Ideas Versus Written-Down Stories

On March 16, 2021, Brambles and Bees wrote, I’m having a bit of a crisis. I have been trying to write a book, but I always end up disliking the idea and then give up. Or I actually do like it, but I have a hard time with writing it. I think it might be a problem with me not planning out my writing carefully, but I have never really liked planning anything out. I also don’t like a lot of the characters I create because I always have this perfect image in my head, but I can never get the character to fit into that mold. So how do you actually write out your characters? And how do you create enjoyable plots and storylines?

Two of you answered.

Fantasywriter6: One thing I’ve learned is to save what you write. Sometimes I’ll scroll through my Google Docs and find an old story that I started but gave up on, and I’ll find a totally new perspective on it or find that the words flow a lot better. Also, don’t pressure yourself to write a Full Length Book…the idea’s pretty intimidating and makes me feel like I need to get it right the first time, but who does? Just write because you love to write! Also, have conversations with people you trust about your specific plot lines or characters and see if they can help you form words. My guess is that you have great ideas (we are our own worst critic) but have a hard time putting pen to paper and being satisfied with what comes out. Just, again, remember that nothing comes out perfect- and very few things come out great- the first time!

FantasyFan101: I have that problem too. I hated a lot of my characters, but Gail’s character questionnaire saved me. It’s a bunch of questions about your characters that you fill in. You can modify the questions depending on the world you create and a bunch of other things. It really helped me for my current WIP. I knew from previous stories that my characters were usually just creatures with a name and appearance. They had no special traits and way of speaking, or even standing. The questionnaire was a life saver. As for creating enjoyable plots and storylines, I did like you, just went where the story took me. But I’ve realized, I like to write Sneak Peeks. They help me get the gist of where I want to go, and how I want to do it. You can plan the beginning threads of future scenes, before weaving them into the actual masterpiece.

I’m with Fantasywriter6 that pressure isn’t helpful, is actually the enemy. And, FantasyFan101, I love the Sneak Peaks idea, which seems fun and freeing.

And I’m happy that you’re both into fantasy!

Dreaming up a story idea is exhilarating. Writing it down is humbling. Ideas and written-down stories are no more than distant cousins, so we can’t expect the first to morph easily into the second. When we’re in the castles-in-the-air stage, we see walls and towers made of glistening stone and pennants waving in a gentle breeze against a bright blue sky. We don’t think about rats and mice and itchy vermin, and winter drafts and plumbing. When we start writing, though, we have to contend with those things, which will make our setting real.

I’m not much of a planner either, though lately I’ve been writing a super-short outline before I start, and I have to know the end I’m aiming for. But the end may change if my story can no longer accommodate it, and I tend to forget about the outline.

Plot and character aren’t distant cousins, they are BFFs. They do everything together, go nowhere without the other. They talk and plan and grow and change in tandem.

If I’m even the tiniest bit uncertain while I’m writing a book, I toggle to my Ideas document to put down what may come next, and what may come next can be the tiniest thing, like what physical gesture a character can make during a conversation. For even that little thing I may make a list. I’m not a fast writer.

Let’s use that gesture question to see how plot and character work together. Imagine that our MC, high school sophomore Lisa, is paired with Sam, a classmate, to make a presentation on the use of animals in scientific experiments. They just have to research facts, but they discover that they’re on opposite sides of the issue. Sam says flatly, “You’re wrong, Lisa.” She replies, “You’re wrong, Sam.” We’re thinking about how she says her reply. If she accompanies her words with a shrug, their work probably continues, albeit frostily. If she thrusts her head to an inch from Sam’s and lets out a little spittle on the S, which wets his upper lip, things may escalate. Either one moves our plot along.

Both possibilities reveal character. Shrugging Lisa may have an easy temperament, or she may hate to argue, or she may have a crush on Sam. Spitting Lisa may anger easily, or she may feel so deeply about the subject that she wants to be sure she got her point across. She may or may not realize that spit was involved.

My character questionnaire is in my writing how-to book, Writing Magic. We can use it to help us decide how Lisa will react.

Planning isn’t necessary to make our plot evolve, but it is useful to have half an eye on where we want to go. Suppose for example that we want to start a little romance between these two. If that’s not the end of our story, at least it can be our next plot point.

If Sam backs away and rushes for a sink to wash off the saliva, we’ll know we have a steep hill to climb to get them to a kiss—and we can think about how to do it. If he laughs and says she reminds him of his sister (in a good way), we may worry that this is going to be too easy—and we can think about how to make trouble.

I tend to find my characters in their thoughts, feelings, action, and speech. And I tend to decide what those thought, etc., will be based on the direction I want my story to go in.

Here’s an early prompt: Take any character you’re working on with you today (or tomorrow if you’re about to go to sleep). Here’s how you might do it:

Later this afternoon, my friend Christa will come over with her dog Demi for a playdate with Reggie, as they’ve been doing a few times a week since both of them were just past puppyhood. Addie, my MC in The Two Princesses of Bamarre, would probably be afraid of lively Demi. She might even go into our house for safety. Her sister Meryl would be interested in only Demi and not in Christa or me. Meryl might imagine Demi to be a dragon in dog disguise. She’d also go into the house to persuade Addie to come back out. What would your characters do? If you had a friend over or visited a friend, how would they behave? What would they do, let loose in your house or town?

Our perfect characters have to have the equivalent of the castle mice and vermin—flaws—to be real, even to be lovable. We can ask ourselves—and make a list!—what makes this character perfect in our minds? We’re probably not going to be able to keep all these qualities, so what’s the perfection we care about most? In my backyard scene or in your activities for the day, how would this perfect characteristic express itself? Would your character intervene successfully in, say, an argument between Christa and me? Would she see the big glass fragment in our path and pick it up before one of the dogs stepped on it and got a deep cut? (This has happened. Every spring our backyard, which has been continuously inhabited for over two hundred years, sends up a harvest of glass. For a long time garbage disposal seems to have involved throwing things and leaving them where they landed.)

Let’s imagine it’s the glass because our heroic MC always has an eye out for danger. But in saving a dog, she fails to notice that Christa is weeping over something mean  that Gail just said, and she’s confused by the emotion. So she’s less than perfect about human interaction.

Or she can be so attuned to people’s feelings that a dog has lost a pint of blood before she notices.

Brambles and Bees is a tad hard on herself in her question. Many of us are when it comes to writing—or to any creative endeavor. We need to find havens in our writing method that don’t trigger self-criticism. This blog is one of those spots for me. Posts are short. Little is at stake, because if I don’t get an answer exactly right, the question is likely to resurface in a slightly altered way, and I’ll get another crack at it.

Poems are a haven too. Mine are often less than a page and almost never more than two. I expect to write more in the revising phase than in the creating stage, and I love to tinker.

We can give ourselves the refuge of writing short even in a long manuscript. My ideas document, which I create for each book, is that refuge. When I’m lost, I toggle over there to write about my confusion and to make lists or to revise a paragraph or even a sentence. Nothing is at stake there. No one will see the document. I can let loose with all my notions and not call any of them stupid. I even feel different when I’m doing this. My shoulders are looser, and my skull seems to crack open, allowing ideas of every sort to frolic.

Here are two prompts to go with the one above:

  • Your MC knows she needs to take everything less seriously. Her relationship with her best friend depends on it as does her own peace of mind in the face of teasing by her older brother and younger sister. How does she go about it? Write the story.
  • Your MC, a master at a particular game or sport (you decide which), is having a match against the sentient dragon who is holding her parents hostage. She knows that it will honor its promise to release them if it loses, and she knows three other things: It hates to lose so much that it is likely to burn her to a crisp if she wins; if it realizes she lost on purpose it is likely to burn her to a crisp; she hates to lose as much as the dragon does. Write the story.

Have fun and save what you write!

  1. I read a quote somewhere, and I wish I could remember the source or the whole thing, but it talks about how, when starting a project, there’s a gap between your skill level and the finished project in your mind. So if I’m drawing a picture, I have a clear image in my head of what it’s supposed to look like, but I don’t have the skill yet to make my drawing look like that. It happens in creative writing too–we’ve all read good books that wow us, but our skills might not be at that level yet. The solution, of course, is to keep practicing until you do have those skills. The quote also pointed out that the gap is a good thing–it means you have the background knowledge and the taste to know a good book when you see one.

  2. Katie W.
    I saw your comment on the last post about counting the the days till April 5. I am also counting the days till then because that is when the 5th – and final 🙁 – Aru Shah book is going to come out! (Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortalitiy) Has anyone other than me read those?

    And no spoilers. I haven’t read 3 or 4 yet.

  3. Do you have any suggestions on writing a fairy tale retelling? I’ve recently had an idea for a Beauty and the Beast retelling (which is cliche but whatever) and I really want to write it but I’m struggling on how exactly I could make it original. There are so many retellings out there and I don’t know how to make this one different and interesting enough to be worth reading. It probably doesn’t help that I have no confidence in my writing and am currently in a 3-month rut where I end up hating everything I write. I don’t know what to do to gain more confidence in my writing, and I just want to write a story worth reading. Thoughts, anyone?

    • Gail’s written several articles about originality and about fairytale retellings. I think this one in particular seems similar to your predicament:

      I find that some of the best stories come from combining more than one idea. Do you have something that you’d like to write in addition to a Beauty and the Beast story? I did this with my current fairytale retellings. I had an idea about a series where the fairytale main characters were all related to one another. I also had an idea of a fantasy retelling of the American Revolutionary War. I combined those two ideas for my first book in the series.

      If you want, here are some of the ideas I have for my retellings (technically they’re not original, because they’re mine, but I’m not that well known and I have no doubt that our usage would end up being different anyway, so feel free to use):

      Combining two fairytales: for example, if Aladdin’s genie and Cinderella’s fairy godmother were brother and sister–setting up each other with the “poor but good-hearted/beautiful person of their dreams”.

      Gender flip: My Beauty and the Beast has a boy as the “beauty” and the girl as a shapeshifting “beast”

      Switch genres or tropes: I write YA fantasy, so my retellings have shapeshifters and other elemental abilities that already exist in my fantasy world. I read a really fun romance (Man of Her Dreams by Jenny Rabe) that was a gender-flipped Sleeping Beauty retelling with only a hint of paranormal. My husband once wrote a play for a group of cub scouts that turned Goldilocks in to a horror story, and I did a nature-channel inspired retelling of the Three Little Pigs.

      Change the relationship: Switch siblings to cousins (which I’m doing for 12 Dancing Princesses). Switch master-servant to love interests (I’m doing this with Puss in Boots). How about making the villain and main character fall in love (Vivian Vande Velde has an excellent Rumpelstiltskin retelling with this one)?

      • You can look through Gail’s posts at her prompts. A lot of those have fairy tales involved.

        Also wanted to add that retelling lesser-known fairytales is another option. I loved Kate Stradling’s retelling of Goldemayne. Also on my list are Billy Begg’s Bull, The Seven Simons, The Colony of Cats, and the Tinderbox.

    • Gail Carson Levine says:

      I’ve suggested this before, but what helped me the most to stop being way too self-critical is the book WRITING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BRAIN by Henriette Anne Klauser. It’s hard to write anything at all when we dislike everything we come up with. I do NOT get a cut on sales of Klauser’s book–I just love it!

    • What are you passionate about? Is there a real-world problem you can explore through fantasy? I find that when I have what I call a ‘core idea’, a truth that drives the story, my story becomes something of its own. Even if it is similar to other people’s work, it is still my story because it’s driven by my passion.
      Your question reminds me of one I asked a while back. Gail wrote a post to answer it called Worth Reading. I recommend reading it.

    • My solution is to look for problems and motives. For instance, why did Beauty want a rose? (I assume you’re going with the original). Conventional reason: where she lives doesn’t grow roses, and she wants one. But how is that exciting? My reason would probably be that Beauty is an expert witch. She knows hundreds of potions, and a few spells, but she specializes in potions. Her sister, the only one who really likes her, is in love with a man, a nice man, but he feels that he is too cowardly or something like that to marry. Maybe they were in love before the fall of Beauty’s father’s fortune, and now marrying would cause a lot of social upheaval. So the sister asks Beauty for a potion to make both of them brave enough to marry each other, and the potion requires rose petals. Problem is, it’s winter. The sister’s lover has to leave in the spring to fight in a battle or something, so they’re on a time crunch. Then the father announces that he is going on a business trip. Beauty begs him to find a rose, preferably a rosebush but just one rose would be fine, hoping that there’s a florist somewhere in one of the towns he passes through.
      So that’s why she wants a rose. That could probably stretch through a couple chapters, with side events, secret meetings, Beauty worrying about her family’s fortune, and all that. Hopefully, it’s exciting enough for your reader to keep reading. It’s suspensful.
      And then why did the father steal a rose? When he found this castle, surely he could have asked for a rose. And what are the motives of the beast? What happened to his servants, his friends? Beauty and the Beast is ridden with exciting plot holes. So…. best of luck!
      (Also I am totally writing a story like this now)

    • I’ve found that it’s helpful to find a new viewpoint to look at the story with. Usually I start with a main question I have about the story, or something in the story that bothers me (like a character being treated wrongly without much explanation). For instance, in my Snow Queen retelling, my main question was what the Snow Queen’s motivation was. That led me to write a story told from her perspective, exploring her past and her reasons for having such a cold heart. Fairy tales are filled with plot holes and questions, so there’s plenty to choose from!

      I’m also working on an idea for a Beauty and the Beast retelling at the moment, and that idea started with several ideas. I knew I wanted to write a story about an enchanted forest, and I also had an idea about a magical rose. I combined those two ideas together, and then the rose made me think of Beauty and the Beast. Everything just sort of clicked then, and now I have a forest instead of a castle and a magical rose (going along with what Evelyn said, I’ve always wondered why she wanted a rose specifically). In addition, it’s a middle-grade story about friendship instead of romance, which further changes things up. Switching up roles is another good way to make it unique.

      Ultimately, though, I wouldn’t worry about originality too much. I’ve found that it’s pretty much impossible for any two people to write the exact same story. Our imaginations all work differently, and I’ve found that, for me at least, my stories tend to go down unexpected (but interesting!) paths and turn out nothing like I thought they would. That can be a bit scary, but in a lot of ways it’s a good thing – my ideas always have at least some level of originality in them. And, of course, there’s also always revision – you can always make something better and more original later on!

  4. I had the same problem with hating everything I wrote, until I started using the NaNoWriMo young novelist workbook. If you are in high, elementry, or middle school – I’m in 6th grade – you can sign up for an account. They have yearly writing events and contests. The workbook is a free, downloadable PDF, and the accounts are always free. If you’re older than 18, there is a program for adults. I don’t know what options that one has because I’ve never used it. Gail’s books Writing Magic and Writer to Writer also helped me a lot.
    As for the fairy tales, I’ve been wondering the same thing myself.

    Also, does anybody have any advice on writing fan fiction? I’ve been thinking about doing a Harry Potter – Percy Jackson crossover.

    • Miss Maddox says:

      Hmm, I don’t write fanfiction a lot, but I have written a few Keeper of the Lost Cities fanfictions. For me, fanfiction is a place to just goof off and have fun, so I don’t really worry about my writing there. I like to use it as a break from my more serious writing. So my tip would be to just have fun! But I think it kind of depends on the way you want to write fanfiction – I know a lot of people write more serious fanfiction, so my advice might not be that helpful! ?

      • Gail Carson Levine says:

        I wrote a post on imitation, which you may find helpful. I think imitation is great for experienced writers as well as those just starting out. It’s a nice stretch, and it’s fun!

  5. Oh! I actually just got into FanFic. However, I’m doing it for Wings of Fire. I like to create my own characters in that world, and then bring them to life with stories. Although, I’m not sure if I can be much help if you want to use characters from the books themselves, I recommend trying to write that character’s personality and everything else the way the book wrote it. And don’t make them do anything they wouldn’t normally do, or at least have a reason for any major decisions that might not make sense. Also, make a believable setting for them to meet up in. Other than that… Just have fun! I love Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, so this sounds really cool! Good luck 😉

  6. What do you do when your MC and their love interest are too similar? (To use Myers-Briggs, she’s an ISFJ, he’s an INFJ.) I want him to be able to draw her out of her shell, but neither of them are the type to be comfortable talking about their feelings. (He’s more comfortable, but he’s also trying not to scare her off.) I’ve given them both extroverted best friends who believe they’re perfect for each other, and I WANT them to be perfect for each other, but I can’t quite figure out how. I can write scene after scene of them enjoying each other’s company, but at some point, it has to go deeper than that.

    • I think anyone can make their relationships work. It might just take more effort.

      Especially for introverts, you might need some kind of external conflict that will force them to be uncomfortable. My now-husband brought up the subject of our relationship and we became an official couple after I went on a very awkward date with a coworker (I wasn’t officially dating my husband yet and didn’t want to say no to the coworker without a good reason). So, you might brainstorm a list of reasons why they would talk about their feelings, even if it’s uncomfortable (Especially if it’s uncomfortable! Comfortable characters are boring characters).

      If you’re interested in personality theory, you might want to try out the enneagram system. I find that MBTI is more focused on the present personality, while enneagram allows for more growth and change. INFJ’s most often line up with enneagram type 4, while ISFJ could be several, most commonly 1, 2, 6, or 9. My favorite enneagram website includes compatibility with other types–not only which type would be best, but the pros and cons for every possible relationship. I use it a lot when first forming characters:

      • I was thinking of him as a 1 and her as a 6. I actually did the enneagram first, but neither system seems to quite fit him. I guess I just want him to have a bit more emotional stability than either system would suggest. I like the basic personality outlines, but the closer I look, the worse they fit.

        • That’s how I feel about myself and those systems. I just don’t feel like any of the types is totally me. So if your character doesn’t fit perfectly, I say Congratulations! You made a realistic character.
          But I do agree that maybe it’s just not meant to be. Or maybe it can be later, but they both need to grow in themselves and become more confident first.

  7. Well, I do hate to say this, but maybe the characters themselves are telling you they aren’t right for each other. To be honest, I have had a problem kind of like this. Or, well, not a problem, just something I fixed before I realized it could have been a problem. I had two characters whom I had totally shipped, and I had even written a love seen for them. However, as the book progressed, I realized something. They just didn’t match! So I basically created a love triangle for them. I added a prince to the story, and in doing so, I majorly changed the plot, not only changing the geographical course of it, but also a lot of the emotional parts. Of course, this may not apply to you, and if it doesn’t, the best I can say is set up a scene where something might force them to admit their feelings. Somewhere where they might be in danger, or they might not get another chance, or their just feeling really close. It’s like real love. If you don’t take that one big step, the stairs will fall away and leave you both rolling down opposite sides of the hill.

  8. Hi Gail,
    My wife’s absolute favorite book is Ella Enchanted. So much so that we’re naming our first child Ella! She is due early May, although we think she is going to arrive late April. 🙂

    I want to do something special for my wife for her first Mother’s Day. So I’m reaching out to see if there is any way that you might be willing to sign two first edition copies of Ella Enchanted, one addressed to my wife and one addressed to our daughter, Ella. I can’t express how much this would mean to my wife to be able to share this with Ella when she gets old enough.

    If there is a way we could make this happen I’d be so grateful and I’d, of course, be more than happy to compensate you.

    Wishing you the best,

  9. How do you write a language? I really like stories with extensive world building and am trying to do the same detailed world in my story.

    • When I do languages, the first thing I think about is the characters and the plot. Are they a relaxed, easygoing society, the kind of people that hang out by the town well taking forever to get water because they’re chatting? Or maybe they’re a closeknit community where everyone is like family. Or maybe my story takes place in a fairy world of marble palaces and extensive estates. Or a Wild West themed novel, where the toughest survive and there’s no time for lollygagging. Each of these places will have a vastly different language. You suit the language to the characters.
      The relaxed, easygoing characters will likely use smooth words, words that remind one of leaves fluttering down into rivers and water slowly flowing.
      The closeknit community will have a rich, kind, loving type of dialect, the kind of words that are warm and gentle.
      The marble palaces will have an uptight, strict language, with fancy sounding words and exact grammer.
      The Wild West will have clipped words, no time to waste words. They’ll say words like firing bullets.
      I don’t try to write a whole language all at once, I wait until I need a word, and then write it down in my notes, with the definition.

  10. For some reason, I can’t find a way to create any supporting characters in my WIP. Does anybody have any advice on this?

    • A lot of my supporting characters typically start with a name that I like. Then I start thinking about physical character traits and personality traits. The personality traits will usually complement the MC’s traits. Ex. the main character gets angry a lot, so the supporting character can calm them down.

    • I use the enneagram system, which we were discussing above. It also helps if you’re basing your story off of an already established story–could be a fairytale, or it could be Shakespeare or any other story, as long as you aren’t copying too closely. Another way to look at it would be to look at relationships. Does your main character have a family? Friends? What are her hobbies, and are there other people she shares them with (sports teams, mentors, clubs, etc.)

  11. My story is about 2 adults – 22 & 23 – in fictional kingdoms they’re both orphans, and they meet in a prison and break out. They run into the woods, meet a witch, and fight the villains. They end up falling love in the end, which is also very hard for me to write, because I’m 12 and have never even had a crush.

    As for supporting characters, I’m thinking a king, a fisherman, the witch, and a prison guard.
    I don’t think it’s a story that needs many supporting characters.

    • RedTrumpetWriter says:

      I think you’re on the right track by limiting your supporting cast. It really helps if you can reuse the same characters throughout the story in different ways. For example, the fisherman could originally meet one of the MCs on the road and point them towards the woods. Later, when they are fighting the villains, he could appear again to help them escape in his boat. Or just his boat could be there. It also helps to give each character a personality and even a way of speaking that sets them apart from the others. (You don’t have to give each person their own way of speaking, but it could be as simple as having the fisherman say “howdy” every time he sees the MC). You want your supporting cast to be almost as fun to read and write as your MCs.

    • Personally, I think about the way they can help the story along, and then I mold them to fit the story… like if your king is being convinced by the villains to make a lot of hurtful laws, then he probably needs to be gullible and also not really think about his actions. Also, it can help to make them quirky, like your witch can laugh creepily and make really strange remarks, just to unsettle the MC’s. That would be fun to write

  12. I’m wondering if you have any tips on continuing to write even when you aren’t super excited about your story. I wrote a first draft of my book in November, re-read it, and realized what a mess it was and decided to rewrite now that I have a better idea of the story line. It’s just hard to continue writing. Any tips for staying motivated or even just writing consistently even when I don’t feel like it?

    • Right now I’m writing a short story for a submission, and it’s due in two hours, and I despise it. Okay, not really, but it’s a lot more work than my usual books. Sometimes switching to pen and paper for brainstorming helps. Switching where I write can often jiggle things loose, or taking a break with some menial task that doesn’t require all of my attention. But then, other times, I just have to sit down and force it, even if it’s one agonizing paragraph at a time.

    • My main motivation is to make a list of cool scenes I want to include, and then have them as checkpoints along the way, so I’m writing towards a fun part, and I want to get there as quickly as possible, so I write a lot.

  13. Sometimes all you can do is just keep going. My method is to try to think of something in the story that I’m excited about.

    • Gail Carson Levine says:

      I usually have to go back to the spot where I lost enthusiasm. When I do, I find the knot that caused everything to grind down. If I fix that, I can keep going again.

    • Miss Maddox says:

      Also in the 13 and under category, around your age! (I don’t want to give my exact age online.) What project are you working on?

  14. In my current WIP, my protagonist is age thirteen and turns fourteen later on. This is definitely a borderline age; should I write this more as a middle grade or young adult novel?
    Along the same lines, does a YA novel need to involve love and intense romantic relationships? Would it find an audience at all if it didn’t involve these things?

    • Just based on the age of your protagonist, I would call it MG. The main difference between MG and YA is whether the conflict is largely external (defeating the villain) or internal (defeating some kind of self-doubt). With that internal conflict comes a desire to depict the protagonist’s mind and personality “accurately,” hence the cursing and intense romantic relationships that have become practically synonymous with the genre.

      That being said, there aren’t nearly enough of what I call “bridge novels,” with internal conflict and deeper themes, but no/minimal cursing and descriptive romance (Think Stephanie Meyer’s “The Host” or most of Emery Lord’s stuff), so feel absolutely free to take that route.

  15. Miss Maddox –
    I’m working on a medieval style novel set three fictional kingdoms. It has four different first person POVs (I took inspiration from Ever.) with two of them being the villains. I used the NaNoWriMo YWP middle and high school workbook to plan it out. Just curious, what’s your word count goal? Mine is 30,000. I know it’s a lot, but I like to read bigger books, and I wanted to write one. I think that this one is the best I’ve written so far and am already thinking about sequels in my head. I’m hoping that this is the one that will get me published.

    Also, has anybody else read Unicorn Ranch by 14-year-old Milena Ann Janton?

    iheartwriting – I read a lot of YA and MG, and I think that it can be an MG. I don’t remember which one I read it on, but I saw a string of comments about how everybody was wishing for more YA books with more strong friendships than romance. I don’t think that YAs need romance, but it does add a good touch as long as it’s not the main thing.

    • Miss Maddox says:

      Wow, that sounds like an awesome story! I would totally read that! Since I’m writing a short story collection, I decided to go with a smaller word count (and also so I don’t stress as much as I do during November!), so mine is 5,000.

  16. Miss Maddox says:

    Ms. Levine, I just saw the cover for Sparrows in the Wind on the Books section of the website. And WOW — it’s AMAZING!! I’m even more excited now. I can’t wait to read it!

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