Donald Maass has written a number of fantabulous writing guides. Big thank you to my friend Rachel for sharing his latest, The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface.
The author provides relevant examples and thought-provoking questions throughout this how-to book, which is aimed at helping writers provide an emotional journey for readers.
- When readers feel strongly, their hearts are open. Your stories cannot only reach them for a moment, but change them forever.
- We open our hearts to those whose hearts are first open to us. [Vulnerable characters]
- We all yearn for a better world, one filled with compassion, respect, justice, opportunity, equality, and freedom. [A recipe for world building]
- Focus on the emotional world of your characters and you will not only make a better tale, but you will build a better world for us all.
- While it is fine to fill pages with what is natural and easy for you, it’s also critical to get comfortable writing what isn’t natural and easy.
- What makes any given scene dynamic is not changing story circumstances, but changing characters.
- Stirring hearts is your aim.
- Every change, big or small, knocks us off balance, which is good in terms of emotional craft.
- Once a protagonist has transformed, the story is effectively over.
- Don’t give me easy reading: give me the best of you.
- There’s much you can learn about yourself through writing, and even more that your characters can reveal to you.
- Hope is the current running through fiction we love.
- One must live fully and generously to write well.
I’ll end with these inspiring words from the author: “Craft tools, process, story ideas, and support are important, no questions, but your essential humanity and goodness matters more.”