Make the Impossible Look Real

In his book, Writing the Break Out Novel, Donald Maass states: “take that which is improbable and make it look possible: better still, make the impossible look real.”

As I’m currently working my way through the first draft of my third novel, I’ve come to realise that my story scope is too small. My main plot events are commonplace and my dramatic moments nothing out of the ordinary.

It’s not something I’m worried about at this stage. I shall forge on until I’ve a complete first draft, then set to work correcting the problem when I re-write. I’ll need to really think about those moments when my protagonist finds himself in danger, as they need to be both extreme and believable.

To help, I got out my highlighter pen and marked any sentences in Donald Maass’ book which I thought may help. I found this one particularly useful:

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Everything You Want To Know About Creating Interesting Characters

Everything you want to know about creating great characters

I’m at the beginning of a new project, well two actually, so I thought it was time to blow the dust off my ‘how to write’ books and see what they have to say about developing a strong character. Because we all know a strong character makes for a strong story.

Here’s the list of what I gleaned: Continue reading

A Tale of Two Premises

Premise is a word I’ve seen used by some excellent authors of ‘how to write fiction’ books, and at first I was a little confused by what they meant; until I realised they used the word ‘premise’ to mean different things.

Take Donald Maass’s fabulous book ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’. He dedicates the whole of chapter two to premise. For him premise describes the core ideas of the story. He says it must be plausible, original, contain an inherent conflict and have gut emotional appeal. He also says premise can be ‘built’. Continue reading