Paperback Writer!

Harbinger is out in paperback!! Why don’t you play some music and dance around with me to celebrate?!?!!

 

The new edition is beautiful! Full of fun review blurbs from Booklist and School Library Journal. And complete with a brand-new, awesome tagline!

Ready?

Your worst nightmare doesn’t even come close to her reality.

I love it! Thanks to everyone at Penguin who helped create this badassery!

And without further ado…introducing the Harbinger paperback! Light! Flexible! And sure to give you nightmares!

Doubt and Defiance

Doubt has been my constant companion as of late. It creeps in when I’m falling asleep at night, tucking me in with terrifying words of “What if?” It wakes me up in the morning, laying troubling questions out on the bed for me, like a new outfit for me to wear that day.

“Look what I made you!” Doubt exclaims. “I thought about going with a nice Jungle Green of envy, but in the end I decided Uncertain Grey was more your style. With just a dash of red for panic. What do you think?”

“Screw you,” I mumble, suiting up in bright purples and oranges instead.

Doubt pouts for a while but as soon as it hears the clickity-clack of my keyboard, it comes running. Sitting on my shoulder so it can offer priceless nuggets of advice.

“You just used that word two paragraphs ago.”

“Don’t you think that dialogue’s a little cliche?”

And when I’m working a love scene, trying to get sparks to fly, I can feel Doubt rolling its eyes.

Surprisingly, this does not feel awesome. And the questions whisper themselves over and over in my ear. Will I finish my book before my deadline? Will anyone besides me like it when I do finish? Am I actually translating what’s in my head successfully onto paper?

And as much as I want to shrug off those questions and call them silly, I can’t. They are real worries. Real fears. Maybe I won’t make my deadline. Maybe my story won’t have mass appeal. Maybe it’ll take many more revisions to get the story right. These are all possibilities. Especially the revision part.

But here’s the thing about Doubt. In the face of it, you just have to keep writing. And in that act of defiance, you gain the upper hand.

You write because you know there is something to this story in your head. And because you trust yourself enough to know your story is worth sharing. And because, in writing it, there is a chance that you will create something great. Something larger than yourself. Something that transcends you and speaks to others.

In the face of doubt, writing is an act of defiance. In a world that sometimes feels chock-full of ugly happenings and shouting politicians, writing is an act of defiance. In a day of traffic and dirty dishes, writing is an act of defiance. Writing is the belief that, no matter what anyone else says, your story is important and you have something great to bring to the world.

And if you can make yourself believe that long enough to get to the keyboard or the paper— if you believe it long enough to return there day after day after day— then you will be right.

Return to Oz!

When I was in high school, I worked at Kids Ink Bookstore in Indianapolis. I loved being surrounded by words. Loved listening to authors as they chatted and signed books. Loved devouring the new ARCs as they came into the store. Occasionally, I also dressed up like “visiting” picture book characters.

Oh yes. That was me inside the Clifford the Big Red Dog costume.

But as much as I loved working there, it never even occurred to me that one day I could have books on the shelves there. That one day I might be a visiting author there. But this Saturday, I got to return to Kids Ink and celebrate Harbinger amongst old friends, family, and the ghost of Saras past. It was surreal and strange, but mostly really, really wonderful.

Sometimes you need the long view to be able to appreciate the journey.

Thank you, Shirley, for having me back! It felt like coming home!

Celebrating with family!

 

 

Good Reading Means Good Writing

Sometimes when I’m writing, it’s hard to make room in my brain for other people’s stories. But in anticipation of Kristin Cashore’s new book Bitterblue, I decided to reread Graceling.

I loved Graceling the first time around, and it was just as good the second time. I sank into the story with a satisfied sigh, getting lost in the book as you only can at the hands of a wonderful writer. But I was also in for a happy surprise. Instead of distracting me from my own writing, reading Graceling made me hyperaware of all the things Cashore was doing right.

The flip side is that Graceling shed light on the things I was struggling with in my own writing. I’m currently revising a new book and it was amazingly helpful to see how Cashore managed to keep her main character likable, despite the fact she does unlikable, perhaps even unforgivable, things. Not an easy line to walk. Or how she managed to keep tension in the romance without letting it taking over the whole book.

I’m not saying that I want to copy Cashore’s techniques…I just mean that the best way to learn how to write a good story is to read really good ones. It lets you see how someone else is solving the same problems you’re facing. It inspires you to push yourself farther and take bigger risks. And best of all, it’s fun. In the midst of revising and plotting and rewriting, it’s easy to forget…the best part of your job as a writer is being a reader.

Haiku Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  

Wished I could stay here…

Snorting laughter through my tears.

Grieving, Savoring.