It's late, and I'm exhausted, but I promised you guys a post today about my adventures at Teen Book Con. This is my third year at the con, and this is one of the most fun years I've experienced. I met so many wonderful authors, and I finally grabbed so many books that I've been meaning to read. I'll make sure that I'll list all of the books I got below, and I'm going to share a snippet of some of the panel questions and answers for everyone interested in writing.
One moment that meant a lot to me was listening to Veronica Roth talk about how she got into writing. When she was around eleven, she realized that everyone else had stopped playing make believe outside, and she started to channel that into her writing. I started on a very similar path with my writing, so it was amazing to hear that our stories are so similar in that regard. I also just found out that Veronica Roth was 23 when Divergent came out which I find really cool. I read those books in Middle School before I even read the Hunger Games and before I was really aware of authors so it was interesting to learn more about Veronica as a person!
Beyond that, I wanted to give special mentions to some of my favorite panelists today. Angie Thomas was, of course, amazing. She had us all in stitches with every word that came out of her mouth. Caleb Roehrig and Don Zolidis were also amazing additions to the panels. Every author I heard from or met was so wonderful, and I loved the underlying theme of the whole event. Authors really encouraged the teens, readers, and writers in the audience to write and live their honest truths freely and without shame which is wonderful, empowering, and important.
Below is a snippet of some of the general questions and answers from all the panels. Most author responses are paraphrased versions because panels move fast (and it's hard to keep up with all my notes!). Also, these may be generalized versions of specific questions the authors were asked, but I wanted to group as many in as possible!
How Do You Keep Your Plot Interesting?
Don Zolidis: Drive your plot by having characters make choices to make it more active.
Faith Erin Hicks: Have their motivations come from a personal place.
Lamar Giles: The momentum of your story comes in revision. It helps your find your key plot points and place interesting moments into each of the chapters.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Always have multiple mysteries to push your stories forward. Along with your A mystery have a B and C that are smaller or more personal to let you unlock something about one mystery in each chapter.
Caleb Roehrig: Find a counterpoint plot to your mystery.
How Do You Beat Writers Block?
Don Zolidis and Erin Faith Hicks: Going for walks is great inspiration.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Three types of writers block: 1. Something is Already Wrong- Go back to the last thing you wrote to try to identify any issues. 2. Burn Out- You're overworked and need a break. Take one. 3. It's Just Hard- Sometimes writing isn't fun, and you just have to keep going.
What's Your Writing Process?
Don Zolidis: Outlining first before writing linearly.
Kiersten White: Always knows the ending but has to write linearly to get there. The beginning gives the building blocks for the end.
Caleb Roehrig: Using an outline keeps him honest to the story when writing a mystery. It also helps with pacing and building up the story.
Where Do You Find Inspiration?
Don Zolidis: Allowing empty brain space is important to creativity. It allows you to daydream and let your head explore new things. He also pulls pieces from life or interesting random facts.
Sabina Khan: Listening to people in coffee shops, around the house, or on TV.
Strangest Fan Encounter?
Lamar Giles: Once had a fan send a letter to his personal address (which isn't posted) asking to hang out. It was disconcerting...
To see all of the books I got signed at Teen Book Con, see what the authors wrote, and hear more stories from Teen Book Con, make sure you follow me on Instagram: @readingwritingandme to check it out in the stories.
Past Book Con Reviews: Here
Links of Interest:
Into YA with Erin Hahn: Here
You'd Be Mine: Review Here
Meet Me In Outer Space: Review Here
Is YA For Me? Here