Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass and #WM goals

I’ve been talking with a few people about books that help us all become better writers. My firm belief is that nothing helps us learn to write more than reading with an analytical eye. Quantity is as important as quality. The bad ones are as telling about how not to write as the good ones teach us correct principles. But there are some books that changed the way I looked at writing. This is one of them: Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass.

breakout novel donald maassThere is the book to read and the workbook that helps you put his ideas into action.

He gives practical advice on why your book might not be selling, and whether you’re going self-pub or traditional, most of us care about making money for our effort. Some ideas include taking things to the limit and having conflict on every page.

While I think that a lot of what Maass says about how to write is driven by his opinions, he is one of the leading agents in the industry and has a lot of experience with what gets published and what doesn’t. Listening to his advice is worth something. And writing exercises can be painful, but nothing comes free.

#WriteMotivation Goals for Week 1:

Here are my February goals:
1) Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.

Week 1: I am half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole.

2) Post on every member’s blog once per week.

Week 1: DONE

3) Send out 15 agent queries.

Week 1: Nothing yet.

4) Do not get depressed when I am rejected.

Week 1: N/A

5) Finish final edit of TPR.

Week 1: Chapter 18 of 32. I feel good about this.

6) Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

Week 1: Have to finish 5 first.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL MY #WRITEMOTIVATION FRIENDS! I will be seeing you again this week. And I bought Girl Scout Cookies.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Neilson

The False Prince was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. From page one, I loved the main character, Sage. He’s clever, strong, everything a hero should be. The twist at the end wasn’t wholly unexpected, but felt like another prank Sage had played–on me.

From the Jacketflap:

In this first book in a remarkable trilogy, an orphan is forced into a twisted game with deadly stakes.

Choose to lie…or choose to die.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

About the Author:

New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; of The Underworld Chronicles, beginning with ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR; the forthcoming PRAETOR WAR series, and will write the sixth book of the Infinity Ring series (BEHIND ENEMY LINES). She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.

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One thing I learned from Mrs. Neilsen’s blog was that you should never give up. She set a goal to be published before age 17. Though she didn’t make that goal, she kept trying. She wrote four books before getting her fifth published, and is now a great success!