Fairy tale ending for WHS grad
Sarah Masood, a 2016 Woodbury High School graduate, has officially closed the pages of high school but is already opening a new chapter as she puts the finishing touches on her very own book.
Masood, 17, said her forthcoming book, titled "The Trilogy of Dreams," is a mix of action, adventure, science fiction and coming-of-age genres.
Masood was inspired to write a fairy tale by her "weird and surreal childhood dreams," she said.
Although Masood said she tries to keep the plot a secret because the book hasn't been published yet, the reader can expect a recurring theme of lucid dreams, where groups of people in different worlds visit each other through dreams, Masood said.
"My book is fictional, but I'm also trying to incorporate our political, economic and social problems to show consequences in a world of fantasy," Masood said.
The writing of her 360-page fairy tale began during Masood's freshmen year of high school. As if taking six advanced-placement (AP) classes wasn't a big enough workload, Masood found writing as a way to express herself.
"It's just one of those activities where you can just let your imagination and emotions flow," she said.
And it didn't take long for others to notice that Masood had a special talent.
"My friends were skeptical at first, but when I sent them chapters to read, they were like, 'Sarah, get it published,'" Masood said.
Not so fast. Masood was not just stopping with one book. She's already 80 pages into a prequel.
Masood admitted that she's always thinking of more complex stories to "make things more bizarre," she said, which led her to writing the prequel.
Masood started writing the prequel in December and said she hopes to send both books to publication by the end of the year. But don't expect her to jump the gun. Her friends call her a perfectionist, Masood said.
She also prefers to handle the entire workload by herself, she said, even turning down her English teacher's offer to help edit.
"When I've asked her if I can read it, she says, 'Let me complete it first,'" Masood's father, Adnan, said.
With such a solid work ethic, it should come as no surprise that Masood is also illustrating both of her books, too.
Masood has won dozens of awards for her mixed-media paintings, comics and drawings, she said.
Her love of art began when she was 8 years old, with her first award arriving during her freshmen year of high school.
"Well, maybe I could've done better," Masood said after winning her first award.
She classifies her paintings as surrealism, which blends both human and fantasy figures together.
"It's kind of weird, but I guess that's what happens when you expand and explore your own creativity," Masood said.
On top of her passions for fantasy, Masood said she enjoys giving back to the community through her work.
Some of that passion comes through in her writing, which can deal with topics such as racism, sexism and bullying, she said. Other times, she is able to use her love of fantasy to give back in reality.
One of Masood's recent designs was placed on T-shirts that were auctioned off, which raised about $6,000 for orphans, Masood said.
"I've always wanted to be an advocate for social issues," Masood said.
This fall, Masood hopes to bring her humility to the University of Minnesota, where she will study biological sciences in hopes of someday becoming a pathologist. She hopes to minor in either art or philosophy to further develop her creative side, she said.
Despite being a bit nervous to start college, Masood said she will make time to finish her prequel so she can finally let friends and family read her writing in its entirety.
"There's hidden elements," Masood said, "so I encourage people to analyze because it's not a straightforward story."
And if she one day meets her goal of having her work available in bookstores, she already has her first fan.
"I'll be the first one to buy it," Adnan said. "We are blessed to have a kid that is this focused and this dedicated."