I’ve been a long time fan of Sarah Dessen’s books and of her blog. When I was writing my young adult novel, I reread several of Sarah’s books to see what made them work so well. And, while several things of course contribute to her success, one thing that I kept revisiting was that in her writing, Sarah is so patient. She allows the characters to develop slowly through daily life (just like true friendships evolve) and she lets the plot unfold naturally, inch by inch. This is in such contrast to my personality and writing style where I am like an eager, panting puppy wanting to jump at the first opportunity to spill the beans. My editor would kindly say, “Let’s s-l-o-w things down. It doesn’t have to be winter just yet, let’s hang around autumn a little more.” Ah, it’s so easy for Sarah to be so controlled!
The thing is, with calculated, patient writing, the payoff is so much bigger. If you have to wait ten chapters for the couple to kiss, the kiss is that much more exciting than if they collide inside the first twenty pages. And I think this calculated patience must be intrinsic to Sarah for I’ve seen it done on her blog as well.
I’ll never forget the day I was sitting at my desk, casually reading one of her blog entries when at the bottom there was a little aside. Oh by the way, go to this link. When the link pulled up, there was a picture of Sarah, visibly pregnant, maybe six months along. Six months along and she managed not to blab to her fans???? Please, my two best friends were standing outside my bathroom door while I peed on the stick. I showed my baby girl her first birthday gifts before her party. I have no calculated control. I’m the panting puppy! Oh, how I admire Sarah for her patience in both her writing and, I suspect, in her life.
Tomorrow – Michelle Zink, author of The Prophecy of the Sisters.