How to Write Emotional Craft of Fiction

The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface by Donald Maass

In The Emotional Craft of Fiction, Donald Maass teaches how to "engage your readers with emotion." Do not most readers seek a deep emotional connection with a book? Perhaps, more than anything else, whether a reader connects with a book depends on how well the author applies the various layers of emotion.

The book covers several topics including:

  •  beyond showing versus telling
  • cascading change
  • connecting the inner and outer journeys
  • emotional modes of writing
  •  invoking higher emotions, symbols, and emotional language
  • moral stakes
  • plot as emotional opportunities
  • positive spirit and magnanimous writing
  • story as emotional mirror
  • the hidden current that makes stories move
  • your story's emotional world


The Emotional Craft of Fiction has helped thousands of authors, including myself, to take our writing to the next level. All writers want readers to feel the emotions we feel about our stories. Donald Maass helps writers make readers feel the full range of emotions we strive. 

The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass

Lesser writing instructors than the twelve chosen for this series tell us: "Show Don't Tell." They direct the order with a fanatical religious zeal. But, they fail in most cases to teach anybody how to show, much less to recognize exceptions where telling is the better option.

Donald Maass goes beyond such babbling instruction, and instead teaches us how to dive deeper into our characters. By exercising the tricks Mass teaches, we develop better characters and stories. The deeper, richer layers allow us to connect better with a wider range of readers.

While writers might disagree over showing versus telling or plotting versus pantsing, none would argue this: If you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader's experience must be an emotional journey of its own, one as involving as your characters' struggles, discoveries, and triumphs are for you. --Donald Maass

The Emotional Craft of Fiction will help you write stories that make your readers experience, rather than just read your books, screenplays, or short stories. 

Two Thumbs Up!

  • Establish an emotional connection to your readers.
  • Learn a college-level course in a book.
  • Master writing beyond showing and telling.
  • Learn the hidden story underneath that drives any worthy read.


The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass earns a spot among the 12 writing books every author should master. 

Do yourself a favor and add this book to your writer’s toolbox!

Jerry Beller

Jerry Beller is the lead author and researcher at Beller Health Research Institute, and the founder of the Author Alliance. 

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