Here at Serial Box, we cook up our stories a little bit differently than other publishers: we host Story Summits. These are three-day affairs where we gather the serial’s writing team, lock them away (very gently, we promise), ply them with food (delicious kinds, we swear), and have them plot out a whole season’s worth of fantastic fiction.
Recently we were excited to hold the Story Summit for ReMade Season Two (coming Fall 2017!) in New York City. Author Amy Rose Capetta will be joining fellow team members Matthew Cody, Gwenda Bond, Andrea Phillips, and E. C. Myers this time around and was eager to attend her very first Serial Box gathering. Since we love taking our readers behind the scenes, we asked her to share her feelings on the experience – so read on to get the inside scoop from an exciting new addition to our author group!
* cue triumphant music *
A group of five writers, one editor, and the heads of Serial Box gathered for the second season story summit of ReMade!
I currently live and write in small-town Michigan, so it was exciting to head to NYC for the weekend and dive into my first experience with serialized fiction. I’ve written two YA sci-fi novels that are out now, and a YA mystery coming out in 2017, but I also have a background in playwriting and screenwriting for indie film, and I’ve always secretly wanted to try my hand at TV writing.
My interest in writing serial stories stared with the season-long arcs that became popular on TV in the early 2000s. They dove into story in a way that felt new and full of potential, with so many chances for plot twists and deep character development. If you’d like me to get more specific than that, see Angel, especially the later seasons.
Also, I’m clearly a huge SFF nerd, so working on a project like Remade was definitely in the “dream come true” file. I feel like my teenage self would have looked on in serious delight as I traveled across the country and joined the writer’s room filled with the spectacular talents of Matthew Cody, Andrea Phillips, E.C. Myers, Gwenda Bond, and editor Noa Wheeler.
Everyone else had been involved in Season One, and they welcomed me with warmth, excitement, and delicious bagels. In case you didn’t know, NYC bagels are one of the most satisfying foods known to humankind, and excellent fuel for creativity. Try eating one tomorrow and watch as the stories pour forth. Add really good cream cheese and lox to up your wordcount.
To be fair, I also had my first Montreal bagel this weekend, and it was EXCELLENT.
Once we were fed, it was down to business. Unlike when most writers work at home, hunched over a keyboard, alone with their words, we weren’t sitting in a cone of silence and typing. We were “breaking the season,” spending three days working out the story events of the season we’re about to write.
The way the process works, for those of you playing along at home? Gather a few of your writer friends, and set a timer for forty-eight minutes. Then: TALK. Hash it out. Get caught up in the plot, the characters, the drama. You’ll want plenty of conflict in your story and plenty of snacks on the table. One exercise we did that I particularly enjoyed was making a list of friendships, relationships, and rivalries, and tracking those throughout the season.
It helps to pick one aspect of the story to focus on, and to try to bring it together as much as you can by the end of the forty-eight minutes. When the timer goes off, you have twelve minutes to break–and do anything BUT talk about the story. (Which got harder and harder as we went. All we wanted to do was keep figuring it out!)
It was particularly awesome to come into the series right at this point, because I was basically entering the writers’ room as a huge fan of the story. I had my favorite moments to gush about, my ships all in a row, and my own excited questions about where the story was headed. At one point the other writers told me a development coming at the beginning of season two that made me GASP.
So read up on season one.
And get ready.
Amy Rose Capetta is the author of three YA novels: Entangled and Unmade, a space duet out now from HMH, and Kiss/Kill, a queer love story wrapped in a murder mystery, forthcoming from Candlewick in fall 2017. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA, and is the co-founder of Rainbow Boxes, a charitable initiative that sent boxes of LGBTQ YA novels to all fifty states. @AmyRoseCapetta.