Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Voices of YA#

#Voices of YA Tag!

Firstly I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Amy@AMagicalWorldOfWords for tagging me. Considering it was back in July, apologies that its taken me so long to answer!

Also thank you to Caitlin @QuillsandCoffee for coming up with the original Voices of YA# - those were some good questions :)


  1. What draws you to write  YA?

I think what I find exciting about YA is all the new experiences. Teenage years are usually when you have your first romance, first kiss… and normally when you take that first step into discovering who you are and what you are capable of. Catching these things in a story is thrilling and I love sharing these experiences alongside my characters. 

2) Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?

I like to experiment with my writing, trying new methods when the old ones grow stale. However I always start a story with at least an image of the ending, and I only ever plot a couple of chapters in advance. These are like story beats - points I want to hit upon in each chapter - but the journey between the points is completely made up along the way.

However I find it very useful to work with a reward system. My favourite is something I discovered on V.E Schwab’s youtube channel. The star method :) Basically I give myself a star for every 1000 words I hit. The app WRITERS BLOCK is also incredibly useful to me, blocking off EVERYTHING until my word target is hit. You can find more info about it this post HERE.

3) How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?

I’m currently finishing up edits of my second book - A MG Fantasy which I will start querying to agents soon. Thankfully this book only took me a year to write. My previous a novel (A YA Fantasy that will never see the light of day) I worked on for nearly ten years! 

As you can imagine, like many first books it was dreadful, but that book taught me a lot about writing and showed me I could indeed, finishing writing a full length novel. Even now that novel will always have a warm place in my heart.

Otherwise I read a lot as a child. I remember though I was seven years old when I first tried my hand at writing something. It was 1997, my mum had brought us a computer that used the old dial-up broadband, and I recall sitting down and typing out a story about pirates. The main character had my name (although I swear the character was not me!) but I still have that first story… although it never was finished.

4) What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?

Thinking time - which usually requires silence or music without lyrics. Movie soundtracks or trailer scores are my usual go to. Otherwise I use a pen and paper for plotting, and will occasionally write a scene out long hand, but only when I’m stuck. Normally I write straight onto my laptop, and while a cup of tea or coffee isn't essential, it is a nice perk. 

However I sometimes also write at the gym. Between brutal sets of weight lifting, squats and whatever other torture my fitness-freak-boyfriend enjoys putting me thorough - I found I can escape the pain by thinking about the next few lines of my story. I’ll repeat them over and over in my head and as soon as I get a break, I jot them down on my phone to type up later. Although I do like running on the treadmill - that’s also good plotting time!

5) If you could offer up one piece of advice to another writer (other than “don’t give up”) what would it be?

Find a good critique partner! You’re usually too close to the story to see any faults or plot holes, plus a great critique partner will also cheer you on and help keep you accountable to writing!

I would also say read books on the craft. After I finished my ten year slog through book one, I took a break from writing to read every book on the craft I could find. It helped my writing immensely! Books with exercises are particularly helpful. For those writing children’s fiction, I would totally recommend THE MAGIC OF WORDS by Cheryl B. Klein. Also TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS AND OUTLINE by LIBBIE HAWKER is great for trying your hand at plotting.


1) What book still has you reeling from it’s plot twist?

Sadly the only book that totally shocked me this year did so in a really negative way. And that was the ending to Erika Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling Trilogy. I had loved those books so so much, but I absolutely detested the ending of the last book. It made the whole story so redundant and even months on, I’m still sore about it!

2) What books are you most anticipating for this year?

This is a really hard one, but a book that I'm super excited to pick up is Phillip Pullman's new one: THE BOOK OF DUST. I loved his dark materials series so much as a child, although I appreciated the books so much more after re-reading them as an adult. 

3) What is your favourite quote from YA lit?

A quote that always stuck with me was from Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. All I know is that if I ever have children, I’m sharing this advice with them:

“I don't know many rules to live by,' he'd said. 'But here's one. It's simple. Don't put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles--drug or inessential penises either.'

'Inessential penises?' Karou had repeated, delighted with the phrase in spite of her grief. 'Is there any such thing as an essential one?'

'When an essential one comes along, you'll know,' he'd replied.” 

4) What book do you most hope will have a movie adaption?

I’m probably picking a cliche but I would love to see any of Sarah J Maas’ books adapted to film. The same with Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. I feel there just aren't enough High Fantasy movies and I. WANT. MORE!



- Thank the person who tagged you 
-Link to the original creator  
- Answer the questions 
- Tag at LEAST two other YA writers/bloggers


  1. Ah I love your answers so much, Sarah!! Especially your reason for writing YA - I totally agree with you there.

    So happy you took part in the tag! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your answers :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

    1. Oh! and yes, Leigh Bardugo's books would make amazing movies 😍😍😍

    2. Thanks so much for tagging me Amy - I had so much fun answering these! :)

  2. Thank you for doing the tag, Sarah!

    "As you can imagine, like many first books it was dreadful, but that book taught me a lot about writing and showed me I could indeed, finishing writing a full length novel. Even now that novel will always have a warm place in my heart."

    This is literally me with my first novel. It taught me so much, and was a YA fantasy too! I am currently rewriting my 2nd book also, and halfway through drafting my third :)

    1. Hey Caitlin - It's nice to know I'm not the only one sitting on a dreadful (Yet very much loved) first book! All the best of luck with your second and third novels! I'm jealous you are already drafting book 3, I'm still slogging my way through book 2 edits!