New Wisdom from Donald Maass! Make Emotion Work in Fiction

Finding the story beneath the surfaceBack from a loooong holiday break and finding things to share!

This post from Writer Unboxed plugs Donald Maass’s latest book, The Emotional Craft of Fiction: Writing the Story beneath the Surface. But: a) you may want to know about this book, and b) the included interview is worth reading in itself. I’ve been sharing with some  of my Internet Writing Worship cronies some thoughts about that “story beneath the surface” that strokes in depths beyond simply solving a problem, depths that help us think about what the real problems are. This concept is similar to what M.Dellert calls the “plight,” the question behind the plot that the character and the reader must struggle to define together—and often cannot rationally answer. The plight, the story beneath surface, are the forces that shape our human understanding, not just our ability to string cause-and-effect together. It’s been a while since I bought a book on craft, but I just may buy this one. I thought you might like this news.



Filed under ebooks publishing and selling, Editing your novel, indie publishing, Interviews, Learning to write

3 responses to “New Wisdom from Donald Maass! Make Emotion Work in Fiction

  1. Anonymous

    “Psychological research into that question has surprising answers. For instance, fiction writers assume that readers will feel what their characters do. They don’t. Readers instead react: weighing, judging, comparing and creating, moment by moment, their own emotional journey.”

    Interesting comment. As you know, I hold similar beliefs about how a reader experiences environment in a novel. Characters, however well described, tend,to reflect something familiar in the readers mind, Same with environment. Unless a particular scene is so out of the ordinary, or an exacting mind picture is required for the story (exhausting work) it seems to me best to just let the reader do what the reader will do anyway, which is to make the scene conform to the readers own personal experiences.

    Fiction writer and neuroscientist Liva Blackburne has a fascinating blog dedicated to the questions of why and how readers react.

    T Francis Sharp


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