Book Review: Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass


Title: Writing the Breakout Novel

Author: Donald Maass

Genre: Self Help

Story: The title is self explanatory…

What Worked: If you’re looking for a book to tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to be successful in the writing and publishing world, you are never going to find it. Writing, and each and every book has so many different moving parts (layers, plots, sub plots, characters, tone, setting, arch, etc. etc. etc.) – what I’m trying to say is there is no book that can give the magic solution to YOUR work. You have to invest the time and grow as a writer. Similar to any other type of art. What I loved about this book, is it didn’t give corny advice that I’ve read in many other self help books. What it does do for you, is directs you to the questions you should be asking yourself about your own writing and work. I made so many notes on my phone while reading this book! So many Aha! moments that resonated strongly with “issues” I knew were in my own writing, but I couldn’t figure out how to improve.

What Needed Work: Published in 2002, it’s a bit dated. It would be nice if he made an amended version. The industry has changed in many ways (increase in self publishing, trends in genres, etc.) and it would be informative to hear what his thoughts are on the subjects 15 years later…He does participate and speak in many writing conferences so that is probably his forum for such.

Overall: This book is a great read for all levels of writing, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Donald has been in the publishing business as an agent for over 20 years – the book almost reads like a “PLEASE don’t send out your work like this…this is what we are looking for…this is what readers want to read…I’m tired of reading bad manuscripts.” Which I’m ok with because I HONESTLY want to know what it takes to make it as an author. There is also a work book that you can buy to accompany the read…but I did not.

Rating: 4/5

If you wanna read: Amazon

Follow the author: Twitter

Posted by

We read to learn, to feel, to laugh, to understand others. We write to teach, express, communicate, to inspire others. I created Invisible Ink as an outlet of sorts, an area where I can organize the chaos; a place where hopefully I can be true to myself, and my readers. Writing is personal, it takes a brave and dedicated soul to formulate a piece and then share it with the world. That being said, I get just as much out of reading other's work as I do sharing mine ( I am always open to manuscript review swaps, just send me a message). Words read off a page evoke emotions. When taken out of context, or through an out of focus lens - anyone can mold the words, shifting their meaning to fit their agenda or distorted outlook. Staying true to form and myself, I won't censor my content, but I will censor my audience. Whatever lens you happen to be reading this through - I hope you enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

  1. How, I literally just bought this book and it arrived yesterday.

    I’ve read many of Maass’ articles and have found him to be profound and thoughtful. He does inspire one to think.

    Like you, I’ve had my fill of the corny advice books and prefer useful information that can help me learn and grow as a an author.

    Thanks for reviewing this and making others aware of the book. I look forward to reading it.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s