Masterclass Monday: Suzanne Collins Talks About The Difficulty Of Death And Prose


Today’s master class comes from the genius mind of Suzanne Collins , author of The Hunger Games series (and quite a few other books you should read as well – all her stuff is amazing).

In this article, courtesy of Douglas Eby at, he pulls together tidbits from a few different interviews and gives us a good smattering of solid writer advice and an insight into what Suzanne’s own personal writing demons are. I particularly love this tidbit, culled from an interview with Rick Margolis at School Library Journal  regarding her work on the Gregor series of books:

“I’d be clicking along through dialogue and action sequences. That’s fine, that’s like stage directions. But whenever I hit a descriptive passage, it was like running into a wall. I remember particularly there’s a moment early on when Gregor walks through this curtain of moths, and he gets his first look at the underground city of Regalia. So it’s this descriptive scene of the city. Wow, did that take me a long time to write! And I went back and looked at it. It’s just a couple of paragraphs. It killed me. It took forever.”

Suzanne started her career in scriptwriting, so dialogue came naturally (and through years of honed talent, no doubt). Non-dialogue scenes were obviously a lot more difficult.

I feel her pain. I was a Theatre person, and even won awards for playwriting back in my younger days. I think in dialogue, I hear arguments in my head, play through touching, softly spoken scenarios. I can see the background and the setting, but it’s peripheral to me.

Except sometimes, it needs not to be. That’s when I’m dragging that description out with a fork through my ear and cursing every adjective in the english language.

It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Anyway, there’s more great info and a video clip or two with solid advice from a woman who knows how to weave a seriously incredible story.

What about you? Is there a type of writing that always stumps you?

1 Comment »

  1. Yes! I find the beginning difficult, how to set up the characters and explain the world without seeming to patronise the reader is something that I often struggle with.


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