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« How Writers Learn to be Story Masters by James Scott Bell | Main | Celebration Day: Creating a Writing Business Plan »
Monday
Aug152011

How to Be a Story Master by Literary Agent Donald Maass

From Diane, Evil Genius of Pitch U: Mwahahaha!  (This entire week is brought to you by my maniacal delight in all things Awesome.  Plus I'm going to this workshop.  More below.)

The Workshop to End All Workshops

by Donald Maass, Founder Donald Maass Literary Agency 

I have for some years been dreaming of bringing together top teachers of story for a workshop to end all workshops.  I’m thrilled that Chris Vogler and Jim Bell said yes. 

What’s exciting is that participants will get three mind-blowing days of story development (plus a 4th day of us together), each different, all empowering. I’ll be sitting in and avidly participating as Chris and Jim teach, I can tell you.

Story Masters Cropped

21st Century Fiction and The Story Master

My own day of teaching will be all new, based on my upcoming book Writing 21st Century Fiction. 

Using scores of story development prompts, I’ll be pushing participants to create detailed inner and outer journeys for their characters, with many enhancements.  Character arc by itself becomes vastly more absorbing and emotional when it’s broken down as I plan to do.  Plot twists, turns and surprises become not just serendipity, but techniques you can use whenever you like.

I have a pretty big collection of letters and e-mail from writers who’ve told me that my books and workshops got them published, broke them out, led to award nominations and more. I’m proud of that.

Two Teaching Strategies for Success

  • First, I don’t teach theory but rather practical techniques that novelists use immediately on their work-in-progress. 
  • Second, I push authors deeper, deeper, deeper into their characters, stories and intentions (themes). 

Story Masters participants should bring a work-in-progress, writing materials and lots of energy.  I look forward to mingling and talking, too.  Should be plenty of opportunities for that, provided anyone’s got any brain power left at the end of each day.

We’re discussing handouts now.  I may put together a selection of my story and character prompts—but they’ll be handed out only after folks have already used them!  There’s nothing like a handout to make you feel like you’ve learned something when, actually, it’s useless until you apply it and make it part of your daily practice.

And take advantage of the optional editorial appointments with various Freelance, Story-Development editors.  You should always  take advantage of an opportunity to get feedback from industry pros.  I say that even though I know that no one will come away from this workshop with a manuscript they still regard as “finished”

Diane:  You can also learn from Don at his next week-long, Breakout Novel Intensive in Louisville, KY, September 19 – 25, 2011.

Don’s Current Craft-of-Writing Books

The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction WritersWriting the Breakout NovelWriting the Breakout Novel Workbook

From Diane, Pitch U Chief Alchemist (and evil genius):

Back in June, when I was wallowing (let’s face it, wallowing isn’t pretty) because all my friends were either at ThrillerFest nor RWA’s national conference (and I was not, which was the point), I found the ultimate consolation.

With a SQUEE OF DELIGHT I announced I’d be heading to the brand-y new Story Masters Conference in November 3 – 6, 2011. Donald Maass. Christopher Vogler. James Scott Bell. In one place. (Squee.)

But you need to understand why I’m excited. They teach advanced craft-of-writing, and there aren’t many teachers who do that. Most books, most workshops, they’re pretty basic. Maybe intermediate. But few are advanced.

This week, I bring you all 3 kick-ass, advanced teachers (Maass, Vogler, Bell legends in my bookshelf), plus some of the freelance editors who will also be present in Houston, this November.

(and pssst. You’re invited.)

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