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Scott Westerfeld: 2019 National Book Festival

Scott Westerfeld: 2019 National Book Festival


>>Good morning, everyone,
my name is Joe Heim, and I’m a reporter at
the Washington Post. Really excited to
have everyone here at the National Book Festival
presented by the Library of Congress, and it’s
great to see so many people out here to see Scott. I had a long introduction
planned for him, but the time is shrinking, so we
wanted to have Scott just come out and take your questions after he speaks for
a little while. And the most important
news I want to point out to you is Scott will
be signing in hall C from 1:30 to 2:30 in line I. So, without much further ado,
I just want to introduce Scott and welcome him to the festival. [ Applause ]>>Hi, how’s it going? Oops, I have to go back
to the beginning of this. I’m here to talk to you
today about “Impostors,” which is my latest series, which
is a return to the Uglies world. And I wanted to talk to
you about how I got back to that world, and the
relationship that I’ve had with various collaborators
who’ve done art for my books, and how that experience
changed the way I write. So, here’s how that started. A while back I wrote this
book called “Uglies”– oops. Oh, wait, why don’t I put
it in the display mode? There we go. [ Laughter ] So, you were supposed to be
seeing this, which I messed up, and now you’re seeing this. Okay. So, “Uglies” was a
book I wrote a while back, have any of you read it? Awesome! That’s great. As you can tell, those
of you haven’t read it, this book was kind of popular. [ Laughter ] And one of the cool things about popular books is they get
translated into other languages. So, you get in the mail these
strange packages which come from Japan and you open them up,
and there you are with a book that you wrote but
you can’t read. [ Laughter ] But you open it up
anyway, right? And you look, and you see
all the characters inside, that’s my words. And then the weirdest thing
happened, I discovered this in the book from Japan. This is an illustration of Tally
and Shay on their– or I guess– yeah, maybe Tally and Shay,
on their hover boards. And I was like, well,
this is weird, because there’s no illustrations
in the American version of this book, so why did the
Japanese publisher decide to add pictures? So, I put this picture
on the internet, and a wise 12-year-old manga
fan got back to me and said, you know, in Japan, almost
all books have illustrations. Like, Simon Rashi doesn’t get
illustrations, but you do. [ Laughter ] And I was like, this is so
great, I mean, I wish we had that in the English-speaking
world, it would be so fun to have illustrations
in every book. And of course, then a
wise librarian got me and said, you know, we used to. Back in the day when you read
“Persuasion,” or HG Wells, or whoever, there were
pictures in every books. It didn’t matter whether they
were from kids, or teenagers, or adults, all novels
had pictures in them. And these pictures were in a
lot of ways really important. For example, who’s this? How did you know that? Because of the hat. Like, a lot of times
when I’m in a school and I give this presentation,
I say, “how did you know that?” Some kid says, “Because he’s
wearing a detective hat.” [ Laughter ] And it’s true, that’s
a detective hat. There are libraries
in this world where they put rocket
ships on all the spines of the science fiction novels,
and they put deerstalker caps on the spines of the mysteries. And the weirdest
thing about that is that you can read all the
Sherlock Holmes stories and books, and the deerstalker
cap is never mentioned. It’s not actually part of the
cannon, or the textual cannon, you see, it doesn’t make sense. Sherlock Holmes did not stalk
deer, he hated the country, he never left London, so why would he be
wearing a hunting cap? And the reason why
is that Sydney Paget, who did the illustrations, was
a stalker of deer, and just made that his sort of late
motive for Sherlock Holmes. So, back in that time, not only
were there pictures with all of our stories, the
illustrators were very powerful, they made the characters that
we understand and know today. And if you think about it,
like, illustrators had a lot of power back then, when
you opened up the Sears and Roebuck catalogue, which is
what the internet was 100 years ago, you would see pictures
of all the latest technology that had been drawn by hand. When you went opened up a
newspaper to read what happened on the baseball field
the other day, there would be an illustration
of the game that you missed. If your house burned down in the
middle of the night and you ran out with nothing left except the
blanket around your shoulders, and stood across the street
watching everything you own burn, standing next
to you would be a guy from the newspaper drawing
your house burn down. [ Laughter ] So, there was this huge visual
culture, this huge industry of illustrators, and that
made it easy for novelists who wanted pictures in their
books to go get someone and say draw me a
picture like this, draw me a picture like this. But starting about
100 years ago, that industry completely crashed because of a horrible
invention known as the camera. This is an early camera, you
can tell it’s an early camera because they didn’t
have another camera to take a picture of it with. [ Laughter ] They had to draw it. So, what happened– so,
remember when you were like eight years old
and you first got a book without pictures and you
were like, “what’s with this? Why are there no pictures?” Did your parents tell you, well, that’s because the camera was
invented about 100 years ago, and that made the
illustration industry crash, and then it became too expensive
for publishers to hire artists? No, they told you some lies
about your imagination. [ Laughter ] So, all that happened to me, I went down this little
rabbit hole from opening up that Japanese edition of
“Uglies,” and at the time, I was writing a book called
“Leviathan,” and it was set around the time that
this sort of disruption of the illustration
industry was happening. So, I thought it would be really
cool Leviathan like a book from 1914 would have been, so I
got the amazing Keith Thompson to do lots of illustrations. Now, the cool thing about that
is I learned stuff about writing that I didn’t know, because I’d
never written an illustrated book before. First it was the simple stuff, like describing the things
I wanted Keith to draw. Like, so sometimes
I would build models so that he would
come back with this. [ Laughter ] That’s a pretty good
day on the internet, when you send off
this, and you get this. [ Laughter ] But just the act of building that model was something I’d
never done as a writer before. I did it for a specific
task, but now I build models of all my stupid crap that goes
in my books, because I learn so much about the spatial
and physical relationships between the characters, and
the machines, and the monsters, and the scenarios that
they find themselves in. Another thing I learned is
that scale is very important. Like, if you have one
picture that’s just, you know, one illustration, one chapter
that’s just people talking in their faces up
close getting emotions, in the next chapter
you want to zoom back and show something big. These two characters
are just talking, but they’re inside
the belly of a whale. So, rather than having
two chapters in a row with very compressed, tiny
little scale, I opened it up. So, now I do that all the time, even when I’m writing
a non-illustrated book. If I have two characters
talking in a closet, in the next scene I’ll have
then talking on the roof, because that opens up the vista,
opens up the space that you have as a reader experiencing
the text. We also got into this
cool thing of making a– Leviathan is a sort of a
weird retelling of World War 1 with biotechnology and
walking tanks, you know, that. And so we made the two
worlds between, you know, the central powers and the
entente powers have physical design differences, as
you can see the desk in the corner there is
very swirly and twirly, whereas the machine, the walking
tank that Alec is standing on is very boxy and square. So, there were like
visual motives for these different
civilizations that were at war. Now, another thing
happened to me, I sent off about five chapters
to Keith, my illustrator, Keith Thompson, and the sketches
all came back, and I said, “you know, they’re kind of
dark,” and he said, “well, you know, it’s kind of night.” [ Laughter ] And I realized I’d written
five chapters in a row in the same night and there
were no light sources, so there’s nothing for
him to draw, kind of. And I guess movie
directors and people who write TV know this,
but I didn’t know it. I could have like a whole
novel be in the dark, and no one would say, well,
that was kind of a dark book, I never really could
focus on it. But now, so I changed some
things to add light sources and to vary the lightness
and the darkness. And there was another
scene, this scene actually, where I sent it to Keith
and he sent it back, and you see there’s
three people in it. And I said, “there’s five
people in that scene.” He said, “Yeah, it
was kind of crowded.” [ Laughter ] “So, I only drew three.” And I was like, okay,
and I wrote it again with only those three
people, and I was like, oh, it’s much better now. You’re right, it
was too crowded! And so this feedback
loop started between me and my illustrator, and it
changed the way I wrote, and it changed the way I
thought about storytelling, and it made me become aware of
the elements of storytelling that don’t appear in a
novel literally, like scale, like light, like action and
repose, but that do appear in the reader’s mind’s eye. So, I started writing
differently and started becoming much
more aware of my novels as a cinematographic experience. So, then I did a graphic
novel, because I was like, I’m enjoying this writing gig,
this writing for illustrations. It’s called spill zone, it’s
kind of set in Poughkeepsie, New York, but if Poughkeepsie,
New York, was like Chernobyl. Because pictures of Chernobyl
always have this amazing, weird thing, because this town
got frozen like 30 years ago. I mean, I don’t have
to tell you that now, because you’ve all
watched it on HBO. But I wrote this
before that happened. But it’s about a town where
this strange event happens that no one understands. Was it a nanotech accident,
was it an alien visitation, was it Cthulhu spilling
over from another world, nobody knows, except
the town is walled off and these strange
things happen there, and it’s about a young
woman who used to live there who sneaks back in to try
to unravel this mystery, and to take cool photos. And so working with
this illustrator, he was Alex Puvilland, is
French, he’d never been to Poughkeepsie, he’d
never really been to kind of a rust-belty upstate
New York town, so he went and took photographs that he
used to sort of be the basis of the physical world. There’s this wonderful disused
mental hospital up there that we wanted to use,
so he took pictures, and it appears in the books. Now, another thing that had
completely changed for me was that I was working with color for the first time
as a novelist. And at first I was
like, you know, I would like the real world,
the normal world, to be in black and white, and when they go
to the zone, the spill zone, it’ll be sort of in color. I thought I had invented this,
and then someone reminded me that that’s how “Wizard
of Oz” works. [ Laughter ] And “The Magic Garden.” And Hilary Swift, my wonderful
colorist, said, no, no, no, we can do the real world
in sort of normal colors, and then when they go to
the zone, we can use weird, oversaturated, trippy colors,
and every time a character goes around a corner, the
colors will change, so your eyes constantly
having to reset. And that was really
amazing and it took such a load off my writing about
this weird other worldly place, this strange version
of Poughkeepsie, because the color itself was
doing all this amazing work. We even did some stuff where the
longer Alison, my protagonist, is in the zone, the more
the colors start to bleed out of their boxes, like a child
coloring outside the lines. And of course, the other great
thing about graphic novels is that you can do weird
close-ups, you can do things like movies would never do, like that amazing
close-up on Addison’s eyes. So, then I find myself, of
course, writing “Impostors,” and it is the first book I’ve
written in some time alone where I had no collaborators,
where I had no illustrations. And I was like, okay, so
what’s this going to be like? I no longer had this
feedback loop that I started to depend on. I loved working with
these really smart people who really understood visuals,
who really understood color, who understood scale
and light, and space. And I had become sort
of dependent on them, I’d externalized some of my
writing, some of my, you know, computation about how to write
a book onto these other artists and these illustrators,
and in some cases, in the case of my book
“Zeroes,” my collaborators. But now I was all on my
own again, and I wanted to bring all this
information back, but I found it actually very
difficult and very daunting at first to write
without pictures, just like I’m finding
it daunting to just tell you this stuff
now and not go, “Look, and another cool thing!” It’s harder for you to listen
to me because I’m not pointing at these cool, amazing
images that are reinforcing and undermining and being funny
about the stuff that I’m saying. And there was something
much harder about it. But of course, “Impostors” goes
back to the world of “Uglies.” Now, those of you who haven’t
read it, “Uglies” is set in a world 300 years
in the future, it’s after our civilization
has collapsed and another has arisen. And one of the traditions
of this new civilization in the future is that when you
turn 16 you are made impossibly beautiful by cosmetic surgery. And this is a way of making sure that nobody’s ideas
are privileged just because they’re handsome
or beautiful, and that everybody
is listened to, because we all have
these responses to people who are beautiful, where
we want to protect them, and also they’re made kind
of childlike beautiful, so we want to protect
each other. So, it’s a sort of group therapy to make the civilization
more caring and sort of more wonderful. Obviously there’s people who
want to keep their own faces, and these “Uglies,” as it were,
form a rebel band and blah, blah, blah, and there’s lots
of YA stuff that happens. [ Laughter ] Which I won’t spoil, for those
of you who haven’t read it. But going back to
a long time later, I realized that in fact
there was a lot physical, illustrative culture set in the
“Uglies” world, and that was in the form of fan art. This is fan art,
again, hover boards, and it’s this beautiful
rendition just like you saw in the Japanese book of two
people flying on hover boards. Here’s another one; a
completely different style, a completely different
interpretation. But it turned out
in the ten years between when I finished the
“Uglies” series and started to write “Impostors,” there
were thousands of people who had invested their time
in creating illustrations about this world,
catching key moments, some of which were
non-canonical. [ Laughter ] About the characters. And so, instead of having like
one illustrator or, you know, an artist and a colorist, or
just a designer to work with, I had thousands of people who
had done physical realizations of the “Uglies” world, so
I started to immerse myself in that, and find what things
they thought were interesting and what things they
wanted to build and to draw, and to cosplay. And of course, one of the big
things was in book three of the “Uglies” series, there are
these people called “specials,” they have kind of superpower-y,
enhanced strength and agility and all that stuff,
they also have a sort of suppressed empathy,
so they’re the enforcers of this civilization, but
they also have cool tattoos on their face, which
everyone wants to have. [ Laughter ] And it became sort of
this cultural mark– these are not permanent tattoos,
don’t write me angry letters, but there was this sort of like
huge explosion of, you know, like that’s how you “Uglies”
cosplay, it’s the simplest way. Because there’s not necessarily,
it’s not like a movie, you don’t know what the costumes
look like, you’re not going to carry around the
flying hover board, but you have this real sense
of that world, the moment you– it becomes a tribal marker. Once you start drawing those
images on your face, you know, take a little bit of
nail polish, and you make that configuration, everyone
knows you’ve read “Uglies,” everyone knows you can speak the
language “Uglies,” you can talk in the argot of the
“Uglies” in the bubble heads. So, it becomes part
of the culture. And of course, also
recreating the covers, which is interesting, of
course, because “Uglies” is about cosmetic surgery
and beauty, and how you can’t judge
a book by its cover, and yet remixing the covers
with your own face on them, or holding the book up so
that it’s like half the face, so it’s your head, or half
your face, half Tally’s face, was a kind of fascinating
thing that people did. They also completely
remixed the covers. None of these are
foreign editions, these are just fan-made
versions of the cover. And there was this sort of need to say this is the
way I see the world, this is the way I
see these books. And this is interesting,
the German covers have sort of been remixed into a piece of
fan art that are fascinating. And one of my favorite
examples of this is the remix of the famous New Yorker cover,
showing from the perspective of the New Yorker, how the
rest of the world is just like this stuff that’s
past the Hudson Parkway, and so it had been sort of
remixed into the “Uglies.” So, I suddenly found myself with all this really
interesting fan-made culture and this whole visual
world out there. So, it’s like, I was like well
how did it affect my writing? So, let me tell you a little
bit about “Impostors.” “Impostors” is set
15 years later, the events of the
previous trilogy, which I will not spoil,
have changed society. So, the world’s become more
complicated and a little darker, and a little grittier, and
a dictator has arisen in one of the cities, and he’s a bad
man, and he has many enemies, and his strategy for
dealing with this– his son was kidnapped
a while ago– and his way of dealing with this so that never happens
again is he’s made sure that he’s had twins. So, he has these twin daughters,
genetically identical, and one of them he raises as
his heir, as his daughter, as somebody who will charm and
manipulate and will follow him as the leader of the city, but the other one he
raises as her body double. So, no one finds out
about this other daughter, and she is trained as a
protector for her sister, she’s trained to, you
know, she’s sniper bait, she goes whenever the real
daughter, the first daughter, by 17 minutes, is out somewhere
where she might get kidnapped or killed, they send
Frey instead. And so, of course, she
has to walk like a sister, talk like a sister, wear
her sisters clothes, but she doesn’t get the same
training, she gets more sort of combat training and first
aid and all that stuff, because she’s likely to be
a first responder as well. So, these books are
about the relationship between these two sisters
and the way they sort of unpack their own family,
you know, the birth order and the weirdness of their
family, and the weirdness of what it is for one of them
to pretend to be the other and to share this life,
because sometimes Frey will wind up in front of one of Rafi’s
friends in a crowd and will have to know their name and know who
they are, so they watches all of the parties on video, so she
lives inside her sister’s life. And I think the Australian
cover really captures this well by having a sort
of mirror image, because these two
girls are the same. And the other– so, I
deal a lot with mirrors, there’s something very visual
about the book to begin with. And there’s a really
interesting story I’ll tell you. About eight years ago, I went to
an all-school read of “Uglies,” it was a small town in Indiana,
they got like 1200 copies of “Uglies,” everybody read it. And they gave copies to
all the students, teachers, administrative staff, janitors,
any parents who wanted it, the whole town read it. I went there, had a
lovely time talking to kids and seeing all the
amazing stuff they’d done. The math class had some sort
of maps of Tally’s journeys, they’d done costumes
in home-Ec class, and the shop class
had made hover boards. And what was interesting is that
the hover boards in my head, the whole time I was
writing “Uglies,” were, because of who I am and
the technology that I use, they were kind of
Apple hover boards. Beige, extruded plastic,
kind of boring. But because this was Indiana, they had built NASCAR
hover boards. [ Laughter ] They had big spoilers,
not in the literary sense, but like the big things
like you put on racecars, they had go-fast stripes,
they had STP stickers, and they were also
tremendously personal. They had like your
girlfriend’s name, or blah-blah likes
blah-blah, they had lots of– they looked like a kid’s
backpack at the end of the school year, when they
put buttons on it and drawn on it with Sharpie, and
relentlessly personalized it. And I realized that the whole
time I’d written my series, that my hover boards that I was
imagining in my head were crap. [ Laughter ] But this fan-made fan
art hover boards were like kids would really
make these things. Like, the equivalent of putting
stickers on your bike seat, or even like playing
cards in the wheels, it’s like you personalize
things, you make things real and particular, you
make them their own. So, the whole time I
was writing “Impostors,” I was downloading
all this fan art and downloading all this
stuff, and thinking, how much more real
can I make it? How much more gritty
can this world be? And the world of “Uglies,” those
of you who have read it know, is kind of a soft and
fuzzy world, you know, the people are bubble heads,
and there’s a lot of words that have been chopped
out of that vocabulary, they don’t say police,
they say wardens, you know, they don’t really swear much,
it’s very soft, and I realize that in “Impostors,” that world
has fallen and this jaggedy, more NASCAR world has risen in
its place, with more graffiti, and more coloring in,
and more personalization, and more people acting
out in more ways. And that’s what I
tried to capture. And even though I wasn’t doing
fan art of the actual, you know, nobody had done fan art of
“Impostors,” the fan art of “Uglies” had taught me
enough that when I went back to that world, it was a
completely new experience and I had managed to completely
change that world in a way that I found really interesting. And basically what
I’ve realized is that even though the
evil camera got rid of our wonderful
illustrated books, we’ve actually gotten those
illustrated books back, because now we have the
internet, we have reason to do fan art, everyone puts
fan art up, and as a result, that which was taken
away from us from the evil camera has been
given back to us by the good and beneficent internet. Thank you very much. [ Applause ] So, yeah, so we’re all basically
writing illustrated books now. If you guys want to line up
for questions, if anyone wants to ask a question,
that would be cool. But I do feel like my
friends are all aware, like, my writer friends, are all
super aware of their fan art, they’re aware of the
way of which moments in their books get written
about in fan faction, which moments get
drawn, which characters who you thought were just like
side characters get cosplayed, so there’s a real
feedback loop that happens, the same that happened with
me and my artists, with me and my comic book artists and
my illustrated book artists, the same thing that happened to
Dickens, you know, and HG Wells, and Jane Austen, who all had
artists writing for them, happens now, it just
happens on the internet, so it’s everybody
talking to you instead of just one other person. Yes?>>Hi, so my name is Sara, and–>>Hi.>>I just want to say
I’m such a huge fan, I read your “Uglies” books for
the first time ten years ago, and I still have my copy. So, I really enjoy
hearing what you’re talking about with cosplay and fan art and like how fans
interpret your work, I think it’s very
fascinating, but I have kind of another question kind
of, so I’m wondering I guess like why you choose to write
in alternative universes and sci-fi, and how that effects
your writing and what kind of message you do, I
guess, like why do you write in these alternate worlds?>>Right. I mean, what I love
about writing for teenagers is that teenagers are still
like exploring the world, they’re still developing
the world, they don’t take anything
for granted. Like, those of you who
are teenagers here, how many of you are
studying a foreign language? How many adults are
studying a foreign language? See, like, the teenagers win, even though there’s
more adults here. And if we were to ask how
many of you write poetry, how many of you use
nicknames for your friends, how many of you have made
up slang in the last month, teenagers would win
all that stuff, because they’re still
developing language– so are science fiction
fans, by the way, the older science fiction fans
also sort of live in that world of plastic language
in doing things. So, I think that teenagers
are the ideal audience for science fiction because
they are interested in the world that could be, because that’s
the world they’re going to live in, they’re literally
going to live in the future in a way that I’m not, and they
have to take responsibility for it, and they are in the act of world creation
just by existing. So, that’s kind of
why I write for them. Thank you.>>Thank you so much.>>You’re welcome. Hi.>>Hi, I’m also named Sara.>>Weird.>>So, I was wondering, in
your books you have a lot of really interesting
names, like Frey, that’s an interesting name. So, I was wondering how
you named your characters and how you decide
who gets what names.>>Right, so I do feel like
names change over time, and because the “Uglies” world and the “Impostors” world
is 300 years in the future, I assume the names wouldn’t be
super familiar to us, like Chris and Bob, but I also feel
like they wouldn’t be like Gazizgabumf [phonetic]. [ Laughter ] Like you have in some
fantasy novels where you’re in a completely different world, so everybody’s name is pretty
weird and hard to read, also it’s just unpleasant
to read, “Gazizgabumf [phonetic] got
up out of her bed and said, Numnay [phonetic],
how are you today?” “Well, Gazizgabumf [phonetic]”–
you know, I hate that stuff. So, I try to pick words that
my spell-checker won’t complain about, like Tally, it’s
not a very common name, a couple people have written me
and said, hey, my name’s Tally, I thought there was only one. But It’s also just a
regular word, like to count. And Shay is a very unpopular
name, but it’s there, Peris is just like the
word Paris the city, but with one letter changed, so
I tried to make it kind of just that little bit off,
except of course for David, because he’s the one
character with a normal name, normal to us name, because
he’s kind of old-fashioned. He didn’t grow up in the city,
he lives out in the country, he’s like the home-school
kid whose name is Ezekiel. [ Laughter ] Now, there’s a thing
that gets revealed, it’s not a huge spoiler, but
at the end of “Shatter City,” book two of “Impostors,”
it is revealed that Frey’s name is just
Rafi’s name misspelled. So, Rafi is the older sister, the one who is charming who’s
the real daughter, Frey is sort of her bodyguard sister. And basically Rafi learned
how to write her name, and nobody really called Frey
anything, except by her sort of like code name, and so Rafi
was trying to teach Frey how to write her name, and
she wrote it backwards, so she wrote it sort of
Frey instead of Rafi.>>Oh.>>So, her own name is just
a misspelling of her sister, which is a cold cut indeed. [ Laughter ] So, I try to do stuff
like that too. Thank you.>>Thank you.>>Oh. Oh, hi.>>Hi, so my name is Sierra, and
so the “Uglies” series is kind of my first introduction
into y-dystopia, that was the first
time I even realized that was a genre,
was your series. So, I’m kind of interested
to know, that was finished ten years
ago and now you’re back with “Impostors,” and
you know, again, that setting was the first time that I realized our
civilization could ever fall. So, I’m kind of interested
to know, you know, coming back to it after
ten years, do you think that your books were kind
of, you know, do you think that we’ve gotten worse, do
you think we’ve gotten better, do you think that your
dystopia could ever happen? I got the sense from the books
that yes, but I’m interested to see ten years on how you
feel about the settings.>>Yeah. I mean, one
of the things that kind of made me think I really could
go back to that world was I was at LeakyCon, Maureen Johnson
invited me down to LeakyCon, I was there, and it was in
one of those huge hotels where there was tons of
different conventions going on. There was like the Harry
Potter LeakyCon convention, but there was also a chess
club bunch, and cheerleaders, and Tuskegee Airmen
fandom, which is a thing. And we were– and so all
these groups were interacting in a really interesting way,
and then I went down one day and there was like all
these random people crying, and I was like oh crap,
did a bad thing happen? And I went to get coffee and the
woman in front of me was kind of crying, I said,
what happened? And she was like,
the Brexit vote. She was English, and like
yesterday her passport was good for 34 countries, and now
it’s good for one country. I mean, obviously it didn’t
happen that fast, but there was that sense of this titanic
error, this like weird mistake that frankly older
people had made and had messed up her future. And I was like, okay, we’re not
just on this path to perfect and easy and always good,
and we’re not always going to make smart decisions
as a culture. And so that sort of threw me
back into the mind of dystopia, and I wanted to go
back and think about what would have
happened after the revolution– spoiler alert– come
on, [inaudible] book. That happened in “Uglies,”
like what would have happened in the time since then. Yes?>>Hey, speaking of odd
names, my name is Harlan.>>Hi.>>So, you talked
about illustrations and how you found it really
difficult to write Impostors without that loop feedback,
oh, what would these scene look like if the illustrator
made it this way. Do you think through the
time you wrote “Uglies” to writing now “Impostors”
without that feedback look but seeing all that fan art, do
you think it made you a better as a descriptive
writer in a sense?>>Yeah, I mean, I think I
was good at describing things, but what I wasn’t doing that I do now is I didn’t do
the pacing, I didn’t think about that book as a movie, and
as a visual, and as something that is enacted in the
screen in someone’s mind. So, things like changing
from a close-up to far away, things like making a light scene
then a dark scene, things like, you know, all that stuff
became part of my vocabulary and the way I pace a
book and outline it, which it wasn’t before, because
I thought the reader doesn’t see it, so it doesn’t matter, but
I think I was wrong about that. We’ve got less than a
minute, so, quick question.>>I want to ask you about
your writing process for “Afterworlds” with the–>>Okay.>>Storylines, was that hard to
do, or did you write one story and then the other, or– ?>>I wrote them both
at the same time and it was super
hard, never do that. Yes? [ Laughter ]>>Hi, I didn’t read
the “Uglies” series, but I am a big fan of “The Risen
Empire” books that you did.>>Oh, cool.>>Is there any possibility that
you’ll ever come back to that, and what inspired those?>>What inspired it? That was so long ago,
I’ve got to wrap it up, I got the wrap it up sign. I would love to write a third
one, because I’d love to see that war sort of happen, but
I doubt it’ll ever happen. But thank you for
reading my old books. Thank you all so much
for great questions, sorry to those that
I didn’t get to. [ Applause ]

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