Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling in Modern Fiction
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
You'll Love This Book If:
You are writing a literary/commercial novel
You need advanced fiction writing techniques to improve your novel or book
You are looking for examples of modern fiction from recent novels
Do you want to become the next bestselling literary or commercial author? In order to write high impact twenty-first century fiction, you must start by knowing your voice and who you are then going beyond that and challenging yourself to become your most authentic self.
Maass analyzes fiction techniques from recent novels such as The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum, Changes by Jim Butcher, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, The Magician King by Lev Grossman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin, The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obrhet, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
The first book to provide a concrete framework for writing powerful literary/commercial novels. Practical tools in each chapter allow novelists to apply these methods immediately to create fiction that transcends genre, creates realities unique to its authors, conjures characters who feel more "real" than real people, and shows readers the world around them in new ways. What is it that makes twenty-first century fiction different from twentieth-century fiction? It's a real issue, attested by slush piles that are chock full of stories that are weak because they adhere to "rules," feel old-fashioned or in some other way are written the (outdated) way that writers think they should write in order to get published.
By explaining the techniques of high-impact (and often best-selling) recent novels, expert author and literary agent Don Maass will push novelists beyond genre boundaries, beyond outdated styles, beyond their safety zone to ways of writing fiction that are personal, unique, contemporary, and excellent in ways that are both literary and commercial. Like Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction, this is intended to be a how-to with extensive "practical tools" and plenty of examples from recent novels.
In This Book You'll Learn:
How to create compelling plots
How to write high impact 21st century fiction through a combination of examples, techniques, and exercises
How to achieve literary quality writing and win critical respect
Bonus: Order today and get instant access to download printable checklists of 21st Century Tools!
A Word From The Author
"Literary/commercial fiction is the Holy Grail of every editor. To publishers it’s black ink. For booksellers it’s pure joy. Reading groups embrace these novels, as do librarians, reviewers, teachers, award committees and movie producers.
For me, though, literary/commercial fiction is a forecast of where fiction is heading in the 21st Century. It’s an approach to novel writing that eschews both snobby pretense and genre dogma. It is personal, impassioned and even downright quirky, yet through its rebellious refusal to please it paradoxically achieves universal appeal. It panders to no one. It speaks to everyone. My purpose in writing this book is to uncover its secrets and make its methods a part of every novelist’s working practice.
Whether your purpose is literary or commercial, regardless of your aim to enlighten or entertain, no matter whether you want to give readers what they want or explore and push boundaries, there are techniques you can take from high impact fiction to enrich yours. After all, it’s a new century. Everything is changing and fiction is too. Keeping up is okay but better still is to zoom ahead of the curve. In these pages I’ll show you how to do that." — Donald Maass
explosion at the end of a long emotional fuse?” If that sounds too calculated for you, fine. Wait until you’ve finished your current draft. Look at the high points, the biggest and most dramatic events. What’s the emotional impact of each? Is that impact as strong as it can be? In your mind it is, naturally enough, but what do your first readers say? If you’re getting anything less than raves, there’s work to do. The event itself doesn’t need changing, but the path leading up to it does. In The
three good reasons not to care … then tear those down. If your protagonist is content with himself, give him fifteen minutes of self-assessment. How would others see him? What needs improvement? If your protagonist is unhappy with himself, give him one good thing to appreciate. Find the moment for “maybe I’m not so bad after all.” What’s the worst thing that happens to your protagonist ? Work backwards. Make it something he has spent a lifetime avoiding. What’s the emotion or experience
Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (mentioned in chapter three) is a straightforward memory novel built around the experience of a Chinese-American man in Seattle, Henry Lee, as he seeks to reconcile his conflicting feelings about his dual heritage and the loss of his childhood love, a Japanese-American girl who was interred during World War II. That’s enough story for a novel, but Ford adds two layers to it. One is Henry’s testy relationship with his college-aged son, Marty, whose
the way darkens the final success? How do things come out better than imagined? What’s an unexpected gift or unforeseen joy at the end? THE FOURTH LEVEL The “onion layer” effect: What’s the big secret you’re keeping from the reader? Invent two other secrets to reveal earlier. Pick a character about whom you want your readers to have doubts. Keep them guessing. Pick four points in your story to swing your readers’ thinking. Make those events stronger, each time digging the readers’ doubts
river, these people are you. Before we leave this business of big issues, I’d like to give you a little test. The following is a passage from a novel about the son of a pastry chef. Early in the story the narrator remembers the quality of his parents’ relationship, and its effect on his life: Their love is deeper than desire, than affection, than respect, so deep that its wellspring is humor. Humor is a petal on the flower of hope, and hope blossoms on the vine of faith. They have faith in