I took this picture outside the Montara Lighthouse in California. Never before had I seen the structure of wings from underneath as clear as in the wings of this red-tailed hawk. It reminds me of the structure of novel, with a plot that is small and muscular and around it the wide upper layer to keep the story afloat. Look at those feathers. They are perfectly in line with each other, like story threads woven into an intricate mesh.
There are more similarities between a hawk and a good story. Like the hawk, a story needs to be strong and powerful, capturing the reader with sharp, curved talons. It needs a strong beak that is kitted out to hook the reader and pull him in. And, particularly in Young Adult but maybe even in all genres, the story needs to be as swift a flier as this bird of prey.
I am nearing the final version of my manuscript, one of the darkest stories I have ever written, and I hope it will soar like a hawk once I let it go.