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Writing Advice from the Bookshelf: Donald Maass on Tension on Every Page

Friday, July 31, 2015

Excerpt from “Low Tension Part III: Tension on Every Page” in Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed by Donald Maass:

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

How interesting is it to hear two people passing the time of day? Usually, not very. Why is it, then, that so much dialogue in manuscripts is of the how-are-you-would-you-like-a-cup-of-coffee variety? Mere talk does not keep us glued to the page. Disagreement does. Friction in dialogue arrests our attention. It begs the unspoken question: Will these people be able to resolve their differences? We slow down and read the next line to find out.

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Works Cited:

Maass, Donald. Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2004. 148. Print.

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