The first day of BookConline is officially over. As you read this, day 2 will be underway. For those of you who may have missed the panels, I’m sure you’ll be ecstatic to know that they’re all available to re-watch on both the Facebook Group and the Facebook page. I highly recommend checking them out as there was a lot of amazing, insightful things spoken. With that said, it’s time for a recap.
All right, day 1 was amazing. Aside from a small, 20 minute window, I was on all day on Saturday jumping between the group and the page. Every author was vibrant and funny, and the things they said were insightful and true. From talking about stories they wrote as children to confronting the current situations of America—whether it be the riots or the virus—there was no shortage of great content for the viewers. One of the best things was being able to see all these talented writers together. Maybe I’m being dramatic—this is my first BookCon—but it felt like listening to legends speak about their craft. This whole convention encompasses their skill sets. It puts them in their element and lets the shine bright. As a writer and an avid reader, having the chance to watch them, and listen to the things they had to say was eye opening.
With my blog, Beyond Literary, the fundamental premise behind it is trying to bring about change through the power of the written word because literature goes so much deeper than the ink we see on the page. It encompasses our views, our cultures, our voice. It’s all these amazing things, and to hear most of these authors say the same thing and to speak even more so on the matter was mind blowing. The panel Epic YA with Marissa Meyer, Victoria Aveyard, Nic Stone, and Adam Silvera was so much more than what I thought it would be. I can say the same about the Raise Your Voice and TRANScending the Binary in YA panels. Everyone was honest, and something that really struck me, and will probably stay with me for a long time, was what one of them said.
“It’s a novelists job to say what cannot be said with words.”
This line hit so hard for me, and I hope it touched other people, too. Every time I pick up a book, or I write a line for a new story, I try to put myself into every aspect. If it’s a story where I have no relating to the character—like a male living in an apocalyptic society—I try to see things from their perspective. That’s one of the most amazing features of a story. Novels show us the things in the world that need to be seen, and heard. We, as authors, give people this ability to see the world from other eyes. We give our readers the chance to step into another person’s shoes and see what it’s like to walk those few steps. For us as readers, we’re given this amazing opportunity that can either be eye opening to the world, or hit so close to home it’s almost scary, but also comforting. It lets us know that we’re not alone; there are other people who have gone through the same things, had the same thoughts, and maybe even the same reactions to certain situations. When we can connect with a character in such a way, we’re given a sense of hope and familiarity.
Another author said a unique quote, though they couldn’t remember the name to the person who’d made it. I looked it up, and this is what it was: “All fiction is largely autobiographical and much autobiography is, of course, fiction.” — P. D. James
I’ll let that quote sit with you as I wrap up this blog post. One of the last notes I want to go over is for all the writers’ out there. We start out with this brilliant mindset of wanting to make stories that take others on a journey. We want to make books, and fairytales that tell epic adventures whether it be Dystopian, Romance, Sci-fi, or any other genre; most of us probably set out to create these works without ever realizing some of the underlying themes we end up covering. Victoria Aveyard was talking about her Red Queen series, which has a lot of revolution throughout it. She wrote the story from 2012, ending it around the time of the Trump Administration. A lot of what was happening around here ended up being reflected in the books. Authors are a voice of their surroundings; this aspect of writing should never change.
I understand that people often use books as an escape. That’s what reading was to me—and still is sometimes—when I was in school. As I’ve grown, though, and I realize just how out of tune I am with the going ons in the world around me, I’m thankful that books have this part to them. It lets the reader make these connections with actual events. We don’t become as oblivious to what’s happening. I’m a little ashamed to say just how out of tune with things I am, but after the panels yesterday I’m making it a goal to become more aware and to do better. There’s a lot in the world that can be changed, and there’s a lot in the world that has to be changed. This means baby steps. “If you want to change the world, change the things around you first.” Another quote by one of the amazing authors yesterday in the Raise Your Voice panel.
Speaking on that panel, I want to bring to attention an amazing book that I found thanks to it. Parachutes by Kelly Yang. As soon as I heard about it, I downloaded a sample and ended up buying the kindle version. I haven’t finished it yet—it’s super long with an incredible 85 chapters—but it is amazing. The story revolves around these two girls, Claire Wang and Dani De La Cruz, who become host sisters when Claire is shipped off from her wealthy home in Shanghai to California. The story covers some sensitive topics such as sexual harassment and rape. There is a warning after the dedication page stating as much; I understand these topics can be triggering to people, and difficult for others to read, but books like these that touch on the hard discussions and topics are the ones that often help move us in the right direction to change.
I’ll do a full review on it once I’m done, and I’ll also be uploading some pictures on Instagram, highlighting the book with some thoughts on it from what I’ve read thus far. I would 100% recommend checking it out.
Alright, if you’ve stuck with me this far, kudos to you. The post is about to wrap up, but I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moments from day 1. First would have to be seeing James Murray in the Thrillers panel from 11:40-12:20. I never knew he wrote a trilogy, so that was a cool discovery. Impractical Jokers is a show that has me laughing hard enough to cry at least once during an episode. Karin Slaughter was also amazing during it. She seems so funny, but deadpan at the same time; also, she’s quick on her feet with replies which I find great for dialogue study.
Second favorite, the Stuff Should Know panel that kicked off BookConline. I’m happy to say I’m subscribed to the podcast now, and I’m very excited to learn more stuff that I should know. It’s great material if you’re a writer and you want to add some quirky aspects to your book. Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark also releasing a novel soon, so that’s very exciting. I’ll definitely be covering it more in the next Book Updates post, coming your way probably in the next week or so.
Third favorite, Nic Stone’s son coming in during the Epic YA panel to tell her he’s going for ice cream. Talk about melt your heart a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e.
Fourth favorite, it has to be the final panel on the BookConline Group where Holly Black was joined with Claribel Ortega, Daniel José Older, Isabel Sterling, Kat Cho, and Zoraida Cordova. They were amazing, and funny, and it was a perfect end to the first day.
Side Note: Daniel has a book coming out this Tuesday. Definitely check it out!
Of course, I have to highlight my all-time favorite part of BookConline Day 1, which has to be the Stupid $#!+ I Wrote When I Was Young panel. Some stories, let me tell you, were stomach clutching, shoulders shaking, tears streaming good. This panel is one of my dream panels. To hear about these amazing people who are so successful in their field, talk about things they wrote as children and teenagers—it’s exactly like seeing old sketches from your favorite artist. I loved it, and I think it’s something any author can relate to as they listen back on some of those stories. For a reader, it’s an absolute gold mine of a journey.
I believe that about wraps up my recap and thoughts on day 1. There’s more I have to say, but I touched pretty well on what I think was important, for now. If you’ll believe it, I actually ended up taking notes at various points in panels because some things they were saying were words I don’t want to forget. With that being said, you can go back through and watch all these amazing people speak and chat with one another on the Facebook Page and Group, so definitely check it out. You won’t regret it, and to those checking out the second, and final day today, let’s have a blast! Until the next post.
All the best.