Author Archive | Sarah

John Truby’s Theory of Opponents

If conflict is what drives our stories, it would seem to follow that antagonists are a writer’s best tools to create that conflict and propel the story along. And yet tons of people, myself included, really struggle with writing antagonists that feel believable and interesting, who aren’t just mustache-twirling villains who are evil for the sake of being evil. Julie D. mentioned John Truby’s ANATOMY OF STORY in her post the other day, and by chance, […]

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Writing from a young perspective

One of the most common and simple reasons that I end up passing on submissions is that while the writer may pitch their project as YA or MG, the voice and/or perspective in the sample pages feels very grown-up. There’s a time and a place for books that are primarily intended to teach or send a message, where it’s okay to speak to young readers from an adult perspective. But instead, today, I want to […]

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Know thyself, and hit your deadlines

So, deadlines. I can almost hear ominous music in my head as I type that word. They are a constant fact of life for the professional writer. They are crucial to keep everything running on schedule. And, to tell the truth, they suck. Writing a book isn’t like the due dates for homework and school projects that we grew up with, or the quick turnarounds for various tasks often required at our jobs. It isn’t […]

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Why book events are awesome (and some tips for pulling them off)!

Generally speaking, I’m a very introverted person. I don’t love parties. Meeting new people can be more stressful than fun. My ideal weekend consists of me, my couch, some snacks, and a great book or manuscript. So all through the pre-publication process, leading up to EVERLESS’s release, I was sure of one thing: events were going to be a challenge. Faced with talking about my book to actual readers, I’d surely freeze up or shut […]

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Your Characters Should Want Things

A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of hearing Naomi Novik, author of UPROOTED and SPINNING SILVER, speak about fantasy and folklore at a local bookstore. She likened fairy tales to desire lines: those eroded paths in grass or woodland that form when many people seek out the same things—a shortcut, a nice view, a way around an obstacle. They can endure for centuries. Fairy tale characters are full of desires: they want […]

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