Got Fire?

I recently won The Fire In Fiction: Passion, Purpose, and Techniques To Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maass on Novel Journey. I am not rushing through this book, but am trying to savor and soak in all he has to teach. I thought I’d share with you some of the things I am learning as I read through this amazing book. You definitely need to get this book. It will be a great tool in your writing arsenal.

In the Introduction, Maass speaks of the myth that writing is magic. Not so, says he! Too often multi-published authors will sometimes spit out a not-so-fantastic novel. Do they get in a rut? Do they lose their muse? Or do they lose their passion?

Maass offers the point that passion can be harnessed and used as a tool. Passion happens when an author makes every word come alive and add spark each and every page. It can be learned.

Mass boils down the problem to the basic reason why some authors lose that fire, that passion. From his experience, he sees two types of authors. There are the Status Seekers and the Storytellers. Hard to distinguish at first, the types emerge as the journey progresses.

Status Seekers want to be published. Storytellers do too, but a Status Seeker will not devote all his energies in making the best book possible. He will do all he can to figure out how to get published; how he can do this or that to make it acceptable, how to find the right formula for success, etc.

Storytellers want to spin the best story possible. While they might not like the waiting that comes with submissions, they persistently push forward to become the best writer they can be. Sure, they may want the process to be faster, but they focus on their writing. My favorite line in this intro is this:

“Storytellers look not to publishers to make them successful, but
to themselves.”

Storytellers want each and very one of their books to be better than the one before. The are constantly looking to make the great story.

It made me wonder what I am? I think maybe a little of both at this point. What about you?

14 responses to “Got Fire?”

  1. I just received my copy of <>The Fire in Fiction<>. Looks like it’s a must-read that I need to move to the top of my stack.

    I look forward to reading your posts, Sherrinda, as you savor each chapter.


  2. I think I can say I’m a Storyteller. I’m fine with not being published. I just want to be a better writer with each new book.

    Thank you for sharing this. It’ll save me some time at the moment, as I don’t have the book nor the time to sit down and savor it. So thank you!


  3. Keli: You will really enjoy the book! He uses many excerpts from best-sellers to show what he is teaching. It is very helpful!

    Lady Glamis: I don’t believe I have ever hear someone say they are okay with not being published. I hope I get to a place where I am okay with spinning my stories, not matter what happens. You must definitely be a Storyteller!


  4. Oooo!! I was so jealous of you when you won that book (in a very Christianly way, of course). I will most likely purchase it! Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading more posts!


  5. Hi Sherrinda,
    Just finished reading through your chapters! You are spinning a great story! I’ve heard about Maass’s new book and I am really curious about it! You’ll have to keep us posted on it!

    I think I’m still a Story Teller. I want to craft the best possible story. I truly do want each of my books to better than the others. Of course I want to get published; most of us hope and pray for it. But I think when it becomes our consuming goal and takes over the love of writing, then we turn into Status Seekers.


  6. Sherinda – how do you get your blog to look like that? I click o the cutest blogs on the block logo – and it brings me to the website. But whenever I click on free layouts, it brings me to webfetti – and they are just a bunch of myspace layouts! I’ve tried this before and I just can’t get it to work. If you could share your wisdom with me (as in step-by-step) – that would be awesome. I couldn’t find your email… mine is


  7. Great question Sherrinda! I’ve heard of this book and wondered that about myself. I want to write something marketable because I’d like to make money doing this.
    But I also feel passionate about my writing. Maybe I’m both, like you?
    I cringe to even think I might be a status-seeker. What a negative connotation. šŸ˜¦
    Thanks for sharing all this good info!


  8. Sherrinda:
    Thanks for sharing this. Would I benefit from it, even though I am a non-fiction writer?

    I read a wonderful comment recently, spoken by a fellow-writer’s elderly mentor:
    “Always do two things when you write: pray, and love your readers.”

    I have tried to practice this advice, but get side-tracked at times, since ‘everyone’ pushes us to seek status. I think I must be a little of both, but I strive to write for God and my readers.

    Great post! Give us more!


  9. Thank you for the magnificent post. I'll be passing by Barnes & Nobles later tonight…and I'm stopping by to grab a copy. Looks fabulous. šŸ™‚

    And I too must admit that I think I am a Storyteller. I am concentrated on the process of writing and the energy and adrenaline that comes with it, versus the publishing. Perhaps someday? If not, oh well!

    I look forward to reading your future posts.



  10. Katie: I figured I would likely make others jealous…I would have been too! I still can't believe I won it! It is good, with lots of examples, which helps me tremendously.

    Jody: I think you are totally right in that assessment! When the promotion takes over the writing, then you've got a problem.

    I'm glad you like my story. It's not well written (yet), but I love the storyline! šŸ˜‰

    Katie: I will shoot you an email about the blog. We'll get you a blog to match that cute photo of you!!! Didn't someone on the Seeker blog say something about you being so cute? šŸ˜‰

    Jessica: I think we ALL want to make money at some point on this journey. Isn't a dream job making money doig what you love? We love writing…and want to write the best possible story. For me, I hope I don't get impatient on the journey and become the Status Seeker! Let me hone the craft first!

    Jeanette: What a lovely quote! Absolutely we should pray and love our readers. Doing that should help keep our focus where it needs to be. I don't know if this book would be a help to you as a non-fiction writer. It is filled with examples of fiction writing and is really geared to fiction writing. šŸ˜¦

    Weronika: B&N is one of my favorite places in the world! LOVE the smell of books! You will enjoy the book and get alot out of it, I'm sure. Starting your journey so young will be such a help to you. I feel OLD starting this late in the game. What is it they say? Something about teaching an old dog new tricks??? lol…I'm trying anyway! woohoo!


  11. I’ve heard a lot of buz about this book, but it’s still not available on Canada’s How did they get it before the release date. Bummer.

    Publishing does really scare me, so I guess I am more a storyteller type writer. Always trying to figure out how to improve my work. But I know enough to start thinking of what is required to get published long in advance of having perfected a story. That takes time, too. Just in case, publication is on the distant horizon for me.


  12. Ho Sherrinda,

    I always ask how it feel like to be a pastor’s wife? It seems to be very interesting to me. I look up to pastors.


  13. Eileen, you’re scared of publication too? The whole process is so intimidating to me, but I’m not worried yet. I have a long way to go before I have to deal with it.

    Hannah, hhmmmm…what is it like to be a pastor’s wife? I honestly don’t know how to answer that. I don’t suppose it is a whole lot different than any other Jesus lover. I think I put on alot of expectations upon myself that maybe others would not. (gotta be there every time the doors are open, gotta entertain all the time, gotta make sure my kids are making me look good…lol…not really! just kidding there on the last one) So really, I don’t know how to describe it. There is so much blessing in it, for sure!


  14. Hi Sherrinda,

    Thanks for dropping by my site and leaving a comment as well. I can obviously how blessed you are..look at that smile, you look so happy and at peace:-)


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