Author Interviews

Megan O’Russell Writing Advice: No arranged marriages in writing!

Author Megan O’Russell is one of my sister-writers (meaning she’s published through the same house as me:  Silence in the Library Publishing).  I’m proud to have her on my blog today, talking about her writing advice and how she went through the writing process with her young adult fantasy The Tethering.  What I like best is the way she describes outlining like it’s an arranged marriage.  I love outlining before I write, but I can totally see Megan’s point and why people may not want to do it.  Check out her reasoning below!

TheTethering Book Cover



Writing Advice From Megan:

Most of the advice I’ve been given about writing is fairly standard. Write every day. Set goals, act, achieve. All those things that make total sense. I’ve read tons of articles on the importance of outlines. Cue cards are a must. Post it notes are a must. Make charts. Type out an outline. Find a word count tracker and go for words not pages.

And to me personally, it all turns into noise. Yes, in order to write a book you have to write consistently. True, you need to write a coherent book, and tracking where your story is going helps in that process. But post it notes drive me crazy, and deciding exactly how I want my story to go before I start writing it feels like an arranged marriage to me. Sure, it’s a time honored tradition that works for lots of people, but not for me.

The reason I love to write, and the main reason The Tethering was ever completed is because I find the story to be exciting. And that is the key to writing successfully to me. Write what you’re excited about today. Do you have an amazing idea for the character’s first kiss? Write it! I don’t  care if you just wrote the first chapter and they’re not supposed to kiss for forty pages. If it excites the writer to write it, it will excite the reader to read it. Do you have a great idea for a moment when the sun streams down through the autumn leaves and shines its warm light on your heroine’s face? Then write it.

All sixteen-year-old Jacob Evans wants is to win the heart of Emilia Gray, but with order in the magical world crumbling, war threatening, and Emilia’s boyfriend living across the hall, he may never have the chance.

Jacob Evans loses everything he has ever known and is tossed into a world of magic. The Dragons, a group of rebel wizards, are threatening to expose the existence of magic to humans. Jacob is determined to find a way to fit into Emilia’s family, but as his powers grow, so does the danger. With the death toll mounting, Jacob is accused of acts of rebel terrorism and must fight to stay in a world he’s only just beginning to discover.

When Emilia’s life is threatened, Jacob must risk everything to save her. Does he have the power to rescue her in time? And what could their survival cost?

Now, I will freely admit that writing what excites you on any given day leads to hell come revision time. Writing the bridges from one thrill to another takes time and is not nearly as fun. But your book has told you where it wants to go. Now you can guide your characters from one scene to the next. I also spend a lot of time playing the POV fairy. Too much from one POV? Rework the scene. Your heroine doesn’t feel the sunlight on her face. Instead, your hero sees the light kissing her cheeks. But you have that moment in the sun, and that’s what your story needs.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do plot… ish. I know who my characters are. I know what they want. And I know what has to happen to complete the book. But if Jacob Evans needs to go to the woods in the moonlight, who am I to stop him?

As for my writing advice, the best thing you can do is forget everything I just said. Find a process that works for you and keep writing. Don’t worry about good or bad, right or wrong. You can fix POV issues. You can tweak word choices and where the couch is. Just write, and when you’ve finished the story, you’ll know what your story is and how best to make your characters shine. Then the hard work begins.

How to find Megan and her book:

Add The Tethering to your Goodreads list at

Follow Megan O’Russell on Facebook at or on Twitter @MeganORussell

For more great books and to follow The Tethering‘s journey to publication, be sure to visit my publisher’s website:

Megan’s blog and website can be found at

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