How to Write a Breakout Novel Workbook

By Donald Maass

If you’re unwilling to work hard to make your novel the best it can be, don’t buy this book. This sequel to the highly acclaimed, How to Write a Breakout Novel, will equip and motivate you to incorporate into your manuscript the elements essential to a best seller. But you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and write, revise, then write some more.

Each chapter presents a concept, explains its importance, illustrates its use with examples, and follows up with exercises you can apply to your WIP. If you complete each exercise and take the time to make your writing fresh and evocative, your novel will be transformed.

I write inspirational romance and purchased this book to learn how to infuse my stories with tension. I expected to breeze through Part 1 (twelve chapters on Character Development) and concentrate on Plot Development in Part 2. Wrong.

Creating conflict begins with the characters. The changes I made in my novel, based on these early exercises, yielded noticeable improvements. By the time I reached the last chapter in Part 2: ‘Adding Tension to Every Page’, my manuscript was already significantly closer to this goal.
Maass introduces the chapter with these words: “Tension on every page is the secret of great storytelling. Everyone knows that. Practically no one does it.”

Yup, I’m stuck at chapter 24, determined to instill more tension in my story, even if it kills me. And some days I think it might. I have yet to explore the final twelve chapters on General Story Techniques which cover everything from first and last lines to the pitch.
Whatever you write, applying the exercises in this workbook will improve your work.