Xaenyth: Yes, I would agree with Jean. Buy the Workbook first.
a) It’s A LOT easier to read. The book is physically bigger, and there’s lots of white space for exercises.
b) there are more exercises in the Workbook. The regular book talks more about the examples, and there’s some new information in either book, but I think first off the Workbook would be your best bet. You can always buy the regular book later used, like I did. I wouldn’t recommend buying the Workbook used because the person may have wrote in it.
c) I just find it easier in general to use, because it’s easier to flip to a page and type up the exercise and then fill it in for the current book I am working on.
I should mention that Maass also has a book called The Breakout Novelist. It’s a spiral notebook type dealio. It combines some of the lessons in the Workbook, some of the lessons in Maass’s other book The Fire in Fiction, and career advice he has in The Career Novelist and other assorted articles. It’s all sorted under topics like “Mastering the Breakout Basics”.
I would say get the Workbook first, Fire in Fiction next if you use the Workbook a lot (which I think you will) and then if you still love them both, get the Breakout Novelist. It’s a good tool for synthesizing all of Maass’s stuff in one place (which is what the book is supposed to do)
Sorry about the long post. I just didn’t want you to be confused when you went to Amazon/the bookstore/Writer’s Digest. 😀