Looking for a great gift for the novelist on your Christmas list? Check out Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass.
I'd read Maass' book, Writing the Breakout Novel, and while it was packed with a wealth of information for writers, I couldn't "apply" the concepts to my own writing. But then someone suggested I get the workbook. I was skeptical--after all, if I'd read the novel and couldn't put it to use, what would a workbook on the novel do for me? But, respecting the author who'd made the suggestion, and knowing the book had presented great information, I got the workbook. I wasn't disappointed.
I was easily able to take the exercises Maass provides in the workbook and apply it instantly to my own writing. These exercises, with detailed instructions on how and why to do so, helped me go deeper into my characters and story, assisting me in producing a much better concept, which improved my story.
This is definitely a must-read for writers across all levels--beginning, intermediate, multi-published....the information and presentation can change their writing.