This part definitely worked out more, I blogged almost every day of November and my numbers were through the roof.
I haven’t been reading as much this month as I’d liked to. So far I only hit 5 books, I think October was rare in the fact that I got 12 out of it. But I still think with the fact that I’m at 68, I’m going to be able to get 75 before January 1st.
Finish up Challenges and get ready for the ones at the end of the year.
While I’m not finished with my Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, I passed the first level which was the original goal I set for myself. I’m also working on IndiAThon, trying to read as many books by Indigenous authors as I can in November, I think that’s going to go into December. Finally I’m getting ready to set up my Christmas challenges.
Try to start looking at the technical side of blogging.
I think this needs to be my goal in the new year right now my focus seems to be own posting every day.
This was a great panel and one of the more useful ones for me. The panel was moderated by Veronica Roth who is most famous for herDivergent series, Jennifer L Armentrout, who is famous for herLux Series along with many other paranormal romances. Traci Chee, who is famous for herThe Reader series. Somaiya Daud who is famous for her Mirageseries. Jordan Ifueko who is famous for her breakout hit Raybearer and Samantha Shannon who is famous for her The Bone Season series.
When asked how much research they do Traci Chee noted she did the least work possible for her fantasy books such as the Reader. But that she was more detailed and exact with her books like We are Not Free, because she was dealing with real people’s lives and experiences.
Jordan Ifueko said she started with myths and lore because that informs who a culture is. She notes that she starts with mythology she finds it easier to find out how characters would react once you know what they believe.
Somaiya Daud, says she likes to get into the weeds of history on Scrivener, she says she likes to save her worldbuilding knowing she isn’t going to use it in the story. She pointed out she had a two thousand year time line where only two events appear in the story and that she’s big on historiography. She said she had an inner Toliken in her head.
Jordan Ifueko talked about how Raybearer was coded as real world cultures, but where the power struggles didn’t come from issues of European colonization like they did in the ‘real’ world.
Somaiya Doud also talked about how she based a lot of her stuff is how folktales are told in Morocco. vs how North African women actually are. She talked about having familiar cultural markers then making up stuff around it so people from that culture see the familiar marker in story. Doud also talked about adding information the same way Dragon Age does via like a codex system.
The whole panel agreed that the one religion fantasy trope was unbelievable. Because the one thing people fight about in the real world more than anything is religion. So it would totally happen in a fantasy world.
Marie Lu asked about what they were currently working on,
Z Brewer is apparently doing some video game type stuff at the moment which sounded super interesting.
Adam Sass is working on a rom-com and a story on teen fugitives.
Kalynn Bayron is working on an MG paranormal project.
They all agreed that dark stories were a good place to work through your own issues or larger issues like the patriarchy.
They had some thoughts on how to build a villain. The panel noted that you should be able to see the story from the villain point of view. Think about villainy itself, why are women always the villains. Also think about morally grey characters. Are there villains’ who are being evil for evil’s sake?
Heros in dark stories deserve agency and demand to be respected, survival in a dark story is not enough.
Z Brewer or Adam Sass said queer people often process trauma through humor which I thought was just an interesting note from the panel.
When writing dark stories you need to remind yourself your characters will have some kick ass scenes beating the villains’ at the end even if they are in a dark place at the moment.
Z Brewer also noted that self care during/after writing the book was important.
Kalynn Bayron pointed out the importance of thearpy.
Finally when asked about the MG/YA line for dark stories, the authors agreed that for MG it can’t feel as personal, there needs to be some sort of shield mechanism either through point of view or the way the story is framed. They all agreed that MG can have the same themes just make them more I hate to say softer but assessable.
I read 6 books for Indigathon, most of them were picture books because honestly I couldn’t find that many stories about Indigenous people that were actually written by Indigenous people. This is all the more reason I’m looking forward to The Fire Keepers Daughter because I can wait to see more #OwnVoice middle grade and YA fiction. Another part of what I had available to read was the pandemic, some things I wanted to get like Indian No More, weren’t available as eBooks and I don’t have a way to get to the library. Reviews of what I did get a chance to read as well as me looking out for more Indigenous content will be soon to follow this post.
Something I also noticed when reading books that while the authors were Indigenous the illustrators weren’t. I’d love to see more work from Indigenous illustrators, I’ll have to look around on Twitter for picture book illustrators.
The panel spent a lot of time talking about how to approach gay origin tales from a structural level. Like making the myths queer. They also examined why the use of modern terms feels weird in a fantasy setting is it just something we’re trained that feel contemporary?
A couple of the books they suggested for reading were (and I agree)
Moderated again by the wonderful Brendan Reichs. This panel was filled with some big names such as Stephanie Garber who is most famous for her Caraval series. Marie Lu who is famous for her LEGEND series, though I’m currently enjoying her Skyhunter series as well. There was Tochi Onyebuchi is famous for his War Girls duology. Finally we had Garth Nix, a fantasy name whose been working for years and basically has too much work to pick from, but is probably most famous for things like Sabriel.
The panelists were talking about how subconsciously they will know its series even if they don’t know consciously yet.
Onyebuchi talked about how if he still had really cool content that didn’t fit into book one that meant that there needed to be a book two.
Reichs asked them how they kept track of details.
Garber said she kept notes.
Onyebuchi praised the features of Scrivener when when writing characters and linking all character details
And Marie Lu pointed out she never reread her old stuff, which became an issue sometimes when she was writing books related to her universe she created. She also asked the others if they ever had a character who just wouldn’t go away, she pointed out Thomas from Legend as one who was supposed to be a throwaway character.
Garber talked about a character she wrote for book to for the Caraval series who ended up taking over the book, and how she ended up having to pull back and make him a minor character.
Garber asked the other panelists if they ever cheated with their work, ie. brought someone back who should by their universes rules be dead, mess with details a bit?
Lu said she tried to keep it solid eariler in the series but felt like it was okay to mess with it later in the series.
Onyebuchi compared it to Marvel ret-con and didn’t see a problem with it.
Someone I don’t remember who, said to avoid the sagging middle you beat the characters up in the middle.
Lu also said readers expect different things from different books in the series, with the first book, they want a fun fast read, with the 2nd they want more of the characters and more emotional arcs, and with the 3rd they wand a resolution.
Reichs asked about how do you deal with the fanbase hating your ending, the consensus was that you can only make yourself happy. You can’t make all your fans happy no matter what you write and that you can only hate something that you love.
Finally some last advice on writing a series was to put breadcrumbs you can follow if you want to revisit the book, nothing huge the fans would see but enough you can pick up on and link another book off of. Marie Lu also suggested something called an ID pass where you put as many of your favorite tropes that make you happy in the book and do a pass looking to see where you can fit those. The main idea of the panel seemed to be put everything you love into the book or books that you are writing.