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Playing catch-up and riding the Donald Maass Breakout Novel Intensive

Have you noticed? We are moving out of summer and approaching fall. Another year is nearly at end. I don’t know about you but it’s been a busy year for me, and it certainly didn’t help when I ripped my right knee in three places on the way to San Jose back in June. Yes, the injury required surgery and I’m in the midst of recuperating now. The Vicodan fog has lifted but the knee is still swollen and walking and moving about can be a problem. One of the tears may or may not still require surgery depending on how stablized my knee becomes so I’m hoping for the best and planning on being like new soon. Not in rehab yet ’cause the doc wants my “angry knee” to calm down a bit more.

That said, he did okay me for a trip to the Writing the Breakout Novel Intensive workshop with Donald Maass that is put on by Free Expressions. I confess I’m a big fan of these workshops. Donald Maass offers terrific insights into the writing process and the construction of a novel that has “breakout” bestseller potential. These are workshops were you can’t help but write. The mornings are full of a unique blend of lecture and exercises where breakthroughs become a daily ritual. The afternoons and evenings are left open so the writers can spend the time immediately applying their new insights to the their work. Evenings offer brainstorm and critique groups that are available but not mandatory. Critiques are offered; new friendships are forged.

As a veteran of the Maass weekend and intensive workshops, I guarantee you will work and you will produce. The morning exercises produce rich fodder each and every day. Characters bloom, plots thicken, tension tightens. I’m not sure whether the weekend workshops will continue after 2006 but Maass does plan to continue the intensives. So if you’re looking for a new writing experience or if you think you’re stuck on a plateau and can’t get off, consider plunging into one of the intensives and seeing the new vigor that not only permeates your writing but your soul.

As for me you’ll find me in a wheelchair at the airport Saturday preparing to board a plane for Asheville where I’ll spend the next ten days re-entering the fictive world of my crime novel, experiencing a huge jolt of writing electricity Maass-style, and laying in bed tapping the keyboard and icing my knee every afternoon and evening while my characters grow large and I struggle to keep up with an ever-increasingly layered plot.

But don’t worry. I won’t forget you. I plan to share some of the daily nuggets mined every morning right here on DWP.

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