Friday, August 16, 2013

Go Teen Writers Virtual Writing Retreat - Friday Lunch Giveaway!

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

Hey, all you writing retreaters! Having fun so far? I hope you're all meeting your goals.

Don't forget to eat lunch. O-o

In case you just arrived, welcome to the Go Teen Writers Virtual Writing Retreat weekend. Today through Sunday we're posting questions and giveaways on the blog, but we've also created a Go Teen Writers email loop for further discussion. You can find it here:


Here's my question for this discussion post: What's the last book you read that stayed with you and made you think? What did it make you think about? Why was it so powerful? How can we create  stories that makes readers think? What does it take to create this kind of impact with our stories?

Enter to win the Dystopian Prize Pack!





A paperback copy of Captives by Jill Williamson and an advance reader copy of Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen. (Click on the titles to read more about each book on Amazon.com. Also, these paperbacks are available for U.S. residents only due to the expense of international shipping, but we will work out an alternative for international winners.)


67 comments:

  1. Gook luck on the writers retreat! I hope that all of you have a great time and make lots of progress on your stories. :)

    I love the cover art for your new book, Jill. Were did you get the idea for this new story?

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  2. The last book I read that made me really think was The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker. It stayed in my head for days afterward, but I have no idea what made it so powerful. :P

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  3. Fearless, by Cornelia Funke, was amazing. I think I thought more about style and plot than love or morals, but it was really good. A morally-thought-provoking book I read recently was out of my comfort zone-- a contemporary fiction called Dear Blue Sky, by Mary Sullivan.

    This retreat is excellent so far.

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  4. I can't really think of the LAST book I read that stayed with me and made me think... but one of my friends is writing at book and I'm on the beta-reader list for it. The book tackles the serious subjects of depression, suicide, and slave-contracts. And she doesn't try to sugar-coat anything either! It's made me cry, laugh, get mad at her, and so on. So I'd say she has a winner ^^

    I think to creat a book like that it has to have a meaningful theme and message, and also characters that are relatable and realistic.

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  5. This week, even though I have work and am having issues with my family not being supportive of the time this takes, I have finished editing three (almost four) chapters toward my goal of finishing my books 2nd draft by Oct. 10th. I started mid-July and am halfway through.

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  6. The last book I read that made me think is the one I am reading right now, Dragonwitch by Anne Stengl. I can't help but feel like the Smallman, to small to do anything of worth in life.

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  7. The last book(s, actually) I read that really made me think were the Lord of the Rings books. I love them SO much. I literally locked myself in my bedroom for a week reading them. It was intense.

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  8. Hard questions... Captives, Chasing Jupiter, The Angel Eyes Trilogy... though, the book that's stuck with me the most is a book I read almost exactly a year ago... Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke. It makes me think about the horrible things that are happening, some of which we don't even know about, and it makes me want to fight to end the slavery that still takes place in America and other places. I think any book about slavery- especially a slavery that is still going on is going to affect you. If we take a subject that is a "think heavy" subject I guess, it will make others think. I'm not entirely sure how to answer this. :) I think it takes prayer, and inspiration, and thinking out own stories through.

    I've been doing quite a bit of writing on a novella that I'll be submitting to a writing contest in December. :)

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  9. I haven't finished the book yet, but the Book Thief is very thought provoking. This would be one of the books that will stay with me for a long time.

    I started brainstorming for a short story that I want to finish this weekend.

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  10. For me, it was Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. It made me think about a lot of things: how some people know the truth but deny it out of fear, how God can use anyone, and how much He loves everyone, even bad people. It's an incredible book, the kind where you get attached to the characters and can't help thinking about them the rest of the day . . . and week.

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  11. Yes! Definitely The Book Thief! It really makes you think about how very short life is and the value of every single moment. Also, the fact that the narrator was Death was just plain amazing!

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  12. I just read Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green, and it was incredible. The details about the battle, the medical practices, and life for slaves was crazy good. Plus it made me think about how many people were affected by the Civil War,not just soldiers, and how the different sides felt and everything they went through.

    This week I have tried to write every day, at least 500 words (But most of the time it becomes longer). Doing so, I practice my writing skills and my ability to form characters, stories, and worlds.

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  13. I guess Divergent. I liked the themes of it about fear and conquering. I have the tendency to worry so it was neat reading about a protagonist that conquered her darkest fears.

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  14. The book that I last read that made me think was Star Girl. It is very interesting and made me think about being different and to just be yourself.

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  15. I absolutely loved To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It's one of my favorite books. The characters are incredible and the writing is just...flawless.

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    1. And this week I have been working on plotting, not the most exciting but something that is definitely needed.

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  16. The most recent truly powerful book I read was "Secret Believers" by Brother Andrew. I read it in February and still think about it regularly. It's eye opening to read about how devoted Christians are in much harder situations than ours.

    My top most thought provoking fiction story is probably "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn.

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  17. The last fiction book I read that made me think was "Howard's End" by E.M. Forster. It's not the most exciting classic, but just when it gets boring you know that a huge plot twist is about to happen! There were a lot of clever lines in there that I could relate to, but not fully understand. Which made me think.

    That is the key to making people think with fiction - you have to first draw them in by writing characters and prose they relate to and sympathize with. To know what people will relate to - you have to observe the world. Talk to people. Hear their stories. Store them away in your brain for future use.

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  18. As for working on my dream, I edited a ton of my novel after letting it lie stagnant for months. It feels SO good to be writing again and I am confident that this is what I was meant to do. *happy sigh*

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  19. I just finished reading one of Frank Perreti's older books called "Piercing the Darkness". It had a lot to do with angels and demons and really brought the whole "angels watching over you" thing to life. It's a great book and I totally recommend it!

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  20. I;m loving keeping up with the comment thread! This is exactly what I'm doing this week to respect my dream. :)

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  21. I'm currently reading The Help and I've found it very thought provoking. The story has made me think about being courageous in my choices and actions and doing what I know is right, no matter what others think or do.

    I've written a lot this past week.




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  22. I've been working on getting my new project outlined. I won't have a lot of time later today, or on Sunday, so I'm trying to do as much as I can!

    The last book that really hit me was East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It is such a powerful story, and it really made me think about what I believed, and who I wanted to be.

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    1. This week I've been doing a lot of blogging, and doing a lot of introspective thinking. I've had a really hard time writing recently, and I've been struggling with why that is. I think my perfectionism and anxiety stops me cold before I can even start, and I've really been working through that.

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  23. I finished the first draft of my second book.

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  24. I just finished reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Scrooge's transformation through the visitations of the Three Spirits is extremely powerful and emotional.

    We're always told to "show, not tell" with our writing, which is true, and something I know I should probably work on--but I also think that having an emotional connection to your story and/or your characters can help create an emotionally gripping scene.

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  25. The last powerful book I read was Hurt (from The Solitary Tales) by Travis Thrasher. It is the last book in the series and it was amazing! Travis Thrasher has an awesome way of writing so it's like you are actually Chris Buckley (the main character). You could feel everything Chris was feeling. Chris's thoughts were like your own thoughts. The different characters were also all written very well because they were unique and different from each other so you weren't confusing characters. Someday I hope to be able to write in this way.
    This past week I've been getting my new story ready for the retreat. Today I actually wrote 734 words, which isn't too many compared to some other people but I haven't written any words in weeks so it's a big accomplishment for me and I'm excited.

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  26. I've gotten a couple really encouraging e-mails from agents and editors that really like my story : ) I have now begun a major edit.

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  27. I've read some really great books recently, but one that still jumps out at me is Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk. Not only is the writing absolutely beautiful (it's like reading a song), the depth of the characters and their struggles are so real you almost forget they're characters. From a writing standpoint, that challenges me to craft deeper characters in my stories.

    Something I've done to work toward my dream? I met with a professor at my university and discussed the publishing industry, YA lit, Christian fiction, and how my dream fits into all of that. It was incredibly inspiring. I went home and added a LOT to my manuscript after that!

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  28. The lasst book I read that stuck with me was Insurgent by Veronica Roth. It made me think about how SPOILERS even though the world outside the fence tried to create a new a more pure society, they ended up in a war anyways.
    It seriously made me think about human nature and how we naturally end up in conflict. It's sad but it's true

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  29. *hits forehead* I commented as Talyn (my alias for the internet) but I entered as Cassia...just thought I'd let you know

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  30. The last book that I read that stayed with me. . . I'm pretty sure it is Captives (I really did try to remember any other one than that one). It made me think about our current humanistic culture and how we're heading in the direction that Jill shows us in the book. It was powerful because I can literally see the beginnings of this in my culture, and I don't want that to happen. I think that we can create thought provoking stories by pointing out reality and showing the consequences. It takes a lot of humility to write like that because you'll also be pointing at yourself.

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  31. Last book that I read which stuck with me is the Existence trilogy by Abbi Glines. Why? Something about Death falling in love.

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  32. I just finished The Demon's Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan, and I have a feeling that will stick with me for a while. I also finished Incarnate and Asunder by Jodi Meadows, which I absolutely adored. There were a couple lines in Broken Wings that really hit me hard a few months ago, and I keep coming back to them. The Book Thief, obviously. I also keep thinking about The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar, purely from a writer's perspective, because I love the villain in that one and am going for a similar vibe between my current hero/villain. I love Scarlet by AC Gaughen so much when I read it last month that I checked it out again from the library yesterday. I bought Transparent by Natalie Whipple the day it came out, and it's one of my favorite books ever. So, yeah . . . lots of books that stuck with me and will stick with me.

    For me, what makes me think about a story is relationships. I love reading stories about relationships--father-son relationships, mother-daughter relationships, father-daughter, et cetera. I loved TDL so much because the main focus of the series was family. What really sticks with me, though (and this is why I mentioned The Art of Wishing), is relationships between hero/ines and villains. I love tangles, and I love being uncertain about what is right and wrong. Even more than that, I love being certain of what is right and wrong, but mourning the fact that a character we used to love had crossed the line between right and wrong.

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  33. For me, it's hard to choose. A lot of the ones I read that make me think are ones that give me ideas for my own stories. Fragments, by Dan Wells, was the last one that did that. It made me realize I could mess with the idea of super intelligent animals, as well as having animals with human minds.
    Some other ones that really stayed with me, even if they didn't make me think were The Drowned Cities and War Horse. Both stories really show war as being horrifying, though I don't feel like either really made me think a lot since the topics were ones I'd thought about a lot before. One that made me think a bit was House of the Scorpion. It made me think about how technology advancing would not advance humanity, morally.
    I think the way to get readers to think is to bring up issues readers need to think about. A lot of stories have the hero making normal sacrifices but almost all heroes do that so it's nothing new. To get a reader to think, I believe it's a good idea to bring up a topic that isn't brought up in every book, such as the morality of killing a soldier when that soldier is just fighting because he was drafted.

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  34. Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes. The storytelling was just exquisite and so simple. It made me think about motherhood in a brave new way. I just loved how open it was. <3

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    1. I have many dreams... so you could say that babysitting, writing poetry, and persevering in my school were all sort of working toward that.

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    2. I love Mama's Bank Account!


      ~Robyn Hoode

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    3. YES! So glad for another fan, Robyn!

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  35. About 1 1/2 hours into the Writing Retreat. Stats:

    Weekend goal: 10,000
    Today's goal: 3,000 at least
    Present word count: 1,097
    Words to go this weekend: 8,903
    Words to go today: 1,903 at least

    Sigh. Off to write some more after resting my mind a little. . . .

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  36. I just finished reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, and it really made me think about the whole need to be 'remembered'. I find the whole idea to be very interesting.

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  37. It's definitely not the most recent hard-hitting book I've read, but the strongest one that's impacted me is definitely A Separate Peace by John Knowles. It's my favourite book, and it's also the book I hate more than any other in the world. It's so sad but beautiful in a really simple way, and it really sums up the complexity of humanity and all our flaws and strengths almost effortlessly. It's one of those books you reread quite a bit, but not too often, and it kind of means something different each time you read it. Ordinarily I'd never read it--a book set at prep school for boys during WWII--but my mom recommended it to me, and it's seriously mind-blowing.

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  38. Man. I have all your books Jill. (Or at least read all of them) You mean you can't giveaway Outcasts? ;)

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  39. THE RETREAT IS AWESOME!!!!! THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH! :D i've gotten encouragement from someone, and it makes me want to write and not stop until I finish the book! :D (thanks so much Ari!) what's really gotten me motivated into writing recently is the 30 Day Challenge this month! I've gotten so many words typed in my story I'm amazed! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CREATING THIS BLOG!!!!!! (and the retreat!) :D

    ~~~TW~~~

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  40. The one thing that I have done this week to get me closer to my dream, was passing my math test, I can not move up in college till I passed the class.
    I have two very hard hitting books lately, The Hunger Games trilogy, and the Divergent trilogy. They brought with them such a powerful message, that it left me thinking for days. I think they spoke to me so much, because they were exactly how I have been feeling, they made me think about our world, and what we need to do about it. To me they tell the story of world that could one day be our own. The characters and who they were made it even more powerful, than the idea its self would have.

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  41. I've been working toward my drean this week by... creating character boards on pinterest. Probably not the best effort put forth on my part but I'm glad I was pinning for my current story at least. ; p
    Great discussion starter, Mrs Williamson. That's such an elusive but important secret I'm still trying to work out. What is it that makes some books resonate so strongly where others merely entertain?

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  42. Unless the book was really insipid, most books stay with me for a while. If they're exceptionally funny, I'll definitely be thinking about them a long time after. I just finished Life In Outer Space, which I LOVED and keep thinking about.

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  43. Well I'm reading Send by Patty Blount, if that counts. It's really interesting because there are all sorts of hints for what Daniel did to get into juvie, but you don't know what. I'm trying to figure it out, hahaha. Oh, and it has this amazing line:

    "As she lead me down the first corridor, she shot me a look so cold I was willing to be it could freeze a nuclear explosion mid-mushroom cloud and still have enough power left over for the fires of hell."

    I really love that description. It's so powerful!

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  44. A book that really stayed with me is Summer of the War by Gloria Whelan. It's been a while since I read it, but I liked the way she explored the growing friendship between two very different people. It is a story that I would gladly re-read.

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  45. I edited some of my current WIP. :)

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  46. Wrote in a WIP... pretty simple. But that's the one and only way you can ever even HOPE to achieve a goal. After all, you can't get published without a book ;)

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  47. Finishing my first draft tonight! I am in the ZONE! :D :D :D

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  48. Wrote in my WIP... but that's something I guess :)

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  49. I just finished reading The Shining by Stephen King. I don't know how that book could NOT stick with you! Awesome book, but really creepy. In retrospect I probably should have waited to finish it until other people were in my house...

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  50. I reached 50,000 words in my WIP this week! :D

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  51. My dream.... Argh, I have too many! One of mine is to be a singer, and I did write a new song this week. Also, I wrote a chapter (finally) of a story I'm doing with a friend. It's my dream to have that published. :)

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  52. Hmmm. The last book that made me think was Control, a new sci-fi coming out in December. The characters are all really realistic, and the world-building was really good. I loved the main character, and there were just enough plot twists to make me suer happy. Plus, it brings up topics like family loyalty, loyalty in general, and especially genetic engineering.

    In the past week, I finished my WIP's first draft, finally, and so now I'm waiting anxiously to edit it. Huzzah!

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  53. The last book that stayed with me and made me think was Divergent, by Veronica Roth. I loved it so much I started rereading it as soon as I was done!

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  54. The last book that stayed with me was "I'd tell you I love you but then I'd have to kill you" by Allie Carter. It wasn't exceptionally deep as a story, but the plot was engaging, the characters were fun, and the voice was awesome. Plus the imagination that went into this book really made it shine for me.

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    1. And I missed the other question. One of the things I did this week that is working towards my dream was start making editing notes on my novel. It's the first time I've really got this far, and I'm really proud of my progress at the moment.

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  55. Tierney (or Anastasia Inkyfingers-take your pick)August 16, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Ooh, I love dystopia! Enter me in, please! Awesome awesome awesome!

    *squees*

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  56. The last books that stayed with me were Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. Wow. A the plot twists and character development were amazing. There was a smidgen of inappropriate content, but otherwise I loved them.

    As for what I've done for my dream, I spent some time editing this week. It's going fairly well, I think.

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  57. I've been editing my draft for betas next month. Not the most fun part of the process, but super important!

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  58. Honestly, it was probably 'Thirteen Days to Midnight'. Secular book, very depressing, and I don't really know why I stuck with it... Except the story, the characters and their struggles were so real, so riveting. It made me think about many things -- about self-control, use and abuse of power... lol I don't know. My mind wanders to such strange places, you'd think I was crazy if I charted all of them. xD Not necessarily recommending the book -- but it made me stop and think.
    The Hunger Games also did that, but it was a long time ago. And there have been so many Christian books... Truthfully, I'm not certain which was the most recent one.

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  59. The last one I read was clockwork princess. Clare did a great job of making broken and beautiful characters that I could connect with and I want to learn to do that in my own writing

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  60. The last book I read was Kisses From Katie. It wasn't specifically a novel, more a biography, but it was CAPTIVATING to say the least. :) I was glued to it till the very end.....and so sad when it was over!
    It was captivating because it was SO inspiring. The author, Katie Davis, told her past as if it was a novel. It was like each chapter was a whole new adventure! :)

    I think it takes a fair bit of work to create a story that grips the reader. :) But it's well worth it all. :)

    ~Koren

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