MARCH 20 - 26, 2017

* * SOLD OUT * *



For sixteen years, Donald Maass and Free Expressions Seminars
have partnered in offering one of the industry's most acclaimed writing workshops.


Included are new or revised units on story discovery, strong voice, standout characters, the inner journey, compelling story worlds, beautiful writing, creating resonance and finding meaning in both story and process. 

Breakout fundamentals are also covered: strong characters, inner conflict, personal stakes, plot layers, powerful scenes, micro-tension, practical theme techniques and much more.

Writers of commercial fiction who wish to soar out of category, as well as literary novelists who want to learn how to make powerful story principles work for them, will find the Breakout Novel Intensive 2.0 an idea-packed and career enriching experience.

This workshop is as ideal for those just beginning a new project as it is for those embarking on a revision of a completed work. While writers at all level of craft are welcome, we assume a basic understanding of fiction craft.

“Expect to work harder than you have ever worked but to come away with a novel that is bigger and more powerful than you ever imagined you could write.”

- Donald Maass  







Further staff, TBA

  • If you are serious about your writing, sign up for the next one now. It is a week where you will discover more about your manuscript and your writing than you would otherwise learn all year. You will come out of this armed with specific techniques to make your novel better, and maybe some new supportive friendships to help you on your road to becoming a published author. I think the BONIs are nothing short of brilliant.
    — Lissa Price, author STARTERS
  • You have a choice in how you approach your career: you can spend money going to writers' conferences for years and have fun but not gain any true benefit for your craft, or you can invest in a week at BONI where Lorin and Don will unearth, believe me—excavate—the best writer in you. You and your writing, as well as your perception of yourself as a writer, will be forever changed. Oh, and yes, you will have fun there, too.
    — Shirley Barker, represented by Donald Maass Literary Agency
  • In one week, I learned more than I ever had in the two years it took to earn my MFA, and at a fraction of the cost. The entire staff taught me to break through the ceiling of my own fear to understand that I could--that I must--write that which was most outrageous and passionate and bigger than me.
    — Julia Greco
  • I had difficulty sleeping the entire time I was there because my brain had been lit on fire. The staff and faculty provided new insights as to how to bring my storytelling up a notch, but just as incredible were the exchanges with my fellow BONI attendees. Years later, we are still a support group for each other.
    — Linda C. McCabe, author QUEST OF THE WARRIOR MAID
  • Yes, we worked our tails off, but it’s not all work. The other writers were universally kind and supportive, and I met a number of people whom I now count as friends and who became part of my critique group. I enthusiastically recommend the BONI experience to writers of every skill level.
    — Sharon Roest
  • I'd read books, I'd been to conferences and other workshops, but I knew I was still missing something in my writing. The Breakout Novel intensive answered my question and more. I've been three times, and every time I attend, I learn something new and grow further in my writing ability. When I get published, I know this workshop, and Don, Lorin and the rest of the staff will have played a major role in my achievement.
    — Nancy Laughlin
  • Donald Maass knows what a novel needs to succeed, and he knows how to teach it. At BONI, I learned the skills I needed to transform my manuscript from "almost ready" to "sold!" Without Mr. Maass and Lorin, I would not have a book in my hand today.
    — Christina Miller, author COUNTERFEIT COURTSHIP, Love Inspired Historical (Harlequin)


  • Morning classes with Donald Maass, geared toward building students' specific projects using concepts covered in his popular, Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing 21st Century Fiction.
  • A private thirty-minute consultation with Donald Maass, who reads fifty pages of each student's manuscript and other supporting material.
  • Private consultations with editors/authors Lorin Oberweger, Brenda Windberg and other industry pros.
  • Customized instruction geared toward students' specific writing needs and questions.
  • A special session on micro-tension and other evening offerings.
  • A custom USB drive with articles on craft, bonus exercises, and more!
  • Graduates are qualified to attend the *exclusive* BONI Learning Retreat.
  • ALL room and board is covered from workshop start to finish--private room and bath with three delicious meals a day.

In order to ensure an intimate and productive environment for our students, enrollment is strictly limited to forty writers. Participation is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so please register early.



The March Breakout Novel Intensive (BONI) is being held at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Hood River Inn in Hood River, Oregon. The hotel is located on the Columbia River shoreline, offering lodging with scenic river views, water access, and a private beach.

Convenient to nearby attractions and recreation in the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood area, the Hood River Inn is an easy one-hour drive from Portland along scenic Interstate-84. 

Shuttles and rental cars are available from the Portland International Airport. 

1108 East Marina Way
Hood River, OR 97031
(541) 386-2200


The September BONI is being held in Tampa, Florida at the Double Tree Suites. The hotel is located on the waterfront of Tampa Bay with access to the nearby city. 

Complimentary shuttles are available  to the hotel from the Tampa International Airport. 

3050 N. Rocky Point Dr. West
Tampa, Florida, 33607-5800, USA
(813) 888-8800


New Student Registration Cost: $2395
Returning Student Registration Cost: $2295

Workshop cost includes private room and bath, all meals (from dinner on Monday-breakfast on Sunday for a total of six breakfasts, five lunches, six dinners), plus workshop materials. (Accommodations for special dietary needs are available. Instructions for requests will be sent after registration.)

Payment plans may be available. Contact for details. 

* * * IMPORTANT * * * 

HOOD RIVER ONLY: Beginning in 2017, rooms with a view of the Columbia River will have an additional charge. The venue has increased their cost to guarantee these rooms and we, unfortunately, have to pass some of that expense along to students. If you would like a room with a river view, it will be an additional $200. You can add that additional option on the registration page. 

The Breakout Novel Intensive has a limited number of seats and sells out quickly. 

Don't be disappointed, register today!


After registration, email will be sent to to all students including instructions for submissions (synopsis, manuscript pages) to be reviewed by Don and staff prior to the workshop. There will also be additional information on one-on-one schedules, private meetings, and venue information. 

Many students find reading Don’s book, Writing the Breakout Novel, prior to the workshop helpful to familiarize themselves with the concepts and for greater retention and application.

For more information, please call 813–391–8980 or write to Lorin Oberweger, Program Director at

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