“Why is it that middles are more susceptible to the gravitational pull of the earth? You’d think, tucked neatly between things, they would be able to retain their composure and firmness, but in fact, they use the beginning and end as a support so they can just let it all go and hang limply between without putting in any real effort.”—How do you get past the dreaded sagging middle? from contributor Lee Bross
“We’ve all heard the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees,” but sometimes it’s important to slow down and really look at those individual trees. What kind are they? What lives in them? What treasures can be discovered—physically, emotionally, thematically—in those trees? Is the bark smooth, is it shaggy, is it peeling away? Those very different descriptions can parallel the journey your main character is going through.”—"Setting: It’s In The Details" from Kristin Halbrook
“I am writing a short story about a lesbian main character … and almost had it finished when I had a panic attack. I was at a conference talking about my story when a lesbian told me she would never take it seriously because I wasn’t a lesbian and I can’t know what that feels like. But to me that love is love and normal and just like love between anyone else except for that one guy back home and his sheep. I don’t want to do this wrong. I want their love to be the reason my MC survives this ordeal but I don’t want to offend either. What can I do?”
“Only in books could you find pity, comfort, happiness — and love. Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn’t ask anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly.”—
“It’s possible of course, especially when you’re young, to read a book and take it to your heart. And you don’t need to speak to anybody about it, it’s so important to you: You have found it. I think later on, you are unable to recapture that feeling, exactly, and the societal nature of books—what they mean to other people—enters into it.”—James Salter (via oliveryeh)
“The weird thing about books is that they really are a co-creation between reader and writer. I put the scratches on a page, but you bring them to narrative life by translating those scratches into a story that (hopefully) has meaning for you. So if it works, we’ve both given each other a gift, and we both have reason to be grateful to the other.”—
“I tell stories,” he says. It is the most truthful answer he has.
“You tell stories?” the man asks, the piquing of his interest almost palpable.
“Stories, tales, bardic chronicles,” Widget says. “Whatever you care to call them. The things we were discussing earlier that are more complicated than they used to be. I take pieces of the past that I see and I combine them into narratives. It’s not that important, and this isn’t why I’m here—”
“It is important,” the man in the grey suit interrupts. “Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift…. There are many kinds of magic, after all”
From YA Highway contributor Phoebe North: “Where, once, I meandered along at 800 words a day, I now reach 2500-3000 words—and usually over the course of just a few hours. Best of all, that time spent writing feels fun, even effortless. Rather than ripping myself open and bleeding out every precious word, I now spend that time breezing along.”