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Why I’m Reading The Fire in Fiction

by on March 6, 2015

Recently, I attended a romance writer’s meeting. Since there were only eight people in attendance besides myself, the business portion of the meeting went very quickly. We found ourselves with thirty minutes before the guest speaker arrived.

So what did we do? We talked about books, writing, and books about writing. And someone said they were reading Donald Maass’ The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great.

authoressSome of us, including me, hadn’t heard of it and wanted to know the focus. “Micro-Tension”, said the reader. “You know making the mundane seem like it is the most amazing thing ever so that the reader reads the next sentence or paragraph.”

My ears perked up at that. I’ve skipped ahead in books and I’m talking about the ones that I adore. I’ve done it with books by my favorite authors like Stephen King, Toni Morrison and Anne Rice. Doesn’t take away from my enjoyment, but what if there was a way to stop that from happening?

We started the process in the meeting and I’m enjoying reading the results from the other members. Our first step was to take a real life everyday kind of event that for us was filled with tension but on the outside seemed like a normal occurrence.

This is mine:

The GM of the hotel where I worked phoned my desk and asked that I come to his office. He stated very plainly that I was to bring a pen and a pad with me and to ask a particular supervisor to accompany me to his office.

Normal, right? Not exciting. Why would you want to read about that?

Our next step is the explanation of why this is really exciting.

This is mine:

At the time, I was the acting Human Resources Manager for a hotel in New Orleans. I was only three years out of college. I was unsure of myself and my abilities. I never spoke with the General Manager except to answer his questions about recruitment activities, employee relation events, and terminations.  I was scared to death because I just knew I was going into the beginning of an investigation that would lead to the termination of someone whom I considered a friend.

That’s a lot more interesting, but it’s telling. So how do you put the two items together? Micro-Tension.

I’m excited about reading the book because there’s not a lot of action in my work. I think it’s because there isn’t a lot of action in my life. I drive here, shop here, work here, sleep here, etc., etc….but that doesn’t mean that it’s boring…my life or my work.

Still a little micro-tension may cure that appearance. I’m willing to give it a try.

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One Comment
  1. He has a site with great tips also.

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