Author Archives: Sarah Lovett

The Five-Minute Story Test

Over years of writing professionally—and coaching and consulting with other writers—I’m perpetually on the lookout for techniques to make it easier to sprout and nourish strong stories. And so the Five-Minute Story Test was born and continues to evolve. Once you’ve moved past the first flashes of insight into a new world and its inhabitants, and you are incubating and developing narrative elements, try out this brief test on your story by asking the following questions: 1) Does the protagonist of your story want something Continue reading →

Deadlining, Again…

I’m on deadline again, this time for Penguin’s Blue Rider Press—the second book in a fiction series co-authored with Valerie Plame Wilson. In the past I’ve “deadlined” books at least 37 times: thrice for Random House, twice for Simon & Schuster, and the earlier books for a regional press. Even as I work under pressure I always consider myself lucky to be on deadline. It means the book will be published, find readership, and I will collect a check. This is, after all, how I Continue reading →

The Big Nothing, Small Deaths, and How a Dilemma is Vital for Storytellers

Two days into 2014 I had a ‘New Year’ conversation with a good friend.  Our talk turned to Noam Chomsky. I’d just seen Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?, an animated documentary on the life of the linguist, philosopher, and political activist by French filmmaker Michel Gondry. (It is, btw, a delightful and provocative film.) Chomsky had been an early influence in my friend’s academic life. We touched briefly on Chomsky’s atheism and his belief in (I paraphrase) the “big nothing” that follows death. Continue reading →