Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
A practical, in-your-face guide to writing the “breakout novel.” According to Maass, a “breakout” refers to “any upward movement in sales and in attention paid to a novelist by publishers, bookstores, the press and the public.”
Every author hopes to be a breakout novelist. Breakout novels “leave a lasting impression.” A breakout novel makes all the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a career.
What I love about Maass’ book is his complete honesty. He dispels myths regarding writing and the publishing industry. If my novel doesn’t “break out,” it is nobody’s fault but my own. And that is a scary thought.
But Maass goes on to offer his advice about what it takes to write a novel of breakout scale. It takes nothing less than plain old hard work. Which, in my opinion, is sort of relieving. It means we’ve all got a chance. Equal opportunity.
There is no cookie-cutter formula for writing the breakout novel. Novels of every genre break out. Breakout novels are written by authors of very different backgrounds, personalities, and varying ages.
This book is encouraging and motivational. The excerpts taken from breakout novels serve as helpful examples which illustrate Maass’ point.
The lasting impression Maass left me with is this: a breakout novel is richer, deeper. The author dives beneath the surface.
“Delight your readers with your own brand of story, then continue to delight them in a similar way (only better) on a regular basis. That is the way to build an audience. It is the only way to become a brand name author.”