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July 02, 2012



I really like this! I think that post was the perfect length-actually I'd like to hear more!

S Blackburn

This is a great idea! I enjoy learning about your writing process and how you put things together. There is so much more to it than I could have imagined. Thank you for sharing!


I think this length is fine! I'm not actually going to (re)read along cause my copy of Princess Academy is trapped in a box in our storage unit, so a little extra length is fine with me. ;)


My question actually stems not from the first chapter, but from what you wrote on the title page of my copy: "You got to miss algebra for this" (meaning the book signing). Question: Why are you so awesome?


I also liked the length and would like to hear more. It is crazy to hear all the work that went into writing such an amazing book! When you were editing, would you stay on one chapter until you thought it was right, or go back later on as you edited the whole book?


Please, don't restrain yourself! Reading your thoughts is quite interesting and the length was definitely not too long. I'm amazed that the first chapter took so many rewrites. My daughter loves to write, but she doesn't like to edit so much. She's been shocked to learn that a friend of mine (who has her first book coming out in September) had to change things and change them again in the process of writing Redemption. I think she might not have totally believed that that was typical for professional writers so now here's a second witness that it is indeed.

I was wondering how you came up with the names of the characters.

Jaya Lakshmi

I agree; it's good for us beginner writers to see the thought process when crafting an opening chapter. Please keep posting these, Shannon; I only hope that you do the same for other books.


I loved the length of the post! I think it's so interesting to read about how you wrote Princess Academy and to get to see it a little bit through your eyes. To echo what the others have said, don't feel like you need to keep your posts succint! It's so fun to hear as much as we can :) Also, I think that for all the readers who may have stopped ecause Miri was thinking in the first chapter, there's got to be at least twice as many who keep reading because they just have to know if anything happens with Miri and Peder :) (as well as because your writing style is beautiful and you create characters that we can't help but love!)


I like that you pointed out all the writer no-nos in this first chapter; it's a nice reminder that breaking rules does not break a book (completely subjective, of course).


First, I think we all agree: the length is fine and we're all for you making your posts even longer!

Second, this was the first book of yours I read and what made me fall in love with you as an author is how you didn't just create a story, but you also created entire cultures. In my opinion the very best authors in the world are the ones that remember to include a culture into their tales. The songs, the sayings, the daily chores--all of the pieces fit the puzzle perfectly so that we're able to see the picture. Another (outside) example of an author including culture in a book that just made the story resonate all the more with me is "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe. In one scene a small child sneezes and the father who is an African tribesman doesn't say "God bless you" (of course). He says "life to you." That minute detail won my heart just as all of your little details have won and warmed my heart.

Ashley R.

I loved this! Do not feel like you have to make it shorter, it is summer after all. Right? :) I loved your insights! As others have commented, you should do this for your other books.

Merry Michelle

Having recently read the book, I loved this post. I can't wait until you talk about the chapter where they bargain their way back into the school. My favorite.


Don't keep is short, please! It's like those 'behind the scenes' extras that I get to watch of my favorite movies, I always want more, more, more. Reading this post, I gobbled up your thoughts. Princess Academy was the first of your books that I read, too, so this book club you are doing thrills me out of my gourd. Yes, gourd.


Personally, I found the post a bit short. I definitely wouldn't mind you rambling on a bit more...it's always such a treat when authors share their mind about their stories. :)

Regarding all those red flags you mentioned...I rather like the slow pace of Princess Academy. It lends a really tranquil, dream-like state to the whole story, making it more fairy-talish. I don't know, I loved it. And I remember I shoved my copy on my friend, and I would bug her all the time, "How far are you?" And she would always groan and go, "But when will the story even BEGIN?!" I guess this style really does not resonate with some readers, huh? Haha. I for one am over the moon at a month full of Miri and Peder blogposts. :D


I agree with LadyWrimo about liking the slow pace of Princess Academy. I never really thought about exactly why, but I think she's right about the tranquil, dream-like state making it more like a fairy tale. It's the same reason I loved the Bayern series. The story-telling and development of the characters and settings is just phenomenal. I have trouble picturing stories in my mind as I read them. I'm one of those that when people say to close my eyes and imagine what they describe, I usually just can't. And, yet, I have absolutely no trouble at all picturing exactly what's going on as I read Princess Academy. Perhaps it's the slow pace or perhaps it's just really great descriptions, but whatever it is, I appreciate it because it makes the story come that much more alive to me.


Love it! This is great training for those who wish to be a writer (like me!). Princess Academy is one of my favorite books and I'm so glad you are doing this.


I just have to say that almost nothing made me cry until my son was born, and now almost everything does! Isn't motherhood AWESOME!?! :D


I am so excited to revisit this book and also see everything you have to add! For me, this has been one of those books that's ALWAYS been there, and for such a long time. I read it with a very solid movie in my head now :)
I also agree with LadyWrimo and Heather. The slow pace of this novel is oen of the things that's made it so special for me. The five pages of Miri thinking are perfectly plausible since it's the beginning of the story and (in my opinion) necessary for setting up the basis of...everything.
And the jokes. I /love/ the jokes. They never fail to make me giggle, and oh, I just love this book so much.

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