Friday, September 08, 2006

Final Lesson - Follow-up Checklist

Hey, hey...It's Friday...Yehaw! Can't tell that I'm happy, can ya! Well in addition to this being the last workday of the week, this is also the last lesson in the book!

Today we're ending Donald Maass' Writing a Breakout Novel. This is a fabulous book and I encourage each of you to buy it, if only for the reference book value. My pages are dog-eared!

This is a checklist of the Follow-up work taken from each exercise in the book. If you truly wish to write a breakout novel, do each piece of work ad check it off the list only when you have incorporated the results into your manuscript. There are 591 steps! The investment of time to complete this is huge...But then your ambition is huge too!

On the left will be the follow-up, after it will be the number of tasks.

Demonstrate heroic qualities..................6
Create extra character dimensions.............3
Make goals mutually exclusive.................1
Create larger-than-life moments..............12
Heighten speech, action, or exposition.......24
Reverse motives in additional scenes...........6
Add the opposite of ultimate commitment.......1
Deepen passages of exposition.................4
Develop a additional secondary character......5
Develop a secondary antagonist................5
Combine two more roles........................1
Incorporate higher stakes into the story......4
Incorporate damage from complications.........3
Develop 4 steps/scenes for two layers.........8
Add nodes of conjunction to the story.........6
Add subplots, even to first-person novel......3
Heighten turning points within scene.........20
Delineate extra turning points................6
Incorporate high moments......................5
Add bridging conflict.........................4
Cut "tea" (inactive or review) scenes.........1
Move backstory back in the manuscript.........1
Add tension to each page...........350 (approx)
Change your first line........................1
Change the last line..........................1
Freeze moments in time........................4
Delineate antagonist's changing view of hero..3
Delineate changing view of a place............2
Strengthen point of view.....................30
Delineate character traits...................48
Create impossible good outcome................1
Develop a secondary theme.....................4
Incorporate related problems..................2
Give someone the opposite problem.............1
Make the antagonist right.....................1
Add the opposite symbol.......................1
Reverse stockpiled story ideas................1
Shorten your pitch............................1

TOTAL TASKS..................591

And after all that hard work....a joke to carry you over the weekend! *snort*


A first-grade teacher, Ms. Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students. The teacher asked, "Harry, what's your problem?"

Harry answered, "I'm too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I'm smarter than she is. I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!"

Ms. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal's office.

While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and he agreed to take the test.

Principal: "What is 3 x 3?"

Harry: "9."

Principal: "What is 6 x 6?"

Harry: "36."

And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.

The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her, "I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade."

Ms. Brooks says to the principal, "Let me ask him some questions."

The principal and Harry both agreed.

Ms. Brooks asks, "What does a cow have four of that I have only two of?"

Harry, after a moment: "Legs."

Ms. Brooks: "What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?"

The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!

Harry replied: "Pockets."

Ms. Brooks: "What does a dog do that a man steps into?"

Harry: "Pants."

Ms. Brooks: What starts with a C, ends with a T, is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?"

Harry: "Coconut."

The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.

Ms. Brooks: "What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?"

The principal's eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer, Harry replied, "Bubble gum."

Ms. Brooks: "What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?"

Harry: "Shake hands."

The principal was trembling.

Ms. Brooks: "What word starts with an 'F' and ends in 'K' that means a lot of heat and excitement?"

Harry: "Firetruck."

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the teacher, "Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions wrong......

9 Comments:

  1. Bernita said...
    ~laughing myself sick~
    Oh yes... Thank you very much for these Maass lessons, Bonnie!
    Dennie McDonald said...
    TOTAL TASKS...........591

    holy smokes, I am WAY behind...

    and OMGoodness - LOL on the joke!
    Steve G said...
    There are a lot of Harrys out there. And, what a cow how four of and his teacher has two of was wrong. 'Nough said.
    Gordon Cloud said...
    ROFL, Bonnie, what in the world are we going to do with you?

    BTW, I like the new look.
    The Curmudgeon's Rant said...
    Har har.

    Hey, this has been the best series on writing in the whole blogosphere. Thanks Bonnie!
    M. C. Pearson said...
    Oh man. Bonnie that was BAD! Bad, bad, Bonnie! SLAP!

    Yeah, Curm is right...awesome series.

    BAD JOKE THOUGH!!!

    (I'm secretly laughing.)
    Bonnie Calhoun said...
    I can truthfully say, I have been more blessed by this than the first time I read it....I was ready to learn all this on this time around!
    Live, Love, Laugh said...
    OH MY WORD! Bonnie do you ever stop? You are crazy!
    jel said...
    shock!

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