Thursday, September 5, 2013

GYDO: Sarah Skilton

Sarah Skilton, Author of Bruised

Thanks so much for having me at your blog to talk about subplots, Nikki!
When I was writing BRUISED, I didn’t put too much conscious thought into how many obstacles my main character, Imogen, would face, but apparently I couldn’t stop tormenting her. By the time I finished writing, the book was filled with a host of subplots beyond the main theme of martial arts and personal identity. Family drama, friendship drama, romance, and school make strong cameos in the story, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think our main relationships with siblings and parents affect and inform all the other parts of our lives.
Imogen dislikes the way her brother behaves when he dates people, so she vows to do the opposite in her own life. This in turn has direct consequences on the way she behaves toward Ricky. She’s disappointed and worried about her father, who has diabetes, and these emotions propel her to make specific choices about her own life, some healthy and some not.
For BRUISED, balancing the different subplots of the story was a matter of looking at Imogen’s character -- simply put, she’s mature when it comes to martial arts, but immature when it comes to love -- and proceeding from there. Her Tae Kwon Do black belt makes her stand out, but she’s also a regular girl in many ways. I wondered: how would someone like Imogen approach the other areas of her life, the ares most contemporary teens deal with (such as siblings, school, and friends)? Which aspects will come easily to her, and which aspects will prove difficult? By answering those questions, I was able to find conflict that wouldn’t exist for other characters, as well as strengths and weaknesses that Imogen brings to table.

Before you throw every subplot you can think of into the mix, make a list of your lead’s character traits and brainstorm how those traits would manifest in a variety of situations. Then pick the situations that would torment him or her the most, and go from there! ;) 

Bruised Blurb
Imogen has always believed that her black belt in Tae Kwon Do made her stronger than everyone else--more responsible, more capable. But when she witnesses a holdup in a diner, she freezes. The gunman is shot and killed by the police. And it's all her fault.
Now she's got to rebuild her life without the talent that made her special and the beliefs that made her strong. If only she could prove herself in a fight--a real fight--she might be able to let go of the guilt and shock. She's drawn to Ricky, another witness to the holdup, both romantically and because she believes he might be able to give her the fight she’s been waiting for.
But when it comes down to it, a fight won’t answer Imogen's big questions: What does it really mean to be stronger than other people? Is there such a thing as a fair fight? And can someone who's beaten and bruised fall in love?

Author Bio
Sarah Skilton lives in California with her magician husband and their son. By day she works in the film and TV business. She is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which came in handy when writing BRUISED. Visit her online at



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