Writing Topics

Writing Topics

Writing Topics in The Audacity of Sara Grayson

Facing self-doubt as a creative

Responding to criticism.
How we respond to failure and rejection as creatives.
How to be resilient in the face of harsh criticism.
The need for shitty first drafts (reading Anne Lamott’s article, “Shitty First Drafts”)
The role of editors in the development of a manuscript
The relationship of editors and writers
The business of being a writer
The writing process! What feels authentic to you and what doesn’t?

Poetry and prose.
• Nik believes these forms are connected? Do you agree?

Phil, the editor, references a quote from George R.R. Martin in telling Sara there are two kinds
of writers: architects and gardeners?
• Read the original quote.
• What do you think Martin means by this?
• What do you think you are?

Emotion in writing
• Phil says we have to be willing to go to those hard places. What does he mean by this?
• What does Nik’s and Phil’s advice about a writer’s emotion in their work mean to you?
• How can you apply this to your own writing?

What writing advice in Audacity is helpful to you? What isn’t?

What are some of Sara’s writing mistakes?
What are her strengths as a writer?

Each chapter begins with a writing quote.
• Which of these resonates with you most and why?
     • Who said it?
     • Learn something about that writer.
     • Read something from that writer.
     • Find a quote you have a question about or that you don’t agree with.
          • Write about this.

Does everyone have a creative part of their being? Are some people just born more creative than others? What do you think?

Deadlines and writing—how do you respond to a writing deadline? Helpful or not? Or both?

Writer’s block! How is this portrayed in The Audacity?
• How would you define writer’s block?
• Have you experienced this?
• What helps you overcome it?
• Write about an author you admire and their approach to overcoming writer’s block.

How do we move forward in our creative work when it feels like others don’t believe in our
• How do we move forward when its US we need to convince?

Describe the power of surrounding yourself with people who do believe in you.

List some of Phil’s writing advice?
• Mind open.
• Stop saying I know.
• Read again.
• Keep learning.
• Are you in this for the long haul?
• Grit.
What are your thoughts on Phil’s advice?

What do you think Phil means by telling Sara she has to have grit. What does it mean for a writer
to have grit?

When does art become art?
What is good art?

How does beauty and the natural world fuel our creativity?
What is the impact of Maine on Sara? Why, what, how does this matter?
Does the natural world inspire your own creativity?

Discuss the writing process Sara uses to construct her novel.
Have students research a variety of plot structures and writing processes.

Discuss a variety of approaches authors use to construct a novel.
Consider a variety of plot structures and how they inform our process and creation of a novel.
Choose a film and map out the screenplay’s plot structure according to a plot structure of your

Discuss great beginnings or openings.
• What are the elements of a strong opening?
• What are your favorite opening lines of great books?
• What are your favorite first pages in your favorite books?
• Critique the opening of The Audacity of Sara Grayson.
• Consider your own.

How does Sara’s writing routine evolve in the book?
Learn about the writing routines, rituals, and practices of writers you admire.
Is there anything you can adopt that would help you in your own writing practice?