Poetry

Bitter Pill #1

“You see, you were my everything.
But I honestly don’t know what I was to you.”

Here I am again, picking up the pieces of my broken heart. Another harsh lesson I’m forced to swallow. You see, you were my everything. But I honestly don’t know what I was to you. A means to an end? A nobody that could take you somewhere? I’ve put together the pieces of this fragmented puzzle, and nothing fits together like it should. And that hurts more than I care to admit.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

It’s not easy coming to terms
with the fact that you were
so eloquently deceived.

Inspired by the song
Medicine by Daughter. Read part two here.

Poetry

Breathing Water

“When I was drowning,
I learned how to breathe water.
I learned how to breathe you.”

Life has never been easy.
But that’s part of the point.
There are so many things
worth living for, yet
there are also things
that can strip the air
right out of your lungs.
Blindside you out of nowhere.
And when I was drowning,
I learned how to breathe water.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

I learned how to breathe you.

On Writing, Random Thoughts

Q&A With A Wordsmith: First Comes The Plot Or The Characters?

Heya Lovelies,

As a writer taking a rather unique path, I often receive a wide range of questions. So far, I’ve covered some broad topics which you can find here and I’ll continue to shed some light on further questions. With luck, you’ll gain some understanding and insight along the way.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, feel free to comment or drop me an email.


Question:
Does the plot come first, or is it the characters?

Short Answer:

Neither.

Long Answer:

Any book a writer considers has some kind of premise. For example: A boy that grew up with unfortunate circumstances in the human world is admitted to a wizardry school. Or: An unpopular, high school outcast with the power to move things with her mind is tormented by her peers. 

But those examples aren’t the actual plot. The plot is the chapters that take readers from beginning, middle, climax, and resolution. You don’t know how that boy finds out he’s a wizard or what awaits him. You don’t know what that girl’s peers do to her or what happens if they go too far.

Furthermore, those example don’t specify, in detail, who those characters are. We don’t know Harry Potter is actually a good, kind-hearted kid that tries to do the right thing. We don’t know that Carrie is abused by her devout mother and yet she still wants to be accepted by everyone. 

To me, the best books are made by establishing the core of it first. In other words, give the book a heart — its soul. 

What is a book’s soul? It could be the underlying lesson or a feeling. In Maggie Stiefvater’s now defunct live-journal blog, she once wrote that the heart of her YA paranormal romance, Shiver was a feeling. More than anything else, she wanted readers to feel bittersweet. If anything in her book threatened that heart, she was willing to cut it out. 

For Just Breathe and the entire Earthen Witch universe series, the heart of everything revolved around coming to terms with the past and making the most of the circumstances going into the future. 

If you know the soul of the book you’re wanting to write, the characters and plot become a close second. There could be a fantastic plot with all sorts of page-turning surprises, but if readers cannot empathize and care for your characters, then it’s all for nothing. 

In my experience, as the plot develops and evolves, it’s important to flesh out the characters — the protagonist, antagonist, supporting roles, etc. And as those are created, it’s important to give them life with their own motivations and back stories. 

Readers need to want those characters to succeed in their goals. The more readers are invested in both the story and its characters, the more that book’s soul will resonate with them. 


Coming up, I’ll tell you about the risks I’ve taken with my books and whether I have any regrets. 

Until next time,
Sarah

P. S. If you want to see for yourself what books I have to offer, find your FREE copies at your favorite retailer

P. P. S. If you are interested in learning more about me, my books, and other various, important topics on a monthly basis, along with access to a free, ever-growing resource library of downloadable content, sign up for my newsletter.

Poetry

Dare To Live

“In order to live, you must
put one foot in front of the other,
and then do it all over again.”

After all that’s happened, I still have more to overcome. But I know I’ll make it. I have to. All it takes is getting out of bed every day, putting one foot in front of the other, and doing it all over again. It might seem impossible, but living is worth it.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

Living is always worth it.

Poetry

Change The Past

“Good or bad, my past
brought me to where I am.
I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

I used to think about what I would give to go back and rewrite history. But no matter what I dreamed up, I was still a powerless child with no means of escape. I was just too small and weak to fight back. But none of that really mattered when I came to the realization that my life wouldn’t be the same today had those things in my past not happened. I wouldn’t be who I am, let alone have everything I couldn’t live without today. So as much as it hurts to acknowledge that nothing was in my control, I don’t think I would have changed anything.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

Good or bad, that’s something I have to live with.

Poetry

Sight

“My love, I knew you were made from stardust,
but I didn’t realize you could hold
an entire universe in your eyes.”

When I look at you, I don’t see wonder in your gaze. I see the northern lights shimmering against the blue-tinged galaxy in your irises. It shimmers there, undulating with every breath you take. And I cannot help but to be captivated by it. I knew you were made from stardust, but I didn’t realize you could hold an entire universe in your eyes.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

It is undoubtedly
the most beautiful thing
I’ve ever seen.

Poetry

Heartless

“And in the end, I don’t care
what became of you, my monster.
What matters is that you were gone.”

And in the end, I don’t care what became of you. What matters is that you were out of my life. You see, I don’t care that you suffered as a child, too. It was a choice to become a monster. Then to continue being one. So no, I don’t think I’m heartless for refusing to care what happened to you. I just wanted you out of my life for good.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

I didn’t care how you left,
not even death,
as long as you stayed gone.

Poetry

Loving Anyway

“But let me tell you this:
loving you wasn’t a choice.
It was inevitable.
And I loved you anyway.”

It didn’t matter to me
what anyone else thought.
It didn’t matter if you
were wrong for me.
I tried to listen
to those whispers,
knowing our odds.
But let me tell you this:
loving you wasn’t a choice.
It was inevitable.
And I loved you anyway.
We might end in heartbreak,
but I just can’t bring myself to care.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

And I don’t think I ever will.

Poetry

Whispered Prayers

“As long as you’re with me,
I hold on to hope that
everything will be okay.”

By night’s dark embrace, I hold on
to hope with everything that’s left.

The night embraced me in her darkness, an embrace I never expected. An embrace that made me feel comforted. It was foreign, but oh so nice. And I felt that warmth every frightful night. Before the steps coming my way and the living nightmare that would come. The night held me in her embrace as I waited, and she continued to hold me until the pre-dawn light announced the start of a new day.

The night, in whatever form she takes, has been my constant. I am one with the night. With all her darkness, all her shimmering lights. Those glowing embers flickering off in the distance millions of miles away. Through every phase of the moon, and through every storm, she remains. And for as long as I live, I will continue to look upon her with fondness and comfort.

© Sarah Doughty
2018

This was written as part of a large collaboration of incredibly talented writers called Petitions.

Poetry

The List

“My heart was never yours to darken,
but you tried your best.
Too bad it wasn’t enough.”

No matter how much I try to forget about you, you’re always there in the shadows. Like my own personal ghost. My demon from the past. I’ve come to accept that you’ll always be with me, and I don’t know if that realization is a relief, or yet another burden for me to bear. Either way, I’ll keep compiling a list of all the things I’ve overcome — all those things you told me I could never do. And until the day I die, I’ll keep proving it.

  1. Fall in love
  2. Be loved
  3. Get married, happily, to a decent human that loves me back
  4. Own a home
  5. Get a college education
  6. Become a mother
  7. Raise an intelligent, empathetic human
  8. Write, and not be terrible at it (I’m humble, so I find it difficult to say I do it well)
  9. Explore other creative paths (like art, editing, book cover creation, and more)
  10. Rescue animals from sociopaths like you…

© Sarah Doughty
2018 (except for expanded list)

 One year older, one more year of memories.