Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Elements of AWE

Found a fantastic article at Backspace (link). It's penned by literary agent Donald Maass, entitled "The Elements of Awe." It discusses fiction and how to capture your audience. Fascinating!

Part I -- takes a different slant on the "show, don't tell" concept, and talks about the phenomenon of word-of-mouth. Very thought-provoking.

Part II -- discusses what makes a novel so powerful, makes the reader unable to put down the book - it's the "awe" factor. He's made me look at characterization from an entirely different approach. Here's my favorite excerpt, wow:

Answer the following questions and apply the answers in your current manuscript:

*What happens in your story that makes your protagonist the most angry? Anticipate that anger three times in the story before the big event.

*What does your protagonist believe beyond all else? Create a story event that forces him or her to accept the opposite.

*What does your hero or heroine see about people that no one else does? Find three times when he or she will notice that thing at work.

*Why does your protagonist’s life matter? At the moment when that’s most true, allow your protagonist to humbly grasp their importance to someone else or to the great scheme of things.

I hope this has helped you as much as it's helped me. This is what I was talking about the other day, being a perpetual learner. I "thought" I knew all there was to know about show-don't-tell, and about how to make readers connect to characters. But I was wrong. This article has taken things I thought I knew and turned them on their head. Love it when that happens!!


  1. Wonderful articles! Thanks for the links.

  2. Thanks for the information! Very informative!

  3. Thanks for sharing this....always good to learn more and keeping open to new ways of making one's writing relevant.