Thursday, August 20, 2009

Are you writing the Breakout or Break-In Novel?

I'm attempting to do both.

Since I'm not published yet, I figure the best chance I have of writing a Break-In novel is to aim for a Breakout novel. Once I'm published, then I'll aim to write yet another Breakout novel that will see a sore in my readership.

On my last post I received some comments referencing Rachelle Gardner's post on writing the Break-In novel. With each comment I thought to myself, "But isn't one great way to write the Break-In novel by striving to write a Breakout novel? Cause, in effect, if we're not published yet, even our first published novel, the break-in novel by Rachelle Gardner's definition, is in fact for us a breakout novel, since presumably we'll be going from 0 readership to at least two or three readers. Right? And that's a 200 to 300% increase in readership. That's not a bad increase for a new writer in my books." (And, yes, this is how I think in my head. I go on and on. It's scary really! And I often make little sense too.)

So, since I missed Rachelle Gardner's post while away, I jumped over and found it for my personal viewing. If you haven't already read it, check it out here.

I'm hating blogger these days. It's refusing to allow me to copy and paste with the cntrl c and v feature, with the exception of hyperlinks. What I wanted to copy and paste in here is Gardner's second last paragraph in that post. The five line paragraph that confirmed my ranting thoughts. Even the beginner can use Maass' concepts and guidance in his book Writing the Breakout Novel to create what Rachelle Gardner calls the Break-In novel. Alas, my study of Writing the Breakout Novel will not be in vain. There is value in it after all, even for someone who hasn't Broken-In yet!

If I've learned nothing else in my six-year writing journey thus far, it is that I must keep striving for perfection in order to improve just a little. Funny thing is, the more I learn and apply, the more I discover I still need to grasp and perfect! I've picked the perfect career for preventing Alzheimer's (I read somewhere that learning, keeping your brain gears active, is a natural preventative of Alzheimer's), cause learning to write better never ends, even after the Break-In and then the Breakout novel, because you can always strive for your next biggest Breakout novel. Talk about the journey that never ends!

Anyway, here's a Donald Maass quote to ponder today: "What the inexperienced novelist has not yet learned is how to make all that vivid stuff as vivid to the reader as it is in the writer's mind." (Pg. 40 Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.)

Are you like me, something seems so vivid to you in your head, that you think you've caught it on the page, but in reality, to the average reader, you haven't?

Surrendering to Him,

Eileen

16 comments:

Keli Gwyn said...

Eileen, I like how you think. Going from no readers to some would make any debut author's book a breakout novel, wouldn't it? :)

I know I've failed to transfer those vivid images from my my head onto the page when my CP leaves an "I'm not getting this" type of comment. That's when I return to the scene and infuse it with more description, emotion and clearer dialogue.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I think you're right, writing is the best cure for Alzeimer's. LOL!

T. Anne said...

When (and rarely) my husband reads my work he instantly points out it's not clear in area's. Now I make a conscience effort to do so. it's so important! Great post!

Cindy said...

Great information in this post. I've found that my biggest ally recently in writing the Break-In novel is discovering the genre I love and then embracing it whole-heartedly. It's a good start to writing well and helps keep the mind open to learning and growing.

Erica Vetsch said...

You're so right. The learning never ends!

And in the words of the country music song, "I'll never know as much as I once did back when I knew it all."

Lazy Writer said...

I put my ms aside for about three months, and then went back to read it again. Oh my! There were so many places my writing wasn't vivid enough! I'm trying to improve those areas now. I agree with you about the more we learn the more we realize we need to learn. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Jody Hedlund said...

Eileen, I'm going to talk more about this in my post to tomorrow too. It's a tough thing to wrestle with, gearing toward break-in or break-out. Thanks for getting my wheels churning again on this!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Hi, All:

Thanks for stopping by!

Jody, I know you are a unique case. The stories that are nearest and dearest to you don't fit in the current market trends really, at least that's what I'm getting from different posts, but most of us haven't ventured to create a new genre or work in a historical era that isn't currently selling. So, I'm thinking that writing the best we can with Breakout mentality in mind would still be good and head us in the right direction. Does that make sense? As long as we're aiming for what is currently being sought.

Looking forward to your post tomorrow!

Terri Tiffany said...

I think so much like you:) LOL Good information and thoughts here and I am enjoying reading it all.

Kara said...

I love your reasoning! Sometimes I write something I find so clear and someone else reads it and totally didn't catch it or misunderstood it. That really makes me think about how to approach certain areas in my writing:)

Stephanie Faris said...

Ahhhh so true. There are still times when I know what I want to say, the words just aren't coming the way I want them to. That's what we do, I guess. Translate the images in our head to the page in front of us. Describe what's playing out in those wacky minds of ours!

Diane said...

Keep plugging away. God will get you to the finish line!

Katie Ganshert said...

Vividness, for me, is only captured during the rewrite. Usually by very very very careful choice of words and phrases. I just got Maas' workbook in the mail today and I ordered it on Monday - talk about fast mail service!!!

T. Anne said...

I'm giving you an award (Humane award) tomorrow on my blog. (You don't have to do the whole nominating thing if you don't want to, I absolve you lol!)

Jill Kemerer said...

Definitely--to all of your questions. I'm continually amazed at how much I learn with every book I write. It's humbling!

Jessica said...

LOL on all your rambling! :-) I'm not the opposite but I don't strive for perfection. Too stressful :-P I get what you mean though, about trying to make things the best we can. It's so tough! And I love your whole math thing! Being a dunce at mathematics, this new insight has opened a whole new perspective for me!! LOL
And yes, I've definitely had things so clear and strong inside and failed to bring those feelings, or evoke them, in a reader.
Learning is fun. I think I like that about being a writer, that we can change and grow in so many different ways. :-)