Posted in Book Festivals

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block, in a Book Festival panel you’re bound to find at least one panel on the topic. The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival had a few of them, the one I attended were with panelists Rachelle Delaney famous for her book, The Circus Dogs of Prague. Alex de Campi, famous for her large bibliography in comics. Finally Jen Calonita famous for her work on Disney’s Twisted Tales as well as

Moderator: Do you have any rituals when it comes to writing/writer’s block?

de Campi: Don’t be precious. Write when and where you can. Don’t think you just have to write on your sofa at a certain time. If you can find time to write use it.

Calonita; Some days you just have to make it work. Some day once you’re a professional writer you just have to sit down and write even if you don’t want to because it’s your job.

Delaney: Accepting that some days you just can’t make writing work.

de Campi: Get to it when you get it, but the starring out the window is always important too don’t be afraid to do other things to keep your brain inspired.

Moderator: Do you keep notes to help with writer’s block?

de Campi: Yes

Calonita: Post its.

Delaney: Paper notebook notes app.

Moderator: How do you get to a place where things need to be but the story won’t go there?

de Campi: Outline messy sketchy but don’t get stuck in it. You can always fix it later.

Moderator: How do you discover the end of the book as you are writing the book?

Delany: Outline, reoutline as you are writing

Calonita: Think about the saggy middle and how you are going to solve that problem.

de Campi: Plot is what happens. Story is why it happens. Also spend more time in the emotional life of the characters.

Calonita: Write straight through.

de Campi For the first draft of your story.

  1. Forgive yourself and move on.
  2. Don’t make the beginning perfect.
  3. Get used to ending your story.
  4. Put your first book in a drawer for three months and leave it alone.

Calonita: I describe too much in the first draft

Delaney: Everything in you’re writing needs to serve the story.

Calonita: To be a writer you don’t have to write every day.

de Campi: Revise on paper it forces you to pay attention.

Calonita: How do big moments help story progress sometimes you have a big idea and small events and scenes come out from it.

de Campi: Have fun, do your own thing write to your own style, don’t write to the trend.

Calonita: Not every idea you have is going to be turned into a book.

Moderator: Do you find your writing influenced by readers?

de Campi: Your book is not for everyone. Never complain, never explain.

The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival

Posted in Book Festivals

Dark Fantasy

On this panel about Dark Fantasy were: Rena Barron who is famous for her breakout fantasy The Gilded Ones. J. Elle is famous for her fantasy Wings of Ebony. Finally Kiersten White is famous for many books, including the And I Darken trilogy.

Moderator: How do you decide what readers’ first impression is going to be of your fantasy world?

White: It’s more about the soul of the story.

Barron: Dark doesn’t mean bad it just means unknown.

J Elle: What is the most intriguing entry point into the book? How you want to introduce the reader. The hook.

Moderator: Contemporary or full fantasy?

J Elle: I prefer contemporary fantasy

Barron: You get to throw some magic into the regular world.

White: It’s fun to get stuff from other people’s worlds.

Moderator Why Dark Fantasy?

White: I’m telling the story because it has integrity

Barron: I don’t mean to tell a dark fantasy I’m just trying to tell a story.

J Elle: When you go back to stories at different points in your life you get different answers. Darkness is just exploring the unknown.

White: Writing books is also a personal journey for the author that no one but the author can see but they know it’s there.

Moderator: What is everyone currently reading?

Realm Breaker by Victora Avyard

Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Moderator: When adding element from other cultures how do you do so respectfully?

J Elle: Lightly inspired if not your culture. Let Own Voices deal with it if its a major element of the plot.

White: If you are looking at history be careful of your sources. Why are you using these people as a jumping-off point?

Engage things with integrity, responsibility, and love. Also, throw out any extreme sources from either side of a conflict.

Photo by Karsten W├╝rth on Unsplash

Posted in Book Festivals

Worldbuilding:Setting the Stage

Worldbuilding is such an important part of writing. I went to this panel for that reason and plan to go back review the other one offered when I don’t have Zoom fatigue.

The authors on this panel are known for their worldbuilding. Lisa McMann famous for her work on the Unwanteds Universe. Namina Forna best known for her book The Guilded Ones, the first part of a trilogy. and James Ponti, bestselling author of many books but currently working on the City Spies.

Moderator: How and why do you choose the settings?

James: I think about it like TV. Transportation and getting places without adults

Namina: I knew it was going to be set in an African world because I knew I would use my childhood in Benin as a jumping-off point.

Lisa: Environments and experiences.

James also recommended to start a story bible to keep up with all your worlds rules.

Moderator: Would you like to live your world or any other.

Namina: Any world by Holly Black but get out before things get serious because she’s worried she might die.

James; From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basel E. Frankweiler, because who wouldn’t want to spend the night in the library.

Lisa: Artime.

At the end of the panel, they just had some general advice. Namina pointed out the importance of research because you never know where information will come from.

James pointed out some cool fact he learned from researching with real spies. Like they play Assassin on board a ship before its commissioned.

Lisa pointed out the importance of using something you are familiar with as a jumping off point.

Finally they all agree that the world serves the story, it should help push your story along and that logic within your story matters and that you should always follow your own logic. Finally don’t overcomplicate the world you build.

Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

Posted in Book Festivals

Unlikely Heroes

This past Saturday I spent my day at the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival. This was one of the first panels I attended. The topic was of the panel was Unlikely Heroes: the panelists were Morgan Baden, Rena Barron, and Clarie Legrand.

Morgan Baden is most famous for her Daphne and Velma books, Daphne and Velma: The Dark Deception; Daphne and Velma: Buried Secrets. Rena Barron is most famous for her Kingdom of Souls series for young adults.s and her Maya and the Rising Dark Series for middle grade. Claire Legrand is best known for her New York Times bestselling Empirium trilogy, which includes Furyborn and Lightbringer.

Moderator: Where do you what a hero should be like comes from?

Barron: Viewing habits growing up. and all superheroes can be deeply flawed and can be slowly better.

Moderator: Are you trying to write characters as heroes as you are writing them?

Legrand: I set out to write complex female protagonist if they happen to be a heroes it happens.

Barron: If the character is thinking they are a hero things are different. Heroes make rash choices because of family and country.

Moderator: Does every story have a hero?

Not sure who brought this up: Do hero and protagonist mean the same thing?

Claire Legrand: Every story has multiple heroes. The antagonists think they are the heroes. This is a good way to add empathy to the villain to show why they think they are the heroes.

The panel then got into the discussion on why some readers found certain characters unlikeable. The authors agreed that these characters were just complicated or messy characters. That the dislike was something deeper, they questioned why readers didn’t like them. They asked why we wanted to see an unlikeable character. That perhaps unlikeable characters are expressions of our own biasas.

They noted that you could write as many unlikeable characters as you want, just make sure your story has a counter

It was a very interesting panel about the inner workings of character and what to do when a book presents you with an unlikely situation.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash