Monday, April 19, 2010


When I went to the Fire in Fiction two day workshop last year, I was truly blown away by the style and techniques that Don Maass teaches. But I wasn't ready to face HOUND and everything I needed to do to improve it. I really just needed a break - that extended rest period writers need sometimes so they can come back with fresh eyes and clear head.

Last week, I went to the Breakout Novel Intensive. Blown away doesn't really seem to cover it.

Incredible? Getting closer. Absolutely AMAZING? Perhaps.

All I know is that the way he teaches gets to you. You feel it when you're looking at your story. You understand what this could mean for your novel.

And it's fucking inspiring.

If you ever have the chance to do the BONI or Fire in Fiction - or anything else Don Maass teaches - DO IT. It is, by far, the most advanced lessons and tool set I've found for writing. This is coming from someone who has a BA in Creative Writing, did three semesters of Masters level courses, has done a number of workshops and classes besides that, is a professional writer for my day job, and has worked with a paid editor. It is also the best way to spend your money - the best investment - when it comes to writing.

If you're ready for it - if you understand the basics and have a good grasp of the general principles of writing - this cannot be missed.

At the very least, pick up his books. The Fire in Fiction and Writing the Breakout Novel. It doesn't hold a candle to his interactive teaching and workshops, but it's something.

I was struggling with what my novel was missing. How to get what I was trying to do and the story I was trying to tell completely on the page, on a deeper level instead of just on the surface. How to bring out everything I thought I was writing, but just wasn't quite making it into the text.

I have a good novel. Now, thanks to Maass and the people he works with, I understand what I need to do to make it a GREAT novel.

Now, I just have to do it. And I can't wait - so I need to finish this post here and get started. :)


beth said...

I am *so glad* you had a good time at the workshop! YAY FOR YOU!!!!!!!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

He's doing a workshop in Madison in November; I'm considering going to that. It'll depend on my husband, since he'll have to watch our son while I'm gone.

Christina Farley said...

Oh!!!!!! This sounds awesome! I want to go to one of his workshops. Does he have a listing of where he holds them or when they are? I have his books, which are fabulous but this sounds even more fab!

The Screaming Guppy said...

Free Expressions facilitates the workshops. Lorin (one of the editors) is also awesome!

Actually, the whole team is awesome - I worked with Jason and Lisa too.

When you go to the week long session you get one on one sessions with all of them in addition to Don.

The Screaming Guppy said...

Oh, and you can also get a list on his website, here:

Christina Farley said...

Thanks for the link. Nothing in the Florida region. But I'm going to keep tabs on upcoming stuff in the future. Sounds great.