Where's the Fire?

#1 on my 9 Month Professional Bucket List is “Read a writing craft book a month.”

My book for the month of August is THE FIRE IN FICTION by literary agent Donald Maass. In case you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Maass, I’ll give you a run down on his backlist as well. He also penned THE CAREER NOVELIST and WRITING THE BREAK OUT NOVEL, in which he prophesied the death of the midlist and offered some techniques for breaking out of the pack.

I always try to listen when a top shelf agent speaks, so I approached this book with proper reverence. And I wasn’t disappointed. Mr. Maass made me re-evaluate elements in my current WIP and ramp up the stakes of my story. One of the most valuable ideas was his take on “micro-tension,” the quality of inherent conflict that propels a reader forward and how to ingrain it in every scene.

I’m sure I’ll return to this text several times. I want to take a crack at some of the exercises at the end of each chapter. So I’ll mark #1 on the bucket list as partially fulfilled. Since I also typed “the End” on one of my contracted novels yesterday, I could also place an X by #6 ~ “Meet my contractual deadlines.”

I’m starting to notice a trend. The professional goals seem to be rising to the top in the DONE category. (You can check out my full personal and professional to-do list in the sidebar of this blogsite.)

Maybe it’s because many of my personal goals will take more time. The splits thing, for example. I’ve been stretching everyday, but I’m still nowhere near being able to sink gracefully into a split. And the lose two dress sizes–well, the less said about progress on that one, the better.

Or maybe the professional goals are just easier because they aren’t challenging me to change something about myself. Hmmm . . .

Why is it easier for me to change my writing habits and techniques than say . . . my wall color? If you have any insight on that, I’d welcome it. Or if you’ve read or plan to read a writing craft book this month, please let us all know which one and what you hope to get out of it.

5 thoughts on “Where’s the Fire?

  1. Nynke says:

    Cool :)

  2. MiaMarlowe says:

    Shoot! I keep forgetting who I#39;m signed in as!br /br /Nynke–I was a cheerleader in high school, so splits and round offs were part of my body#39;s lexicon. I#39;m not sure when it stopped being something I could do without thinking. Probably somewhere in the kidlet years. But if I manage to be able to do it again, the splits again (without damaging myself, of course!) I#39;ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment.

  3. EmilyBryan says:

    Jane L–I return to Writing the Break Out Novel each time I begin a new project.

  4. Nynke says:

    quot;Or maybe the professional goals are just easier because they aren#39;t challenging me to change something about myself.quot; That sounds about right… And it sounds like you#39;re very much in the right profession for you! Not a surprise, but still a thing to celebrate :).br /br /I wish I could offer advice on losing dress sizes, but I mainly lost my couple of pounds as a side effect of falling in love, not being able to afford chocolate and having to clean houses for a living, all at the same time last year. If there#39;s any conclusion to be drawn from that, I#39;d say you#39;re good if you combine happiness and good food with working out regularly ;). So good luck with personal goals 1, 5 and 7! Even just working on goal 1 impresses me – I#39;ve never been able to do the splits in my life!br /br /By the way, what does your DH think about wall colors?

  5. Jane L says:

    Mia,br /br /Oh I love Donald Maass! I just finished his book Writing the Breakout Novel. It was filled with valuable information. I would highly suggest it for all aspiring writers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *