Sorry about that title. I have Jonathan, Ade, Kupono, Vitolio, etc. on my mind and I know you don’t blame me.

At first glance, this post has nothing to do with lithe, athletic dancers and in fact is about something at the opposite end of the spectrum–dumpy, sedentary, supremely klutzy writers. Yet it’s shocking how much we have in common.

(Plus I just stuck that in to get more traffic on the blog. My bad.)

painting by Degas

painting by Degas

Here’s an excerpt from your next purchase. Oh, did I neglect to tell you this post is about making you buy a book that will set a torch to your sleeping little brain? (My bad, again.) I happened to be reading The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass the other night while watching “So You Think You Can Dance.” A really compelling dance tells a story, and it’s all about detail and tension. You can’t look away because you have to know what’s coming next. An excerpt:

Holding a reader’s attention every word of the way is a function not of the type of novel you’re writing, a good premise, tight writing, quick pace, showing not telling or any of the other conventionally understood and frequently taught principles of storytelling.

Keeping readers constantly in your grip comes from the steady application of something else altogether: Micro-tension. That is the tension that constantly keeps your reader wondering what will happen-not in the story, but in the next few seconds.

Yes, I think you should buy this book. I’m a writing-craft-book junkie but like most authors, I only have a few favorites. Donald Maass has written several of my favorites. He understands the way fiction works, and the way a writer thinks.

get fired up

get fired up

I don’t usually recommend books on writing craft to readers. That’s kind of like telling sausage eaters to watch sausage being made. But like Stephen King’s On Writing, this one is interesting to anyone who loves fiction. It’ll have you heading to the library to check out some of the many fine works cited as examples. I think you’ll like this one.

What are some of your favorite books on writing?