25 January 2021

When Does Story Structure Become Predictable?

I've recently been reading the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo. I've always had a soft spot for fantasy. I previously read the Six of Crows duology that takes place in the same universe, which I absolutely loved. I'm a sucker for really strong characters, and those books were chock full of them. While I preferred Six of Crows, I am still enjoying Shadow and Bone, and I'm definitely going to watch the upcoming Netflix series. But I digress...

While reading the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone, something occurred to me. I was around page 300 of 356, and while things weren't great for the main characters, there was a brief moment of hope. That's when it hit me: 

Something bad is about to happen. 

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder calls it the "All Is Lost" point. I can't tell you how many movies and books I've notice this moment in since reading Save the Cat. This is the point story where it seems like the hero has been defeated, that all hope is lost, only to lead of the climax of the story that eventually results in the hero's triumph. 

Just as I get this feeling, sure enough, the bad guy shows up, the thing the main character has most feared actually happens, and it feels like all is lost. That's when a question entered my mind: have I learned so much about story structure as a writer that nothing can surprise me as a reader? 

Which led me to another question: does every story have to follow this basic story structure? 

I guess it's not a 100% yes or no answer. Not every story is going to follow the story structure (such as outlined in Save the Cat) with every moment of its plot. But on the other hand, keeping to this story structure is often expected of writers if they want to have a compelling story. 

I think about story structure a lot, actually, especially when I'm trying to figure out all those missing pieces in Uneven Lines. The part that has always vexed me is the third act. I've gutted it and rewritten it and rethought it more times than I can count, but I still feel like I'm missing something. And whenever I've read anything about story structure, the first two thirds of UL follow it perfectly. I even have an "all is lost moment" in Chapter 18. But rather than wrapping up a few chapters later, the story keeps going for about ten more chapters. So, obviously, it doesn't follow that story structure that we've come to expect. But is that a bad thing? 

Of course, I'm not saying my book is the perfect example to break story structure. Maybe it will be when I actually figure it out. I just wonder how much creativity and freedom we can actually have as writers if every single story is supposed to follow the same basic structure.

In the end, I think there's a middle ground. Does UL have to follow that perfect Save the Cat structure? Maybe not. But will learning about it help me figure out what's really necessary, and to trim down my long third act? Maybe. It can't hurt to learn. But I just have to keep brainstorming and rethinking while I learn, too. And maybe at some point it will all click. 

21 January 2021

Chrys Fey's A Fighting Chance Playlist

Today, I'm very happy to welcome Chrys Fey, who's here to talk about the playlist for her new release in the Disaster Crimes series, A Fighting Chance. I love to create playlists for my books, too, and I'm actually working on one for Book 2 right now, so I love this topic! 

Sarah’s Question: What music did you listen to while writing A Fighting Chance?

Chrys Fey’s Answer: I love to listen to music when I write. Most of the time, I look for songs that fit the scenes I’m writing or the theme of the story. Or I hunt for an artist with the vibe I am going for, like I’ll listen to Evanescence while writing paranormal.

On Spotify, I now have playlists for each book in the Disaster Crimes series, as well as my current works-in-progress. There are even four playlists for what I lovingly call my Secret Book Baby Series…books that I view as my life’s work.

While I wrote A Fighting Chance, I kept track of the songs I listened to for scenes and that reminded me of my characters.


Here they are:

Face Down – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Bruises – Lewis Capaldi

Skyscraper – Demi Lovato

Crawling – J2, I AM WILLOW

What About Now – Daughtry

Waiting for Superman – Daughtry

The Sound of Silence – Disturbed

Hurricane Girl – Alexz Johnson

Creep – Daniela Andrade

Every Breath You Take – Denmark + Winter

One Way or Another – Until the Ribbon Breaks

Halo – J2, I AM WILLOW

Feels like Tonight – Daughtry

Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me – Denmark + Winter

Warrior – Demi Lovato

Blown Away – Carrie Underwood


Take a listen to the playlist on Spotify. CLICK HERE.

Pages: 154

Genre: Romantic-Suspense

Heat Rating: Hot



*A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it’s a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.*

Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she needs as a survivor of abuse—space, protection, and stability. He yearns to give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he's worried the truth will frighten her away.

And Amanda is afraid. She’s scared of her attraction for Thorn. Most of all, she’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending.

Up against an abusive ex and Mother Nature, do Thorn and Amanda have a fighting chance?


Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes



Amanda looked up from the current list of up-to-date payments for classes. A movement outside the glass storefront caught her eye. She tilted her head to see a man coming up the sidewalk from the side where the picnic bench sat. Through the vertical blinds, she glimpsed a square face—a short, rugged beard and long, dark hair pulled into a man bun. Her breath fled from her lungs. Her body went from icy cold to flaming hot in the span of a millisecond. She dropped to the floor and slid under the counter, beneath the ledge where they put their purses and cell phones.

“What—” Beth peeked at the windows. Then she snapped her fingers at April and pointed at the stools.

April jumped into action. She pushed the stools in so they blocked Amanda. The bell attached to the door jingled as April removed the jacket she wore and draped it across the stools, creating a curtain to shield Amanda.

From a crack, Amanda watched Beth move to stand in front of the twins, who were in their walkers playing peacefully. “I’m sorry, but we’re going to be closing.”

“I don’t give a shit. I’m here for Amanda.”

The sound of Damon’s voice had her heart beating even harder. That voice had haunted her nightmares, had come back to life in her memories.

Beth cocked her head to the side. “Who? There’s no one by that name here.”

“Don’t bullshit me. I know she works here.”

His voice was closer now.





Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Author’s Note: I wrote The Disaster Curse to answer a few lingering questions readers may have after reading A Fighting Chance, and to tie the whole series together with a neat, shiny, perfect little bow. Plus, there was one disaster that I hadn’t written about yet. *wink*


The Disaster Crimes Series:

*The Crime Before the Storm (prequel)

Hurricane Crimes (novella, #1)

Seismic Crimes (#2)

Lightning Crimes (free short, #2.5)

Tsunami Crimes (#3)

Flaming Crimes (#4)

Frozen Crimes (#5)

A Fighting Chance (spin-off, #6)

The Disaster Curse (short story, #7)

*Free exclusive story to newsletter subscribers.




TheFightingChance.org is a website dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. Inspired by the Disaster Crimes series.




Prizes: Hurricane Crimes (Disaster Crimes 1) and Seismic Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2) eBooks (mobi or epub), Hurricane Crimes Playing Cards, Girl Boss Sign, and a Volcanic Blast Scented Candle

Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a92670/


Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press. https://www.chrysfey.com

Author Links:

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Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

11 January 2021

Another New Year, Another New Planner

What's going on here? I'm posting on a non-IWSG day?? As you probably guessed, one of my goals for the new year is to blog more! Hence the...blogging...

So, if you remember the beginning of last year, I got a fancy new planner to log all of my writing and non-writing goals. It was a great idea to help me be productive and motivated. And then somewhere around...oh, let's say, March...we were hit with a....let's call it a PANDEMIC...where everyone's goals and plans went straight into the garbage. Seriously, one of my goals was to go to the gym five days a week, and guess what?? The gym closed!!! And you'd think with all this time staying at home I'd get lots of writing done? Lol you thought! I work in a hospital, which on one hand is great, because I kept my full time job the whole time, but on the other hand, is SUPER STRESSFULL during aforementioned PANDEMIC. 

Anyhoo...it's a new year, I'm two weeks away from getting my second dose of the vaccine, and I have a NEWER, FANCIER planner. 

BEHOLD (no I will not stop using the caps lock...)

I got the new planner for Christmas, along with an extra set of stickers to make the planning more fun. It's actually much bigger than last years planner, with more detailed spots for goals and planning. And since I didn't think that was enough, I bought MORE STICKERS!!!

So, how does this help me? Well, on top of my daily goals (gym, cleaning, etc.), it also allows me to create weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. I'm trying to work slowly into my writing related goals since I've avoided writing for about two months. But like I said in my last post, I'm focusing more on specific tasks for each week, rather than trying to write every day. 

I'm the kind of person who likes to make lists and track things (this is why Weight Watchers really works for me when I actually commit to it...all the tracking!), so I think something like this will help a lot. I've been doing really well with my daily goals, so I think I just need to figure out when and how to work in writing to my schedule. I did accomplish a lot in the first week with my planner, but not so much when it comes to writing. Then hopefully, I'll start to feel motivated again. 

Do you use a planner? How do you stay motivated? 

06 January 2021

Where's My Motivation?

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Well, it's a new year (finally! so long 2020! you won't be missed!), and with a new year usually comes a new surge of motivation. I've got a brand new fancy planner, even bigger and fancier than last year's. I do certainly feel motivated about certain things--continuing to eat healthy and lose weight (I gained two pounds over Christmas and New Year's, but that's not too bad, right?), getting back into productive habits, like cleaning every day, drinking lots of water, READING MORE (I only read 18 books last year). 

But do you know where I still have zero motivation? Writing. 

I don't know what it is. For the past couple months, I have just completely lost my desire to write. I don't even want to think about any of my stories. I realized recently that I used to always fall asleep thinking about one scene or another, but lately I haven't found anything that piques my interest. I've scanned over every story idea, every sequel, every self-indulgent never actually going to write it moment that I could possibly think of and...nope. Don't want to think about it anymore. 

I obviously don't want to be done with writing, but I also don't know how to get that motivation back. I've really always struggled with motivation, but there was always a tiny glimmer of that desire to write underneath whatever else was holding me back. Now, I don't even feel that. 

Maybe I've just been avoiding writing too much? Real life has certainly been stressful and exhausting for a while. Maybe if I just try to work on writing, eventually I'll begin to feel that spark again. 

I'm planning on trying a new tactic. For a while, I was trying to work on writing (or editing, brainstorming, etc.) for thirty minutes every day. I don't know if I responded well to that kind of pressure. If I couldn't think of anything to focus on, or if I just had too many other tasks, it was usually the one goal of my day that was incomplete. So I've decided instead to pick a few specific writing tasks that I want to get done each week. Most of them relate to UL, but I'll try to throw in a different story idea or a sequel to keep things interesting, and hopefully spark some motivation. This way, I can choose what time is best for getting a task done, and if I go a day or two without writing, I won't have to feel guilty about it.

How do you find motivation? Do you write every day?