Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Mentionables

OK readers, today's post is culled directly from the pages of the October 2009 Writer's Digest. And if you're a writer and you're not getting this magazine, you're missing out. It has great articles and advice for writers in all genres and at all steps of their writing journey. One of the best investments for very little $$, I assure you.

"The Passion for Prose," by the illustrious literary agent Donald Maass has some great advice for writers: make sure there is passion on the page, in every scene. He believes that passion in one's story is what separates the mediocre stories from the truly great ones. My favorite piece of advice here: "...nothing in a story is meaningful until its meaning is clear to a character...include not what a particular plot turn means in the grand scheme of things, but instead what it means to your POV character...illuminate not what has changed, but how [the character] has changed."

By the way, I haven't read his writing guide Writing the Breakout Novel, but I know many, many people recommend it highly. If you've read it, what's your take?


Writer's Digest runs a contest each year to recognize writers' websites that are designed and maintained solely by the authors themselves. This year's top 3 were,, and

Know someone you'd like to nominate for the 2010 contest? Send an email to with "Best Writer's Website" as the subject line. And yes, you can nominate yourself!


Finally, a couple of writing prompts for any of you who might need a little creative nudge:

1. Pick a color, make that your title, and write a poem inspired by that color.

2. Seven people board a small boat for a tour of the islands, but when the boat returns to the dock, only six people remain on board...

There are also great articles in this month's Writer's Digest about online writing communities, interviews with best-selling authors like Lee Child and Jennifer Crusie, and advice on getting the most out of writers' conferences. I defiintely recommend picking up a copy at your local bookstore if you're interested!


Marianne Arkins said...

RE: Writing the Breakout Novel.

I have the book and the workbook. The book I got little from -- not sure why, exactly, unless I simply felt overwhelmed by all that he spoke of.

The workbook though? FANTASTIC. It takes everything he wants us to know and breaks it down into bite-sized bits. I LOVE to work through the workbook and do at least some of the exercises in every book. They never get old.

I can't recommend "Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook" enough.

Diane Craver said...

I need to get the workbook. It sounds great, too. I read his book and liked it. I took notes on it so I'd remember everything he said. :)

Charity said...

Writing the Breakout Novel is very good, but the workbook is beyond terrific. I love, love, love the workbook and it's what I used to revise The Geek Girl's Guide.

His newest, The Fire in Fiction, is also very good. It's not in the workbook format, but it has the exercises at the end of each chapter that are very much like the ones in the workbook (in style, not content--most of that is new or expanded).

Allie Boniface said...

Thanks, everyone. I'll look for the workbook!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I read the book. It was good, but I didn't pick up all that much from it.

I think I'll check out the workbook, too.