly, my guardian writing angel knew I would be needing it and helped Becky to draw my name.

1. "A high-octane plot is nothing without credible, larger-than-life, highly developed characters to make it meaningful."

2. "When people act in ways that are unusual, unexpected, dramatic, decisive, full of consequence, and are irreversible, we remember them and talk about them for years."

3. "What makes breakout characters broadly appealing is not weaknesses but their strengths, not their defeats but their triumphs."

4. "Virtually all readers seek out novels for an experience of human life that is admirable, amusing, hopeful, perseverant, positive, inspiring, and that ultimately makes us feel whole."

5. "A character in trouble is engaging if she has sympathetic qualities, e.g. she is aware that she’s in trouble and tries to change. What we cannot tolerate is willful self-destructiveness."

Happy Friday!


  1. Nice summary! I had a chance to sit in on his workshop, he's a great speaker!

  2. Thanks! I missed a workshop he was speaking at and I could have kicked myself.

    He's a great agent! I've heard nothing but great things about him!