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July 06, 2012



Wow, this is the first time I've seen a post without any comments yet... Question: Are you going to do a summet book club for Palace of Stone?

Susan Hill Long

Thank you for this generous series, Shannon. We've never met, but your posts make me feel as though I have a good writer-friend beside me while I'm working. Thanks!


How funny that you hear your own characters' names in different ways. I switched how I pronounce Katar in my head while reading the fifth chapter. I like my new way better lol

I think I would have made the same decision of scholarship over friends that Miri made. Even those she thought were friends have kind of shunned her at the Academy so I know I'd be constantly second guessing and wondering if my friends were really friends. Kind of feeling like I'd been burned so then I'd be extra insecure. On the other hand, focusing on learning has a real potential payoff of being the Academy Princess and perhaps the real princess one day. Plus, education and learning is always a good thing and will be beneficial to her whether she ends up Academy Princess or not.

I loved reading the description of Miri learning to read. My 5 year old has been working on learning to read for several months now and it's been so fun to see him first figure out the letters and then make those into words and then go on from there until now when he can read an easy reader all by himself and understand and enjoy it. I love to read and as each of my kids have learned how (3 out of 4 so far; the fourth is four years old and still in the recognizing just the individual letters stage of reading), I've marveled over how a new world (many worlds!) is really opened up when you know how to read. It's almost like magic.


That's interesting about you "seeing" the characters' names more than "hearing"--I'm the opposite; I read slowly (not on purpose) and hear prominent words of every sentence, so names have to have a concrete pronunciation in my head.

Also--while working on other books and gathering ideas for Princess Academy, did you ever feel impatient to get on with things, or just happy to let the story build?


On page one of Austenland, Shannon refers to the "busty English actress" who plays "the Elizabeth Bennet we had imagined" -- wrong. Jennifer Ehle is a Tony award winning Broadway American actress with an American linage in the theatre. American!

Hannah B.

With the name thing, I am exactly the same way. I didn't realize Kreacher, from Harry Potter, was a funny name until my sister said "Isn't it funny that his name is Kreacher?" Then I caught on. Sometimes I like how a name looks, but when I hear it pronounced correctly, I don't like it as much.


I also internalize more how a name looks than how it sounds when reading. Sometimes I'll read entire series and, when I get to the end and start to talk to people about the books, have no idea how to pronounce the names of the characters! It kinds of makes me laugh. Peder's name is one I did that with -- and, even now that I have thought about it, I still pronouce it differently from time to time.
I, like Miri, would have picked scholarship over friendship. There have been several instances in my life where I have done so, though to a lesser degrees than Miri.
Also, I didn't actually realize Jennifer Ehle was American until I read the Austenland section of Shannon's website and read what she wrote about the mistakes in Austenland. I honestly had no idea -- it was interesting for me to learn she was American!


I didn't like Katar at first, so I always pronounced her name like catarrh, because I thought she deserved an unpleasant-sounding name - not so once I read the chapter where she and Miri talk.


If you wrote a series would you outline the text more beforehand?


Thank you for these wonderful behind the scenes notes! As an aspiring writer, sometimes when I'm struggling I wonder how I'm ever going to create such a great story as the ones I love to read. It's so nice to know that published authors that I love struggled writing too!


A question I just thought of! How long does it usually take you to plan and write? Once you have an idea, does it just flow out, or do you have to sit down and plan out everything that's going to happen in the plot? Or do you just let things happen? These may have been asked before, but I don't remember the answers! :)


When you actually start to write, after all the outlining and such, do you start with CHAPTER 1 and divide up the book from there, or just write until your story is told?
By the way, this is the COOLEST thing any author has EVER done!! Thank you so much for taking time to walk us through your book!

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