Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably run into the name Cassandra Clare. As the author of the wildly popular Mortal Instruments series (and movie, and now spun off to Shadowhunters, a new TV series), she’s made a real name for herself in world-building YA.
Luckily for us, she is also a wealth of great writing tips, and is not hesitant at all to share them on her personal blog.
One of my favorite pointers had to do with plot development, where she drops this terrific gem:
PLOT is CHARACTER revealed by ACTION. No, I didn’t make that up; that’s Aristotle. Basically, plot isn’t something that exists outside the rest of your story – the characters, the action, the setting. Make up awesome characters. Put them in interesting situations. Force them to make important and revelatory choices that change them. Make sure that at the beginning of your story your characters want something. Decide whether or not they get it. Those are the elements of your story.
She also has a video clip about how she researches her books:
I’m a huge personal fan of Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments is one of my all-time favorite series and I reread it all the time. I always find it fascinating to see the process behind a great work – and take away tips that make me better in the process.