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On Kira Adams' blog, she's hosting Medeia Sharif today!
Lessons Learned with Scott SilverHey all, Scott Silver here, and today we’re going to talk about inspirations. In particular, the books, movies, and TV shows, that inspired my novel The End of Violet and Abby. Each of these taught me a big lesson about writing and telling a meaningful story and hopefully they can do the same for you. Some may be familiar, but I encourage you to seek them out and learn the lessons they have to teach. They’re all badass and come with the Silver Seal of Approval (which is not a real thing, but should be).
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: It all starts with Buffy doesn’t it? Since the show ended, the character has become something of an archetype in the YA community. And why not? She’s strong, sassy, and capable. But the thing I appreciated most about the show was how well it utilized its (amazing) supporting cast. From Willow to Giles to Faith to Dawn, each was given the opportunity to have their own adventures and make the audience care about them independent of the ‘Big Bad’ Buffy ultimately had to face each season. When rounding out the supporting players in Violet and Abby’s world, I always took care to give each a distinctive personality readers could relate to.
Lesson Learned: Whether they’re in the story for one page or 300, there’s no such thing as an unimportant character.
To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman: Laura Lippman is one of the most celebrated crime novelists around and, while not strictly YA, To the Power of Three is a novel every fan of the genre should check out. It’s about the investigation around a school shooting that uncovers the complicated relationship between three girls that eventually ends in tragedy. But what makes the book special is all the right-on-the-nose observations Lippman makes about high school life. You learn more about teen life (and life in general) in two pages than you do in most entire novels. After reading this, I made a concentrated effort to incorporate as many real world observations into Violet and Abby as I could.
Lesson Learned: Even in fantasy, never forget the real world.
Mean Girls: Another classic that revealed how messed up ‘Girl World’ really is. Good thing it’s also super funny. I could go on, but c’mon, you’ve already seen this, probably twice. During the research phase, I read the parenting book Queen Bees and Wannabees that Tina Fay referenced while writing the Mean Girl’s script and several characters in Violet and Abby were directly influenced by the personality types in that book.
Lesson Learned: Research, research, research.
Feathered by Laura Kasischke: Laura Kasischke is an award-winning poet and novelist, who writes about women and motherhood better than almost anyone I can think of. Feathered takes a simple horror premise (two girls get lost amongst the Mayan Ruins while on Spring Break) and uses it to explore so many interesting things about youth, newfound independence and the perils of both. I tried to do something similar with Violet and Abby, using a common horror trope (girl gets possessed) and using that as a jumping off point to explore the strange nature of their friendship.
Lesson Learned: Don’t be afraid to use big themes and challenge your readers.