Studio Feature: Annemarie O’Brien
Annemarie O’Brien loved dogs so much that she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. But when she got older, her passion for travel and foreign languages led her to get an international-business degree. While on a trip to Moscow, Annemarie was given a borzoi puppy named Dasha—and everything in her life changed.
“Dasha opened doors for me that I never knew existed and singularly shaped the direction of my career and where I am today,” Annemarie explains. “She is the inspiration for Lara’s Gift, my ‘Lassie-meets-Doctor Zhivago’ girl-empowerment story, and will forever hold a big place in my heart.”
Growing up, Annemarie preferred reading stories about dogs or characters living in other countries. “The cultural differences helped me have a wider outlook on the world beyond my little world,” she says. “It’s why I set up World Reads, a blog that features interviews with authors who have written a story set overseas,” she says.
To fulfill her dream of writing Lara’s Gift, Annemarie went back to school to study writing. “I formed writing groups that gave me deadlines to keep on track with my writing,” she says. “Even when it was incredibly challenging, I carved out writing time every day. I spent many hours alone with my characters, playing with words, trying to find the best one, revising my manuscript, until I was ready to send it out.”
Today she juggles her writing life with working on products to help veterinarians care for animals. She’s also involved with Room to Read, a group that advocates literacy in developing countries.
For Juniors earning their Scribe badge, Cadettes working on their Screenwriter badge, or Seniors earning their Novelist badge, Annemarie shows you how to develop your story’s arc, which is its incident, climax, and resolution. “Before I begin any writing project, I ask myself a few critical plot point questions. The answers to these questions show me if I have a story arc or not.”
So go to Annemarie’s behind-the-scenes feature on The Studio and put your story idea to the test!