Weekly Meeting: Carry On

Carry On
Carry On

This week I go to the remainders list from past months and finally read Carry On.

Challenges:

  • None

What You Should Know:

  • This is NOT Harry Potter Fan Fiction, no matter what you heard.
  • This is connected to her novel Fangirl and I suggest you read that one.  Which first?  It’s hard to say. They are connected, but this doesn’t mention Fangirl at all.  Reading this first may actually improve Fangirl.
  • This is a stand alone novel in it’s own universe as well.  While reading you will feel very confident that you are reading the last in a series, but you aren’t.
  • Yes, there is boy on boy kissing and it is glorious.  Yes, one of those boys is a vampire.
  • There is some trans-species stuff for one character.  It’s hard to explain, just read.
  • It is technically Young Adult, but, like most of Rowell’s book, adult appropriate.

Discussion:

I couldn’t find a discussion guide for Carry On so I am going to talk about two things.

First: Universe Building.

Most authors can’t build a complete universe in one book.  I know it’s difficult because I have written an epic series of my own.  In many cases details simply change or make sense in a new way.  Rowling took 7+ books, Tolkein is still going despite being dead, and so is Herbert.  Rowell jumped right into the final book in her universe and didn’t look back.

What works for her is that most of her readers know a little about this universe already.  Most people who read this also read Fangirl where this universe is the universe of choice for the main character.  Fangirl has sections of “past” Simon Snow books interspersed with the fan fiction and main story of the novel.  It doesn’t matter though.  Anyone reading Carry On first will quickly pick up on everything they need to know about Simon, Baz, and this magical world.  It makes me wonder if an author knows his/her universe well enough (character, rules, etc.), could this be done without ever having to write prequels?  Could an entire, well defined universe happy in just one, stand alone book?  Would it have to be the final story in the universe to make it work?  I suspect yes to all of that.  Especially if you want to leave enough room for potential fan fiction.  You want to give those writers enough material to work with, but enough room to make it their own.

Could this be the future of writing?  Could one author create the framework with the intent of letting the fans be co-creators?  I think that may have blown my mind….

Second: Fan Fiction

I will get into Fangirl on Wednesday, but let me talk about fan fiction as a thing.  It is a huge thing.  50 Shades of Grey started as Twilight fan fiction to give you an idea of how it works.  Many people are reading Carry On and thinking it’s Harry Potter fan fiction.  I think more people don’t think that, but I can see why.  What Carry On is suppose to do is mimic the popularity on Harry Potter in Fangirl.  It has many similarities (orphan boys, schools of magic, possibly evil antagonist, set in the UK), but it isn’t the same beyond that.

Media Tie In:

No media yet, but don’t count it out.  What was brilliant on the part of the publisher was sending out book party packets.  It included 4 sets of tattoos, 2 tea bags, 1 balloon, and a cover you could color.  HELLO!  So, I did that…

I still have 3 tattoo sets, 1 Simon tea bag (I drank Baz, I don’t care, I loved him), 1 balloon, and I found a bunch of buttons from Book Expo.  I am going to do a give away so look bellow.

Give Away:

  • The first to comment gets: 1 set of the temporary tattoos, the Simon Snow tea bag, the Simon Snow balloon, and three buttons (Carry On, Fangirl, and Landline).
  • The second to comment gets: 1 set of the temporary tattoos and 2 buttons (Fangirl and Landline).
  • The third to comment gets: 1 set of the temporary tattoos and a “Nobody’s Sidekick” button (not sure what that is from, but I feel like it fits).
  • I do have to limit this to people in the US and Canada.

Other Books This Week:

0 thoughts on “Weekly Meeting: Carry On

  1. I like your comments on the Universe building. It’s true that I felt almost instantly at ease with this world, and I think she in part accomplished that by using some of the familiar school-story tropes (from both magical and non-magical school stories) as well as introducing her own twists and such very early on (Simon’s lists about what he misses basically being a great way to introduce the world of Watford in an interesting way.) And even though there were some things I already knew about from reading Fangirl (like the way they cast spells) I can see how that would be easy to pick up on as well if you hadn’t.

    I also agree that these characters can absolutely stand on their own and are not generic harry potter fanfic copies!

  2. I was really hesitant to read Carry On because I loved Fangirl and HP so much and I was convinced it couldn’t do both justice. Instead it subverted all of the tropes while reading like a love letter to all the “chosen one” stories that came before. I just loved it.

    1. I feel like even Fangirl is a love letter to all those who learn to write in someone else’s universe. Plus, she has now given people a new one to use and learn from.

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