The Agency Games

The Agency Games – Official Release Date: Spring 2020

Hey there everyone!

Wow, it has been WAY too long since I have longed on and now that I am on, I plan to catch up as much as I can. December is right around the corner and you all know what that means: BLOGMAS! I will most definitely be posting with Christmas spirit come December.

Now for the REALLY exciting news, yesterday I received an email from the publishers letting me know that my book had passed the editing portion and was moving on to production. You can well imagine my reaction:

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If that wasn’t exciting enough, I received a follow up email from the publishers today letting me know that my book is scheduled to come out in Spring 2020!

After working so hard on this project, going through so many peer reviews, and revisions, sometimes this book did not seem like a possibility. However, today was just a reminder that hard work pays off! Not only did a get an official release season, but I also found my official COVER ART and FINALIZED TITLE on their website!!!

I literally cried happy tears.

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Stick around, because I am revealing that cover art tomorrow!

Lastly, to everyone who has been so incredibly patient with me the last few months during my “invisible” months, thank you! Thank you for the way that you supported me during this whole journey and for the way I know you will continue to do so. I’m still working on that balancing act, but I can promise to find my way back to this wonderful world of blogging.

Love,

Kayla Ann

The Agency Games

Hunger Games Friday: Movie Adaptation

For today’s Hunger Games Friday, let’s talk Hunger Games: Movie Compared to the Book

The first movie adaptation of the popular Hunger Games series premiered on March 23, 2012. Within three days the movie had hit record-breaking sales of over $155 million in North America alone and only continued to grow in popularity. While I will assume that most of you are already familiar with the book series and the movies, here is a brief set-up or reminder for those unaware.

The nation of Panem is what remains of North America after war, famine, floods, and other catastrophes. Nearly 80 years before our story begins, there was a war between two parties. The winners, known as The Capitol, punish the losers of the rebellion, the twelve districts through the spectacle the “Hunger Games”. Every year, each of the twelve districts must offer up one boy and one girl tribute between the ages of 12 and 18 to enter into a televised arena and fight to the death. When this novel/movie opens up, it is the 74th Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute to save her sister.

Now, let’s dive into our movie analysis!

Awesome New Additionsmovies and books are inevitably different from one another, it cannot be helped. Sometimes directors add in scenes that make no sense or divert from the book’s essence. However, when it’s well done, additional scenes can truly help emphasize moments that were unavailable to the readers in the book.

  • For instance, the novel is narrated by Katniss Everdeen which means we only see the action from her perspective. However, in the movie we are granted additional view points:
  • Opening Scene between Caesar Flickerman and Seneca Crane: While the book opens up with Katniss waking up in District 12, the movie begins with a conversation between Seneca and Caesar. The two are on the Capitol’s favorite talk-show and they’re quite obviously excited for the reaping day. This is highly contrasted when Prim’s screams usher in the next scene starkly displaying the difference between those in the Capitol and those in the district.
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That beard though…
  • Insights into the Capitol: Other additional scenes help to display this contrast and really give the viewers more insight into the Capitol than the books can. For instance, we see more of the Capitol citizens’s inhumanity. In one scene, there is a betting board, and in another scene two parents gift their male child a sword with which he chases his sister and then stabs his mother. These scenes focus on how natural these forms of entertainment have become to the Capitol citizens, and because we see these scenes through Haymtich’s eyes, we can see how despicable their ignorance truly is.

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  • Haymitch Abernathy: Speaking of our favorite knife-wielding alcoholic . . . Although we may all come to know and love Haymitch eventually in the books,we are given the opportunity to understand him far earlier in the movies. As soon as we arrive into the Capitol we see Haymitch’s disgust at the Capitol citizens, his pain at having to watch another two tributes die, and his desire to save at least one. Props to the director for giving us more Haymitch!

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  • Conversations between Seneca Crane and President Snow: “Why do we have a winner? . . . Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. . . A spark is fine . . . Contain it.” Now yes, this scene was probably put in to foreshadow the future events, to play more with the image of fire, and give us earlier access to President Snow’s character. However, the themes within this scene are *extremely* important in my discussion of agency and power which I discuss in chapter three and seven of my book.

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  • Insights into the Districts: We have a few different moments in which we see those in District 12 watching Katniss on the screen or District 11 reacting to the screen in rebellion. These scenes greatly enhance our understanding of how Katniss’s actions are affecting others long before she understands it herself.

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Annoying Changes: I loved the movie, but I had my own irritations.

  • No Madge: Seriously, how hard would it have been to add in a five second clip for devoted fans to meet Madge? Just a little cameo for our sakes??? Plus, as much as Greasy Sae liked Katniss, people in the Hob did not give things away for free. It was a fair bartering system and free, string-less gifts did not exist.

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  • Cato and Glimmer are a thing?? : The first time I watched this, I didn’t catch it (I wasn’t as well-versed as I am now). Glimmer is the tribute from District 1 and while she was in the Career pack, Cato did not have a “thing” for her (although the movie portrays them very couple-y). In fact, Cato’s district partner was CLOVE and while Cato shows no romantic interest early on, he begs Clove to stay with him as she dies. Somewhere inside of Cato, he cared for another human being, he cared for Clove, not Glimmer! There was already a ‘love interest’ for Cato, so why change it to Glimmer? This is one of those changes that makes absolutely no positive difference.

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  • “Wolf” Muttations: I use the term wolf because that is what they were supposed to be, however in the movie, these mutts look more like some weird bear-dog hybrid. In the books, Collins clearly depicts these wolf muttations as being clear representatives of the dead tributes (their fur matched their hair color and they wore colors inlaid with this district numbers); however, in the movie that is completely overlooked. The importance of these wolf/tribute muttations is more thoroughly examined in chapter three of my book, which makes me even more sad that they ignored this opportunity in the movie. They already had to use CGI, so why not use it correctly?

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Scenes Worth Special Mention

  • Peeta and Ceaser interview scene about “showering in the Capitol” — their banter was wonderful
  • Initial Bloodbath at the Cornucopia – they did it so well without having to up the rating on the movie by shielding viewers from the main violence.
  • Katniss’s house being blown apart just as the father was blown apart in the mines – a fantastic representative of trauma in the home

So what did you think of the movie adaptation? Do you share my opinions? Do you disagree? Let’s chat in the comments below!

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Sent.

As you all know, I have been pretty absent lately in the blogging world. Part of that was due to getting married and celebrating on our honeymoon. (I cannot believe we have already been married for a whole month, the time flew by.) Another reason was because my final draft of The Agency Games was due to the publishers at the end of June.

Technically, we are now at the beginning of July, but thankfully the publishers were pretty flexible and understanding (thank you!). After a weekend of some intense editing days (you may have seen my last post or my instagram stories), I can happily announce that the final draft of The Agency Games has been submitted to the publishing house!

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In this final draft, I ended up cutting a lot out of my original drafts as I did my best to trim out the unnecessary “fat” and leave behind just the key and intriguing bits. However, after my various peer reviews, even after cutting away at parts, I still ended up with a word count of 87,910 words! That’s 17,910 words over my original required word count!

2019

Turning in this draft has been such a mix of emotions. The primary emotions were definitely relief and a strong sense of self-satisfaction, but underneath those emotions was still that fear that I could have done better (even though I went through it with a fine tooth comb multiple times). I wonder if, as writers, we will always have that desire to be better, do better? There’s a fine line between wanting to do better and never being satisfied with our work. In this case, I believe that this book is the best product I could put forth at this time and I am proud of my accomplishment.

According to the editor, my book will be entering into various stages over the next few months as it is checked for “completion,” awaits its turn for an available editor, is considered by the design team for title, cover, and book description, set up for advertisement, final proofs, and finally, sent out for print. The process itself with take several months to be sure. I will be keeping you all up date with where the book currently stands in the various processes. As we get closer to the release date, I will be looking for readers who are interested in reading, reviewing, and advertising my book on their blog.

Thank you again to everyone. You all have been so wonderful and supportive during this whole process and even during my time away from blogging. You guys are amazing! I’m glad to be back in this wonderful world of WordPress.

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The Agency Games

Writing Tip: “I Could Stop If I Wanted To…”

Recently, I blogged about the importance of recognizing when you need to STOP writing. Today, I’m going to talk about this same topic, but from a different perspective.

On Friday of this past week, I worked on final edits for They Agency Games from 9am to 4pm (and still didn’t finish. I put in another four hours yesterday and I plan to do another four hours today after publishing this blog post). Toward the end of Friday, my back and eyes straining from sitting at a computer for so long, all I thought was “Why am I doing this to myself?

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Then it occurred to me. Out of the blue, I had the sudden thought: I could stop. I didn’t have to keep going. If I wanted to, I could stop that minute and never go back to it. I could leave the book unfinished. The thought struck me so deeply that I had to pause my editing process to briefly write down these first two paragraphs so that I wouldn’t forget to blog about this later. Now let me explain why this was so important and actually a positive thought and not a negative thought.

Yes, I could have stopped, the fate of the world was not dependent on my writing. However, as much as my back hurt and my eyes burned, I did not want to stop. As soon as I thought that I could stop, my mind rejected it, because I was proud of what I had accomplished and what I was so close to accomplishing.

Sometimes, we need to stop writing and other times, we need to push through. Sometimes, this is what it means to be an author, a poet, a blogger. Sometimes, being creative and chasing after your dreams requires for your back to ache, your eyes to burn, and your brain to throb. Now, obviously, I’m not saying it should always be like that and yes, breaks are SO important. Eventually, even I reach my wall where I know I need to stop because I am no longer being productive.

Still, this moment, this thought that I could stop, was so important for my writing process because it reminded me how much I enjoy what I do, regardless of the stress that I sometimes feel. The fact that I thought I could stop, but didn’t want to stop, only strengthened my resolve to not only finish my current book, but to then jump into other projects as soon as I am able.

I apologize if today’s post was a bit more rambling than usual (I’ve definitely got editor’s brain today), but I hope that it was at least encouraging to some of you.

When you hit your wall, when you think, I could stop, just remember why you are writing, blogging, creating, etc. Remember how far you have come and how much further you are still able to go.

Happy Writing Everyone!

Wish me luck as I hope to finally finish The Agency Games today and have it sent to the editors by midnight! I plan to be more active on WordPress as soon as I can.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agency Games

Agency Games Friday: Terminology on Reaping Day

Hello there and welcome to “The Agency Games Friday!” On these days, I will be talking all about Suzanne Collin’s famous Hunger Games series! Some of my posts include excerpts that did not make it into my upcoming book or just character discussion. Have any fun questions or comments about The Hunger Games or something you think I should talk about? Drop me a line in the comments!

Today, we are going to discuss the term “reaping.” Now, there are two kinds of people in the world. Person A immediately recognizes this term from The Hunger Games from the title “Reaping Day.” Person B vaguely recalls that this is a term we used to use to refer to when workers would go out in the fields and bring in the harvest. Let’s just say that Collins certainly knew what she was doing when she chose to title the day in which the Capitol steals two children from each district Reaping Day.

So, let’s go ahead and unpack this word, because really, all it takes is one word for Collins to create layer upon layer of meaning in this one scene:

The term “reaping” can have several connotations from the positive imagery of gathering a harvest all the way to the negative concept of a grim reaper. These contradictory interpretations depict both the relief parents feel when their child is not chosen as tribute and the grief that other parents feel when their child is reaped. Furthermore, there is something very violent about the action of reaping. Indeed, it involves the cutting down of whatever is being collected. Likewise, the tributes are being cut down as their identity is stripped away.

Now we have this new term, tribute, and once again, Collins integrates significance with its usage.

In naming those selected to participate in the Games “tributes,” the Capitol attempts to place a positive light on their sacrifice as tribute often refers to a gift willingly given to appease the gods during ancient times. However, despite the Capitol’s pre-approved terminology, the tributes do not give themselves freely, rather the Capitol claims their lives forcibly. In incorporating terms such as reaping and tributes, Collins depicts the bodies of the districts as commodities which the gluttonous populace of the Capitol consumes, unable to see beyond their faux peacock eyelashes. Tributes are subjected to cameramen that perch “like buzzards” and “gobble up” the images of the sacrificial children to feed the audience back home.[i] It is not enough that the districts be punished, the tributes must be humiliated and their bodies must become public property . . . (learn more about the bodies of the tributes and agency in my upcoming book!)

[i] Collins, Hunger, 41

Join me next Friday for more discussions on The Hunger Games!

Comment below: What do you want me to discuss next?

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An Update

Hello bloggers!

Today’s post is going to be an update on how The Agency Games (a working title) is coming along with the publishing house. However, before I get into that, I just want to say thank you. The past couple of months have been extremely difficult with my grandfather’s sickness and passing. I have not been as present in the blogging community as I would like. Some days, it’s hard to find the motivation to be as productive as I am used to. However, every day that passes, I feel a little more like myself and while most of that is because of God’s grace, part of that is because of you: my blogging community. Thank you to each and every one of you who have commented on my recent blog posts offering your sympathy, your condolences, your prayers, your hugs, and your comfort. I am more grateful for your friendship than you could know.

I am also grateful for the growing interest in my book The Agency Games which takes an in-depth look at the popular Hunger Games  trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Many of you are already familiar with this project; last summer you stood alongside me as I worked on my word count (75,000+) and last fall you encouraged me when the Peer Review process turned out to be more brutal than I expected.

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A couple weeks ago, I received my feedback from the third peer reviewer and their words caused both myself and the publishing house to take a step back from my book. Basically, here is the conundrum in which I found myself.

Was my book geared for a scholarly or a popular audience?

In general, a scholarly audience consists of “scholars” while a popular audience consists of your average bibliophile who enjoys reading for reading’s sake alone (not necessarily for in-depth consumption). In my experience, some “scholarly” books and articles (at times) seem to include unnecessarily complicated passages in order to appeal to a specific society. On the other hand, some “popular” books or articles might fall prey into “dumbing down” a complex topic.

I had always intended for my book, The Agency Games, to be a bridge in between these two genres. I wanted The Agency Games to be an accessible read for the average Hunger Games‘ fan while at the same time being scholarly enough to pique their interest and encourage their own in-depth examination of familiar texts. However, most of my Peer Reviewers were expecting a more “scholarly textbook” and were, understandably, disappointed by my book.

Together, the publishing house and I knew that I would need to take a firm stance on either going all scholarly or throwing myself into the “popular” genre all together. After some thought, the choice was clear. I specifically want Hunger Games’ fans to read my book. I want fellow bibliophiles to be inspired by the books we read as they realize the power these books hold to reflect and influence our current society.

Therefore, with this in mind, I have one last stage of editing to go through. Once again, I will pour through my book and this time, I am addressing you. That’s right, YOU, my fellow “tribute” and lover of the Hunger Games trilogy. My book will be an investigation of the series that we both love, it will incorporate outside scholarship, and it will be done in a manner that hopefully enlightens, encourages, and reveals what current human agency looks like and why the Hunger Games trilogy is key to understanding our own society.

If you are interested in receiving updates about the release date of The Agency Games, please be sure to drop a comment on the following post:

The Agency Games – Sign Up!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Accepting Failure

Let me be honest. Failure is going to be a part of your writing career. It just is. And let me honest again. Failure is going to be a part of life.

We are humans, we cannot succeed at everything, all the time.

So, before you begin your career as an author, an artist, a composer, a teacher, whatever you choose, accept that at some point you will fail.

Failure today does not mean that you cannot succeed tomorrow. – KaylaAnn

Failure is only a moment in time, a response to a singular incident. Failure does not define you or your career. The best option, and really the only option you have to success, is to accept failure and then move on from it.

Sometimes our failures will be small. For example, I failed a lot of my daily word count goals between the months of November – January. However, I did not let that stop me. I did not throw my hands in the air and say, “Well, I failed, it’s over!” Nope, I moved forward and planned to begin writing in earnest again.

Sometimes our failures will be big. For example, I’ve just recently received my review from my third reader and let’s just say, it wasn’t great. Now, I’m stuck where I have two decisions and either decision will require drastic change to my manuscript. However, that does not mean that I give up, I pick myself back up (after I cried my eyes out) and I get ready to face the problem head on.

So accept failure, but do not let it define you. Do not let it stop you. Do not let it hinder your progress. Acknowledge it, learn from it, be strengthened by it.

I’ll keep you updated on my book, The Agency Games, once I have some more information. Please wish me luck and keep me in your prayers as I work toward this goal and attempt to decide what is best for my manuscript.

Accept Failure but Never Stop Moving Forward.

Blogs / Life, The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Update on the Third Reader (Blogmas: “It’s a Holiday Gift!)

Hello Everyone!

Today, I am taking a break from our regularly scheduled Blogmas posts to keep you updated on the publishing process for my book The Agency Games. For those of you who are new to my blog (Welcome!), The Agency Games is a nonfiction analysis of the popular Hunger Games series where I investigate human agency and how it affects primary characters such as Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna, Prim, Rue, Finnick, Mags, Joanna, Beetee, and more!

Anyhow, as many of you might remember, I am currently in the “Peer Review” stage of the publishing process. I have two readers who reviewed my book back in August. One of them loved it and the other was not impressed. So the publication house sent out my book to a third reader to be the tie breaker. However, back in November, when I was supposed to receive my feedback, my third reader backed out due to health reasons and so the clock was set back once again as I waited for the publication house to locate a new third reader.

I am happy to announce that as of this past weekend, the editors have located a new third reader and I should be receiving my feedback sometime toward the end of January in the new year!

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Additionally, the editors have gone ahead and scheduled me a final due date for the revised and improved final draft of my book for April of 2019! It has been a long road, but one that I am so grateful to have the opportunity to walk!

Thank you all for sticking alongside me, encouraging me and supporting me. I sometimes wonder if this book will forever be in limbo (something that will one day happen but not today) and then other days, like today, I can imagine holding that physical representation of all my hard work in my hands. This book has become more than just my “first” book. Some of you may remember that my grandfather is currently dying from cancer and it’s hard, and sometimes, he is not all there. But other days, he is. The other day he asked me when I was going to start publishing my books because he always knew that I would succeed. My entire life, he has pushed me to reach for the stars and I am so grateful for that. He inspired me to work hard and to persevere. In a way, finishing this book has now become a testament to his influence on my life.

Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel. I am one step forward to becoming an official “published” author and I know that I would not be where I am today without the support of my family and friends!

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An(other) Update

Hey Guys!

So, here I am with another update on my upcoming non-fiction analysis of The Hunger Games. My book, The Agency Games (working title), is currently in the editor’s and peer reviewer’s hands. As some of you may remember, my book already underwent round one with peer reviewers. One of my peer reviewers LOVED it and the other was not quite a fan.

So, to break the tie, the editors wanted me to revise, rewrite, and resubmit my book to a third peer reviewer. After making some pretty crazy tweaks and adding in more content, I sent back my book and it was placed in the hands of a peer reviewer about five weeks ago.

Then, I received an email a couple days ago from my publishers. Unfortunately, something happened with the third reviewer beyond their control and they had to back out. This means that my book is back in limbo as I wait to hear back from publishers as they attempt to find a different third reader to peer review my book. Once they find a new third reader, it will be another 6-8 weeks before I hear back from the publishers with the third reader’s comments.

While part of me is super bummed out (my book will definitely not be published by the end of this year), I am rolling with the punches. And honestly, this timeline might work out better for me. If I am lucky, I will hear back before Christmas and have some time over Christmas break to work on revisions, but we will see!

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported me through this long process! As a first time author, everything is new to me and having all of you along for the ride is so comforting! I’ll let you know what happens next!

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Happy Writing Everyone!

The Agency Games

Publisher Response to The Agency Games

Hey Guys,

So last Wednesday I received the long-awaited email back from the editors. In May, they sent out my manuscript to two scholarly peer reviewers who then read and returned my manuscript with their feedback. The editors in turn reviewed their comments and reached out to me with their feedback (lots of feedback.) And, the results were mixed, leaving me a lot like this . . .

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One of the peer reviews absolutely LOVED my book and while they offered me some critiques on how to improve it, overall, they were quite happy with the manuscript.

The other peer reviewer did not like my book, at all, and offered more criticism than critique.

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So, where does that leave me and my book, The Agency Games?

Back at the keyboard!

Yup, criticism hurts, (A LOT) but ultimately, I am going to use it to improve both this book and my overall writing abilities. The editors have offered me a chance to revise and rewrite according to some of the critiques before they send it out to a third peer reviewer who will be a “tie-breaker” of sorts. I believe that this will (unfortunately) push back the publishing date, but I am determined to push forward. Hopefully this delay will ultimately be worth the improvement.

While this certainly did cause my confidence to take a pretty nasty blow, I am lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who encourage me that even J.K. Rowling was rejected numerous times.

Not everyone will love your work, but that does not mean that you stop writing. 

Did you know that even after J.K. Rowling was made a billionaire due to her Harry Potter series and considered one of the most accomplished authors in the world, she was rejected by a publishing house in 2013. Publishing under a pen name, J.K. Rowling was rejected and told that “a writers’ group or writing course may help” Galbraith (penname) to get constructive criticism of his debut crime novel.” (You can read the whole article here!)

I am grateful for the positive critique that I received, and while I did not necessary expect some of the criticism, I am going to use every comment to improve my work and reach my goal!

Happy Writing Everyone!

Have you been rejected? What was your response?