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This blog was featured on 08/31/2019
Sara Raasch on Querying, Advice and Perseverance
Written by
She Writes
August 2019
Written by
She Writes
August 2019

Sara Raasch is the New York Times bestselling author of the YA fantasy trilogy Snow Like Ashes, and the YA fantasy Stream Raiders novels.  This month she releases These Divided Shores, a sequel to These Rebel Waves and the second book in the Stream Raiders Series – full of rising magic, betrayal, and a revolution.

On Process

Sara is known for her organization and planning, so it’s no surprise that she approaches writing with the same sense of order.

“SO organized. Painfully so. My organization has organization. It’s ridiculous. But it works for me!” she told Fantasy Fiction.

Her characters receive the same time, thoughtfulness and attention when she carefully crafts dynamic personalities and multiple points of view.

“If I need to get into a character’s mindset, I spend a lot of time listening to songs I attribute to them, and reading back over previous things I’ve written from their POV. It’s always important too to keep a few questions at the forefront of every word choice, sentence, paragraph, and chapter: what does this character want? How does it counteract what the other characters want? How does it advance the plot?" 

This excerpt was originally published on Megan Write Now. Read the full interview here.

YA Books Central asked Raasch which part of the process she prefers: Drafting or Revising? To that, she replied:

“Normally I’m quick to say revising because I really love making things pretty and polished, but I’m working on a new project right now, and I kind of love drafting it?? It’s new for me to like the writing part. I don’t know what’s happening.”

That new project she refers to, we found out, is a new duology coming out in August 2020.

“It’s a YA fantasy about gladiators and gods and elemental magic – and I got to cowrite it with my author love, Kristen Simmons! We are so in love with this book, it’s a little frightening,” she told YA Books Central.

On Querying

No matter how long you’ve done it, how many agents you’ve sent to, or how long you’ve been in the business, querying is a challenge, Raasch says. But it’s the anticipation that carries her through that process.

“Despite how much the rejection sucks (and boy, does it ever suck), there is something to be said for the sheer greatness of possibility. Each email could be The One, each incoming response could be a Let’s Set Up A Call. That possibility is what makes querying bearable.”

Unlike most authors, however, Raasch confides that she enjoys that querying process.

“One of my guilty pleasures is, sadly, writing summaries for queries. *ducks sharp projectiles* Okay, okay, hear me out! Actually, there’s nothing I can say to make it less weird. Querying did come easily to me this time around, but only because I adore writing summaries, and that mixed with my excitement to be reevaluating/redeveloping myself as a writer made the whole thing oddly enjoyable.”

This expert was originally published on Amy True Blood Author. Read the full interview here.  

Throughout her writing career, she has learned to simplify – a habit, when combined with her extreme organization, has benefited her greatly.  

“Simplify, simplify, simplify. I like to overcomplicate things, but the path of least resistance is more often than not the best method for doing something,” she told YA Books Central.

On Advice

“Keep moving forward,” Raasch wisely advises to aspiring writers. “The only difference between a published author and an unpublished one is perseverance.”

In a recent interview, Raasch was asked what important lesson she has learned in her publishing career. To that, she replied: patience.

“Nothing in this industry happens overnight. Even when it seems like something does, it’ll take another few years to happen. I mean, it’s still incredibly difficult to not get antsy about books coming out or deals going through, but everything will happen. ‘Not no, just not now!’”

This excerpt was originally published in Megan Write Now. Read the full interview here.

“There’s a quote I adore by Jodi Picoult: ‘You can always edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.’ When I’m stuck on a scene or afraid to tackle a new project or seriously doubting my ability to live up to my goals, I remember that quote. You can always make a bad page better, but a blank page? You can’t do anything to fix a blank page.”

So, write, write, write, she encourages.

“[Write] no matter how you feel, because writing has a way of working out the bad feels too.”

This expert was originally published on Amy True Blood Author. Read the full interview here.  

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  • Hyba Revising

    This is a really good article! Getting organized is something that I love to do, but it really takes a lot of time away from the actual writing. I can spend hours working on worldbuilding, creating sections in my worldbuilding notebook, adding to my character profiles, and more. Everyone talks about how terrible querying can be because of all the rejections that I've actually come to be very nervous about getting to that stage, but looking at it from Raasch's perspective definitely makes it seem a lot friendlier! Thanks for sharing!