Game of Thrones

YA Buccaneers Spring Writing Bootcamp: Week Five Check-In

Last week was busy and exciting—and yet also somewhat restful. Since my writing goals were minimal while I was waiting for feedback from my agent, I took the opportunity to cross some other things off my to-do list. Of course, I did my usual share of freelance work. But I also read a lot. I wrote up a few blog posts in advance. I booked some travel for May. I got a much-needed haircut. I had a rehearsal for a dance performance that's coming up this Saturday. I prepared the apartment for the Game of Thrones premiere party my husband and I hosted last night. (And who else is super excited for what GoT Season 4 has in store for us?!) Oh, and I had lunch with my editor in midtown, which is one of the great perks of living in NYC. We talked about what's next in the publishing process for THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, and we compared notes on what we've been reading recently, and it was lovely. But the biggest thing that happened last week? I got my first glimpse of my book's cover! I'd been anxiously waiting for that moment, and it did not disappoint. The cover is beautiful, and I can't stop looking at it. I also can't wait to be able to share the final version with everyone! Stay tuned for cover reveal information in the weeks ahead… :)

Now back to my writing goals, since that's what this bootcamp is about. This week, I'll be working on a synopsis of my YA WIP. I'm not quite sure how long it will take—synopses can be tricky beasts. Luckily, I do have most of the book mapped out already, either in actual draft form or in bullet points. When the synopsis is done, after I've made a few small tweaks to the first three chapters, I think I'll dive into Chapter 4 and beyond. While I've first-drafted many more chapters than that, I recently changed from 3rd person to 1st and tweaked a major character's role, so I want to kind of simultaneously revise/re-draft the parts that are already written to reflect the new beginning.

So that's it for now!

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Kate Scott

Angel Leigh

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Winter Bayne

Emma L. Adams

Riley Darkes

Friday Reads: "A Clash of Kings" — plus a plea for book recs!

So I finally finished George R. R. Martin's second Song of Ice and Fire book, A Clash of Kings! While I loved the first book, A Game of Thrones, it was in reading this one that I truly realized what a great writer Martin is. Some passages from A Clash of Kings were just incredibly beautiful. There were certain passages of prose—particularly Bran's wolf dreams and some of the descriptions of the world beyond the Wall—that I read more than once because I wanted to experience them fully. It was that slow, savoring reading style, combined with the sheer length of the book and depth of the storytelling, that made this a two-week read. (Luckily, har har, I still had something to blog about last Friday...) Clash of Kings

I am in awe of Martin's world-building. The appendices at the back of the book alone are astonishing. He lists every member of every House, from the lords and ladies and their descendants (living and deceased, including certain bastards) down to the squires and maesters and many other servants. And read as a companion to the TV show, which I LOVE, the books provide so much nuance and depth. I spent a lot of time telling my husband, "So, you know how in the show, this character does this? In the book, this character actually has that same interaction with this other character, but then the characters come together again at this other place, and also there's this character that isn't in the show... Oh, and these characters that weren't on the show until Season 3 first appear in Book Two..."

Anyway. I really enjoyed this book and am sure I will enjoy the third in the series when I get around to it! But in the meantime, I've got a stack of books to read that's growing ever taller. And here's where you come in! I need you to add to my list.

In particular, I am currently interested in reading YA books that show the main character in therapy—individual or group. I recently read Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets (thoughts on that book HERE) and I have picked up the first two Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart. I want to see more examples of teens interacting with a therapist, so if you know of one I must check out, please tell me in the comments!

I also want to read YA books about teens at camp. I'll take any camp books, fun or serious (or both!), but I'd especially love to read about camps that are not your typical summer camp. For instance, I've picked up The Miseducation of Cameron Post and am eager to see how the book's "gay re-education camp" works. Got any other recommendations?

Why am I looking for therapy books and camp books? Let's just say it has to do with a book idea I'm hashing out, and leave it at that. :)

Happy Friday to all!


To Read or Not to Read? (the book of the movie/TV show, that is...)

I've been thinking about this topic A LOT since Sunday night. On Sunday, for those of you who aren't in the know, "Game of Thrones" blew our collective minds with a major plot development (which I won't spoil too much here for reasons delineated later in this very post!). As a writer who understands foreshadowing, and as a person who has read books and watched TV and movies before, I was expecting something bad to happen—but what did happen shot my expectations out of the water. My husband and I actually watched the scene in question with jaws dropped, hands over our mouths—the kind of physical reaction to something shocking that almost looks fake, but is all too real. (If you've seen Sunday's "GoT" episode, look up the reaction videos on YouTube to see examples of the gasping, open-mouthed stares, and yes, cursing that this scene caused.) I dreamed about this scene on Sunday night. I woke myself up thinking about it. Now that I've recovered somewhat, and have seen everyone else's responses online, one of the most interesting things about this whole experience is that I managed to make it to that shocking scene completely unspoiled. Why is that interesting? The book that this season of "GoT" is based on came out in 2000. That's 13 years ago. And these books aren't exactly under the radar. I consciously avoid spoilers, but I've been burned before by people who couldn't wait to post their knowledge of "shocking" TV twists on Facebook. And yet, for this one big event—possibly the biggest shock in George R. R. Martin's entire Song of Ice and Fire series—it was like the people with foreknowledge simply agreed to let us non-readers find out as it happened. (And then film our reactions as their reward...)

That's pretty freakin' cool, if you ask me. The idea that people generally seemed to feel that the non-book-readers deserved to experience the same shock and awe and horror while watching that the book-readers experienced when they read the scene. The idea that some things are just too important to post spoilers all over the Internet. (Which is why I am not posting spoilers for this event here—in case there are any of you left who haven't watched and want to experience it, ahem, Unsullied!)

I usually like to read the source material first, before the movie comes out or the TV show hits it big. I like seeing how my favorite characters and scenes will be interpreted on film. I even kind of like griping that "the book was better." I started watching "Game of Thrones" mid-season-one, and didn't want to read as I watched, but read Book One between seasons one and two of the TV series. And then I stopped. While I enjoyed getting the backstory filled in, seeing the depth of George R. R. Martin's vision of the world he'd created, and even noting the things that had been changed from book to show, I wasn't in a hurry to read Book Two. In fact, it's sitting on my desk behind my computer as I type this blog post. I'll get to it. I will. But season three of the show has been so surprising, and I have been so enjoying not knowing what's coming next, that I think I'd rather stay behind on the books. At least for now.

But enough about me. (And enough about George R. R. Martin!) Do you read books before their movie/TV show comes out? Do you like spoilers? Or do you prefer to be surprised, even knowing that apparently everyone around you knows what's coming?