The Fire in Fiction: Harness Your Passion

The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass“I believe that passion is available to every author, every time she sits down to write. Every novel can be inspired. Every scene can have a white-hot center. It is not a matter of conjuring demons, being obsessed, or just plain luck. The passion that inspires great fiction can be a writing technique as handy and easy to use as those with which all fiction writers are familiar. Passion can be a practical tool.

“What do I mean by passion? Simply put, it is the underlying conviction tat makes the words matter. It is the burning drive to urgently get down something specific, something that the reader has to see. It could be as big as a universal truth about human nature or as small as the quality of the light on an autumn afternoon on the Nebraska prairie.

“Whatever it is, the words flow, or seem to, and as readers we are blown away by the author’s precision and emotional force. A passionate author has us in her grip. Passionate fiction is not bogged down, wandering, low in tension, or beset by the bugbears of by-the-numbers novel writing, like stereotypical characters, predictable plots, cliche-ridden prose, churning exposition, buried dialogue, and so on.

“Passionate writing makes every word a shaft of light, every sentence a crack of thunder, every scene a tectonic shift. When the purpose of every word is urgent, the story crackles, connects, weaves, and falls together in wondrous ways. No wonder such novels feel as if they are writing themselves. Actually, it is the author who has found a groove. Wouldn’t it be nice if every manuscript flowed so easily?”

— from The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose, and techniques to make your novel great by Donald Maass

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