Skyward: Teaser, Chapter Breaks, and Description

I am trying something new today. I made a video. It is not very good, but I’m learning to get comfortable in front of a camera. You see, I’m working on creating an online course. That, of course, involves videos. EEK! I ordered a lapel mic and some better lighting which should be here in a week or so.

I’m afraid I didn’t explain myself very clearly in this video. I tend to rush and not fully explain when I’m nervous like this. So let me try to explain better.

Character Quirks

Here is the quote

I imagined the broken rocks as the broken bodies of my enemies, the bones shattered, their trembling arms reaching upward in a useless gesture of total and complete defeat.
I was a very odd little girl.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, p. 1-2

Spensa is a little girl with a vivid imagination, a violent imagination, and a great vocabulary. This is an excellent example of a character quirk that readers find entertaining and memorable. I enjoyed all the over-the-top phrases like this that Spensa had in this book.


I was a very odd little girl.
I caught up to my father, and he looked back, then smiled. He had the best smile, so confident, like he never worried about what people said about him. Never worried that he was weird or didn’t fit in.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, p.2

Sanderson didn’t say anything about Spensa other than she was odd. But we know she worries, lacks confidence, and doesn’t fit in because she describes her father with such envy.

Chapter Breaks

The Writing Excuses podcast did an episode on writing chapter endings. They said that the cliffhanger is not exactly what you want to end on for a chapter break. Sanderson described it like opening a door.

A traditional cliffhanger leaves you with a simple question of what happens next and leaves the reader with their hand on the door knob.

A revelation leaves you with a new bit of information, one that changes everything! That metaphorical door has been opened to reveal this startling information. That is a much better way to leave the reader hanging.

A good example of this is in the prologue. It sets Spensa’s father up as a saint in her eyes, a war hero, liked not just by her, but everyone. Then something happens (read the book to find out what) and he is declared a traitor. Spensa doesn’t believe it for a minute, but everyone else does and that changes everything for her and her family. I had to keep reading to find out what really happened.

I think I might do some more videos of book teasers for my students while they are learning from home. I will also post them on my Facebook page here if you want to hear about some great YA books.

These days are difficult and stressful. Go easy on yourself. Get rest. Read a book or three!