November 11th, 2009

Wright's Writing Corner: Writing the Breakout Novel, Part One.

It is Wednesday, and I finally get a chance to write about what I have been itching to write about for months now, my favorite writing book: Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.


I have looked at many writing books. Normally, I do not find them to be helpful. The majority of them seem to be: “I found it useful to write this way, so you should to” books. All fine and good if you happen to write the same way as that author, but writers approach their work in many different ways. If that author’s style is not yours, such books are really not much use. (They can even be damaging, if you try to replace your natural way of writing with someone else’s style that does not work for you.)

There is a second group of writing books I have found useful. These are books written by someone who has dealt with quite a number of writers – someone who has had plenty of time to discover that what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the next person, such as a teacher or an agent These books can be quite useful, because the author knows what kinds of things are specific to some and what are general to all writers.

(Example: some people do well with outlines. Other people cannot produce a good story if they use an outline. But everyone needs a plot and readable grammar. A good writing instructor knows the difference between these things.)

Interestingly, what this means is that successful authors do not necessarily produce good writing books. Teaching writing is a different skill from entertaining the reader.

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Also, check out Danielle Ackley-McPhail's weekly Wednesday column on writing at :


Ping-Ping Turns 14

Today is Ping-Ping's 14th's amazing to think that just a month and a half ago, I was still worried we might not get her in time...for today was the cut-off day after which she would have been too old to adopt.

Now she's been with us just a day or so over a month. While it has not yet reached the point where we feel as if she had always been part of the family, that day grows closer. I am particularly grateful for how well she gets along with her brothers. She is developing a relationship with each one, and all three are very pleased with her.

What a sweetie she is, and how lucky we are!