What an assassin taught me about writing – the killer story structure of ‘Throne of Glass’

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The hype is everywhere. There’s not a YA bestseller list that doesn’t seem to have at least two books with the name Sarah J. Maas next to them. I had to investigate.

And I like to start at the beginning, look at the book that began the phenomenon.

So. Then. ‘Throne of Glass’ it was.

I picked it up with two parts excitement, one part expectation, and a dusting of cynic.

Hoping for a great read.

 

And, phew, I got it. This is a fab book. So fab, I didn’t want to just attribute its awesomeness to world-building or characters or clever writing. Because there was something else. Something more.

Tension. Timing.

Ever increasing levels of evil and excitement. Heavy-eyelids, can’t-stop-reading, catch-up-on-sleep-some-other-day kind of something more.

So after I’d read it once, I didn’t just reread it – I plotted out the entire book. What did I find?

  • Exponential increase in gruesome deaths
  • Story and character arcs
  • Kick-ass third act.

If you don’t like spoilers, stop now… otherwise…

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Getting into the mind of Uglies

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I know, I hear what you’re saying… How can she not have read this book yet? ‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfeld is one of the iconic dystopian YA novels, I’ve heard a lot about it. When I saw it in my local library, it jumped off the shelf and into my book bag.

I wanted to know why ‘Uglies’ became so popular with the YA market. And if, like me, you’re coming to this book well after the rest of the world, be warned that I have spoilers in here.

What did I find? Three themes that I believe led to success:

  • World-building
  • Trouble-making
  • Friend-saving

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