3 S.R. Johannes: Decatur Book festival recap

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Decatur Book festival recap

NEWSFLASH

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Decatur Book Fest

Had the best weekend.

Not only was most of it spent with my family. But on Saturday, I spent the whole day in Decatur amongst writer friends, gorge weather, and frawesome panels.

Hung out with Jennifer Jabaley (Lipstick Apology), book trailer guru, Vania, Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall, DemonGlass), Myra McEntire (Hourglass, 2011, Egmont), Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch, Hyperion 2011) and Michelle Hodkin (THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, S&S 2011).

Some authors I got a chance to chill with were Carrie Ryan (yes you heard that right! Holy crap right and she was a sweetie pie ) and the always-hilarious, Jackson Pearce.

Panel - Chicken Nuggets of Brilliance

Romantic Realism, Realistic Romance with Terra Elan McVoy (author of Pure and After the Kiss) and David Leviathan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
  • The mechanics of romance is not what grabs teens. Its the emotional romance.
  • Think about what makes it real. Love is not perfect so when a love scene is - its boring
  • The awkward moments are where the realness lies.
  • Sometimes romance is impacted by the surroundings and what is happening
  • Pull from real life - but ask what if to change the scenarios. What if I hadn't had my first kiss. What if my first kiss was good? bad?
  • Romance i funny not serious. Funny moments are always buried under the glistening eyes and puffy lips.
Creating a Fantastical World with Jessica Verday (The Hollow), Kathleen Duey (Skin Hunger), Saundra Mitchell (Shadowed Summer), Cinda Williams Chima (The Exiled Queen)
  • Make the world believable so when you introduce the unbelievable, the reader buys into it.
  • If you are writing fantasy - read historical books to learn about essentials like communities, plagues, sickness, government etc
  • You can create a fictional town in a real world to make it your own.You can create bible for made up worlds.
  • University of Idaho is a great resource for research.
  • Don't invent characters, interview them.
  • Setting should be from characters POV. If they are in their house - they would not describe their sofa unless they tripped over it. Do not describe things that the character knows only do what the reader cannot assume.
Zombies vs Vampires Smackdown with Alyx Harvey (Blood Feud) and Carrie Ryan (Forest of Hands & Teeth)
  • Writers take too much time away from writing. get away from the Internet and be sure you are writing on your book a little everyday.
  • Carrie Ryan wrote every night when she got home from practicing law and read the chapters to her husband
  • Both authors wanted strong characters that could take care of themselves.
  • Both always think their books are not good when they are writing it.
  • When you get stuck - ask yourself "What is the very worst that can happen" and do it.
  • In moments of tension you can either blow something up or kiss.
  • It is important in a series to have character arcs in each book as well as an overarching series arc that connects it all together.
Real Issues in an unreal world with Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall books) and Nancy Werlin (ExtraOrdinary)
  • Kids face same issues. The paranormal aspects highlights the strangeness that adolescents feel on a daily basis.
  • Paranormal is so hot b/c kids want to escape. Or they want to feel special.
  • Hope the move is towards funnier paranormal but paranormal will always be hot. Yet there will always be another trend.
After the panels, I went to dinner with Myra, Rachel, Victoria, Michelle, Vania and some other girls. We ate, had a beer and laughed.

The things I love most about these kinds of events are:
  • the energy you get from other writers
  • how close each of us really is to being the next big book (yet it seems so far)
  • the little nuggets of brilliance I always seem to find
  • getting to know the authors and listening to their journeys as well as their struggles along the way
  • talking about my writing and reading passion with people who get it
  • realizing - once again - I am not alone in this crazy publishing world
  • creating everlasting bonds and friendships
  • expanding my support system
  • buying other authors books, knowing I am supporting their dream
And still - I am always amazed at how I feel I know people just from meeting them online. I know this weekend, I've met a lifetime of friends in just one day.

Any of these nuggets grab you the most?

18 comments:

Renae said...

Oh my gosh, it sounds like you had an amazing time! Thanks for sharing with us!

Kelly said...

It is amazing and wonderful how blogs can create real friendships!
That sounds like an awesome time!!!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love the romance/kissing advice. Thanks, Shelli!

KM said...

I really wanted to go to the Zombies/Vampires panel, but I was unfortunately working that day. Sunday was great, though! Cassandra Clare and Jackson Pearce were the highlights for me, I think. :)

Reverie said...

it was as always so awesome to hang with you! no ownder i forget you have kids. ur just too fun!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow! You got to meet so many awesome authors. I've always admired Carrie Ryan because she wrote her first book while in law school. I can't imagine how she did that. The advice to get off the Internet and write is so true.

Carolyn V. said...

AW! It sounds like so much fun.

Tere Kirkland said...

That sounds so awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience. Maybe next year...

Jessie Oliveros said...

I liked the 'kiss or blow something up!'

Melissa said...

I can't believe I didn't know about the DBF until last week. I'm definitely going to go next year.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great tidbits! Thanks for sharing!

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Excellent overview. I missed a lot of these authors because I spent most of my day around the kids stage (which is kind of like sitting at kid's table during holiday meals--I just KNEW all the good stuff was happening 'over there!'). Hearing your recap helps.

DL Hammons said...

I was in Atlanta this past weekend and read about this festival but I couldn't fit it into my tight schedule. I would have loved to meet you though. :(

Susan R. Mills said...

I love the romance nuggets. I have a little of that in everything I write. These were some great tips. Thanks!

roxy said...

I've heard so many amazing things about the Decatur festival. Thanks for sharing those nuggets, Shelli. I learned a lot from them, and it's always inspiring to hear from other authors. Great post!

Lola Sharp said...

Thanks for the recap! Love the blow-up/kiss advice. :)

I'm glad you had a wonderful time!

~Lola

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Sounds like you had a pretty fab time! I would've loved to go! And such great people to chill with.

Thanks for sharing all of the great info you picked up, too!

Katie said...

That looks like so much fun!