Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The Write Stuff Workshop and Donald Maass – Day 1

I’m in Allentown, PA for The Write Stuff Workshop hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.

Agent extraordinaire Donald Maass is here teaching from his “Writing the Breakout Novel” books, and I spent all day in his workshop learning how to apply his techniques to my current WIP.

I’ve read Mr. Maass’s books, and I’ve cruised the internet for information, but there’s nothing like hearing it straight from the well. The presentation is polished – as I expected it would be – but not so routine that it felt mechanical. Which is good, because tomorrow is Day 2 of the pre-conference workshops, and had this presentation been bad, I might have had to bail.

As it is, I’m looking forward to the “Fire in Fiction” workshop tomorrow.

My favorite portion of the class was a discussion of “micro-tension” among the dialogue, exposition and action. It’s this tension that keeps a reader turning pages. He suggests we toss our manuscripts in the air, gather the pages back together in random order, and read each individually to make certain this micro-tension exists.

(If I do this, I’m going to have to print a complete, new copy of my WIP to play with because there is NO WAY I’m putting the pages back in order when I’m done.)

Nine hours later, I’ve got some excellent ideas for tackling my current novel (and perhaps applying to the novel I’m going to shop later this year) and I’m exhausted.

Time for a hot shower and a good book to unwind!

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