I spent yesterday at this great workshop.
WRITING 21ST CENTURY FICTION: Based on Donald Maass’s forthcoming book (September 2012, Writers Digest Books), this intensive hands-on workshop teaches the techniques that give multi-year best selling novels their high impact, resulting in both strong story and beautiful writing regardless of category.
Author bio: A literary agent in New York, Donald Maass’s agency sells more than 150 novels every year to major publishers in the U.S. and overseas. He is the author of The Career Novelist (1996), Writing the Breakout Novel (2001), Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (2004) and The Fire in Fiction (2009). He is a past president of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, Inc.
Donald Maass (DM in the future) stays great stories beautifully written are the successful ones in the 21st century.
He talked about how readers want an emotional experience when they read but we often make the emotions too generic. We need to put things on the page that are unexpected yet true. He says we all tend to write safe. I know I do. Instead, he suggested we write from our own personal depths and create emotions that are powerful, genuine and authentic. One neat little trick he gave us was to give the emotion a color or a sound. I loved this.
He led us to explore what makes a compelling, captivating character (which is more powerful than a sympathetic one). His provocative statement that we are drawn immediately to the longing in a character to change caught my attention.
There were so many valuable lessons learned at this workshop. It will take me days to digest it. In fact, my notes will be used over and over as I apply the lessons to stories in the future.
One thing I appreciate so much about DM is his teachings are so concrete and accessible. As I followed him through this workshop, my understanding of the characters in my story and their deepening layers grew. I am now excited to get back to the manuscript and add these layers.
The venue was in the beautiful Red Wood Meadow and the drive there took us down the Cowboy Trail, with spectacular views of the Rockies, draped in snowy fineness.
Bliss is a day surrounded by writers in a beautiful setting learning from a great teacher.
Thanks to Donald Maass for generously sharing his insights. Kudos to Calgary Romance Writers of America for hosting his event.