Review – Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook
by Donald Maass

I actually found this book before I got its companion, “Writing the Breakout Novel.” When I began to read, it said that it was meant as a companion to the other book, so off I went to the bookstore.

The first book contains the theory of how to write a fantastic tale.

This book is where you take the ideas and apply them to your own story.

Writing Worksheets
Designed around a series of worksheets, when you take the time to go through them (there are 34), it will help you think about your story in new ways, which will open up your story.

There are three sections of worksheets.

Character Development
How to take an average character and turn him into a true hero. How to make your character more interesting, with inner conflicts and larger than life qualities. How to take the story and show how it affects the character on a personal level. How to create good secondary characters and an opponent and how to put it all together.

Plot Development
How to complicate your story with multiple plot layers. How to weave in subplots. How to create an inner journey and how to heighten tension in a story (there is never enough conflict).

General Story Techniques
An examination of the first lines of your story and how to make them great. How to create inner change in your characters. An examination of different points of view, the setting and how to make your characters stand out as unique individuals. An examination of theme and how to use symbols in your story.

If you have “The Anatomy Of Story” (the best book on writing techniques), this workbook might seem redundant. However, “Writing the Breakout Novel,” along with this workbook will give you another way to look at your story. Some of the things contained in these two books are nowhere else and I consider them essential reading for anyone serious about developing a career as a writer.


– Mark O’Bannon


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