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Swoon Author Sandy Hall: Getting Unstuck

During Q&As at book events and school visits, people always ask about writer’s block. Or about plot issues, or writing through difficult scenes, or learning to finish. But when you think about it, all of these questions lead back to a central issue: how to get unstuck.

There are times when I get so mired down in the whole idea of writing and publishing that it feels like I might never be able to move on from where I am. With five published books under my belt and countless other “trunked” novels, believe me when I tell you, I have been stuck a lot.

I have amassed a variety of different approaches to getting unstuck, but there’s a certain kind of stuck that requires more than just walking away for an afternoon or bribing myself with candy.

When I’m stuck at the very beginning of a project, when I can’t seem to turn the spark of an idea into a plot, I tend to read writing craft books. There are so many writing books on the market and I’ve read through at least two dozen of them over the years. But part of the problem is the kind of books I write. Fluffy YA romance novels aren’t often specifically discussed in writing technique and planning books.

So today I’d like to share the three writing craft books that I’ve found most helpful and relatable. And they’ve all managed in their own ways to get me unstuck.

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Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

One of the few writing books I’ve read that addresses the fact that romance novels basically have two main characters.

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Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

Because this is written by a YA author, she actually talks about YA books. I also really appreciated the way she discussed genres.

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Story Genius by Lisa Cron

This is my most recent writing book read, and it was exactly what I needed. I had a spark of an idea and reading through this book helped me flesh out my plot much faster than usual.

Maybe one of these will help you get unstuck!

Author spotlight

Sandy Hall


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