Fiction Writing Made Easy

#132: First Chapter Analysis: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

March 05, 2024 Savannah Gilbo Episode 132
Fiction Writing Made Easy
#132: First Chapter Analysis: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

“In stories that feel society dominant, is survival even worth it if you don't have freedom?” - Abigail K. Perry

We’re taking a deep dive into The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins to see how and why it works. Join me and Abigail K. Perry as we break down this first chapter to see how it hooks our interest and pulls us into the story!

Read the blog post here!

Here's a preview of what's included: 

[04:39] Chapter summary: In the opening chapter, the author employs a tight focus on Katniss's perspective, utilizing vivid imagery and carefully chosen details to immerse the reader in the setting.

[08:57] Macro analysis: We use Paula Munier’s 7 Key Questions to highlight the multifaceted nature of the narrative, incorporating elements of action, societal critique, and internal transformation.

[44:16] Micro analysis: We talk through the structure of the scene using The Story Grid’s 5 Commandments. We focus on a specific scene involving Katniss and Gale since it is a well-crafted and impactful part of the narrative, showcasing the author's adept talent to convey character dynamics, conflicts, and thematic depth.

[01:04 ] Final thoughts: Reflecting on this scene, it becomes apparent how it propels the narrative forward and leaves a lasting impact on the characters entwined within it. Ultimately, this initial chapter accomplishes all the essential functions expected of a compelling opening.

Click here to check out the LitMatch Podcast with Abigail Perry! You can also get in touch with Abigail through her website or on Instagram @abigailkperry.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Want to write a novel but not sure where to start? Click here to grab a FREE copy of my Story Starter Kit workbook that'll help you get clarity on your characters, setting, theme, plot, and so much more!

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Speaker 1:

And the first is will cat and survive? And to me it is the driving question of the story. So when you have a question like that, will cat and survive as the main stakes of the story, the physical stakes, you know you're in action territory. In addition to action, super strong subplot in the story is society and we're dealing with the idea of eventually, towards the end of the trilogy, building towards a revolution. We have rebellion in moments here, Even in chapter two, we can kind of see little bits of a desire to rebel against the capital and how we're dealing with a power source.

Speaker 2:

Welcome] to the fiction writing made easy podcast. My name is Savannah Gilbo and I'm here to help you write a story that works. I want to prove to you that writing a novel doesn't have to be overwhelming, so each week, I'll bring you a brand new episode with simple, actionable and step-by-step strategies that you can implement in your writing right away. So whether you're brand new to writing or more of a seasoned author looking to improve your craft, this podcast is for you. So pick up a pen and let's get started.

Speaker 2:

In today's episode, abigail Kay Perry and I are diving deep into the first chapter of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and we're both super excited to dig into this opening chapter, not only because it's a really great example of an opening chapter that works, but also because it's one of our favorite stories and one of our favorite series. So we are planning to do the three books in the Hunger Games series, and today we're diving into that first one. Now, just in case you're new here, I want to introduce my co-host. Her name is Abigail Kay Perry. She's a developmental editor and the host of an amazing podcast called Lit Match, where she helps writers find the best literary agent for their writing and publishing careers. I will link to her podcast in the show notes as well as where you can find Abigail around the internet if you want to get in touch with her and if you are new here or if you need a reminder of what we do in these first chapter episodes.

Speaker 2:

Abigail and I like to pick apart the opening chapters of stories to see how the author hooks our attention and pulls us into the story, and we analyze these opening chapters on both the macro big picture level and the smaller micro level as well. So basically, we're asking why does this chapter work and how does it set up the reader's expectation for the rest of the story? We also dig into the scene structure, so we want to find out how many scenes are in this chapter and if there are multiple scenes, how do those work together to create an awesome first chapter. So that's a very quick overview of what we're going to dig into today. You will hear more explanation for everything once we get inside the episode. So without further ado, let's dive right into the conversation where we discuss the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone, Savannah and I are back with another first chapter deep dive analysis and we are going to analyze the first chapter of the Hunger Games, which is one of my favorite books and series of all time. I wanted to do this forever with someone, and who better to do this with than Savannah? So thanks, Savannah. I'm so excited to tackle this with you.

Speaker 2:

Of course and I'm excited too we are definitely going to nerd out today, so hopefully listeners are ready for that. But it was funny. In the past few episodes I feel like we've been trying to pick well, not a few episodes, but I feel like we've been trying to pick newer things and then when we were like, why have we never done the Hunger Games? It's one of both of our favorite books A Lightbulb Went Off. So not only do we love it, but we think the opening chapter and the opening pages is an excellent example for writers.

Speaker 1:

So we are very excited to dig in and we have to do two and three, of course, after we do one. So look forward to another series of first chapter episodes. Yes, definitely so. For your usual with these episodes, we are going to do a big picture expectations analysis with the first chapter. So we'll use the seven key first chapter questions from Paul and Muniz, the writer's guide to beginnings Love that resource Look for that in the show notes if you want to check out that book.

Speaker 1:

And then also we're going to go into a micro analysis. So we'll look at what makes this chapter a well-structured scene and to do that we use Story Grid's five commandments of storytelling or Robert McKee's five commandments. And of course, before all of that, let's give you a quick summary of what happens in chapter one so that if you don't have time to read it before, you know what we're talking about and how to dissect it and you can go check it out later. And if you want to go read it before this episode, pause and come back to it, because it's going to be quite fun.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we're going to get into a lot of stuff. So we have a lot of stuff to talk about about the scene analysis and a lot to talk about how Suzanne Collins set up big picture expectations. So it's going to be a jam-packed episode. But let me give you guys a summary to kick us off. So in chapter one we meet Katniss. She's waking up, she's looking next to her in bed, she's expecting to see her sister Prim there, but quickly realizes Prim is not there. She's in bed with her mother. And then she kind of mentions probably because it's reaping day and she's having nightmares. We don't know what that means yet.

Speaker 2:

But then we see Katniss leave, set out to hunt with her best friend, gail, even though hunting is illegal and they kind of have to do it on the sly. They meet in the woods and they share what they consider to be a delectable meal of warm bread and goat cheese before setting off to hunt and fish. And so while they're doing all this they talk about their reaping and just the hunger games and things like that, without giving us too much detail yet. And then Gail suggests they run away together in an effort to avoid the reaping. But Katniss cannot even fathom the idea of leaving Prim. After all, who would provide for Prim and her mother now that their father is gone? And so shortly after that we get some context about her father. He died in a mining accident when she was very young and she's been the sole provider ever since. So this is why we're here hunting in the first place, and then, after a day of hunting and fishing and all that, katniss and Gail go to the market and the mayor's house to exchange what they hunted and gathered for other things, and then they kind of part ways to each get ready for the reaping.

Speaker 2:

And so, still in chapter one, once they're back at Katniss's house, or once Katniss is home, she jumps in the bath. She gets ready for the reaping. Prim is also ready. She tries to soothe Prim, because Prim's very nervous about the reaping, and then as a family they head out to the square where the reaping's going to happen. So we start to get some more context about the hunger games, what's at stake, why the games were put into existence and things like that. And then at the very end of the chapter, prim's name is chosen as the female tribute from District 12. So a whole lot happens and we get a big ending to that chapter.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that breakdown, Savannah, and I love that you included all the big details, including when we go see Match, because that is not in the film, and I think that the hunger games, in my opinion, is one of the strongest adaptations of any story.

Speaker 1:

I think that they do a wonderful job at preserving the emotions and the plot points in the story, but it is interesting to see there are differences. So, just if you are more familiar with the film versus the book, it's worth returning to look at the text in order to see what we're talking about. And I do think that there is a no sentence wasted type of feel to these sample pages, these, well, not sample pages, but these first pages, and I've highlighted a bunch in there to even talk about how she does such a great job of executing or setting up what feels like really, really special connections, I guess, even to the point of when you talk about when she is with Gail and they're eating bread and there's the whole thing with the boy with the bread and he tosses her a blackberry and it's not, but it's definitely significant that we're eating with dairy. So there are just little details here that I think if you are a super nerd with these books you'd catch and it's fun to look at that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So even the things that on first glance could seem random, they're definitely not their setups for things that come later. And Abigail and I use this a lot as an example of an opening chapter that's done well, but also an example of how to get in backstory in a way that counts and that's impactful, how to show what certain events of the actual external plot mean to the character and things like that, and we'll get into that a little bit more later, but it's an excellent example of a chapter Definitely worth studying, definitely.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so why don't we go ahead and move into the first chapter the seven key first chapter questions that we like to use when we are looking at stories, and how these first chapter questions set up those big picture expectations? Yes, okay, so I'll go ahead and just walk us through those. The first question deals with genre and, again, if you haven't listened to an episode before, then what we focus on here is the idea of content genre. So commercial genre is how it's marketed. Commercial genre for this would be YA sci-fi, right.

Speaker 2:

Savannah. Yeah, YA, dystopian.

Speaker 1:

YA, sci-fi, yep. And then the content genre we're looking at is to how is the story, what is this? How does the story really unfold? One of the key concepts in the story that make the story what it is, yeah, so what do you think? What kind of story is this?

Speaker 2:

We're definitely in action territory because even from page one we get that sense that lives are at stake and this is not a friendly world to live in. So definitely action. That just ramps up as we get further into the book.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I definitely agree the life and death stakes. Survival is the main question that drives the story. Yeah, I don't know if anyone follows Gabriella Pereira DOIMFA. I love her she. I remember back in 2015, my Redo Stygianos conference. I went to her, I went to one of her presentations and she talked about how hunger games really breaks up. It really does a great job at presenting three big questions right away, I think the story, and the first is we'll can't survive, right, and to me it is the driving question of the story. So when you have a question like that, we'll can't survive.

Speaker 1:

As the main stakes of the story the physical stakes you know you're in action territory, right. In addition to action, a super strong subplot in the story is society and we're dealing with the idea of eventually, towards the end of the trilogy, building towards a revolution. We have rebellion in moments here. Even in chapter two, we can kind of see little bits of a desire to rebel against the capital and how we're dealing with a power source and controlling people with power and people who are in have impotence and basically have no power in the situation, and we see that a lot in thematic questions that we're going to get into details a little bit with how, what Katniss and Gail talked about. So I do think that society is a really, really strong. Just the story doesn't work. It's so important to this story, but we're dealing with main stakes, physical stakes.

Speaker 2:

Right, and there's the kind of a love subplot right, at first with her and Gail, later with her and Pita, later even with them kind of mixed together. So, yeah, definitely a lot going on here, which is really cool because we get flavors of all of that in this first chapter.

Speaker 1:

Who doesn't love the love story in this? I know I love the love story in this.

Speaker 2:

And it's so fun too to think about like a love story, despite what's going on, like there's 25 kids in an arena fighting to their death you know, and there's still some kind of connection happening.

Speaker 1:

Of course, and even we even see that in chapter two, with her thinking about the boy with the bread. So right, we'll talk about that, okay? The second question deals with plot and the question is what is the story really about? So what is the big picture story really about or the main story really about?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think you hit on this earlier that it's about whether or not Katniss is going to win the Hunger Games and survive. So you know, before we even get into that question, because we kind of get there in this first chapter, but it's, you know, katniss's whole deal is I want to protect Prim, I want to provide for my family so that collectively we can survive. So we're, even though we're not quite into that. Am I going to survive or not survive? The Hunger Games are not questioned. It's about, you know, survival.

Speaker 1:

And I think that within that question, will she or will she not survive? That's how, when we get into the details of how she moves through the story, we start to understand that her idea of how she's going to survive is not what she expected, right? So very much in this first chapter we can see that it feels like a very black and white view of what survival is to her. And even this idea of conversation with Gail and the idea of will they run or not, it's just so instinctive, like when you said she can't even fathom the idea of leaving because she has to protect Prim. I think another question in there is will I survive? Another question is how do I protect Prim, or can I protect Prim or will she? Will she protect Prim? Right, and when she volunteers we see that she her knee jerk reaction is just I have to save her.

Speaker 1:

So I think that there's a really good line in chapter two where it talks about how, in district, like in other districts, volunteering is almost a pride movement and they wait their chance to volunteer. But in district 12, when the word volunteer or when the word tribute is synonymous with chorus, it's not so much something that happens. So you can see all that, but I think, within that, I guess to look at the internal arc, because I think that the external arc is pretty clearly an action story. The internal arc, Savannah. What do you think is going on there? Because to me it's about her challenging that worldview of what does it take to survive, which goes against a lot of these hard shells that she's used to protect herself and survive up to this moment in her life.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I want to pause and I'll answer that in a second and I want to go back to and just kind of put a disclaimer that she doesn't volunteer's tribute in chapter one. So that does come in chapter two, just for anybody that's listening. So what's kind of cool and this is why I wanted to go into that before I answer your question is because a lot of the internal arc is set up so that when we get to her, volunteering is tribute in chapter two. We know a lot of what's at stake. We also know how emotionally and intellectually she's kind of equipped to deal with what just happened and volunteering is tribute and things like that.

Speaker 2:

But there's a couple of places in the text let me find them when Katniss is kind of showing us how she feels about things in the capital, about their world and things like that, because we see her like in the beginning her primary focus is on providing for her family, making sure Prem's okay and things like that. We see that Gail is kind of pulling her out of her comfort zone with the questions he's asking and, like Abigail said, it's something that Katniss can't even fathom. Like thinking through, what would it mean to leave, because so many people rely on us. So also, like Abigail said, that thought process of what does it mean to survive, how am I going to survive? That gets challenged the further she goes into the story.

Speaker 2:

But we have that society element there too. So Gail gets upset when they go and talk to Madge because he's in the fish bowl, his name's in the fish bowl like 40-something times and Madges might only be in there once and it's unfair and things like that and he's really passionate about it and Katniss is just kind of like what's the point? What are we going to do here in District 12? So throughout the book and throughout the series it becomes what does survival mean if we're the disenfranchised and if we don't even have what's a fair life? So a lot to unpack there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a really interesting point that you bring up, savannah, because I think a lot in stories that feel society dominant, often that question comes up as what does it mean Like, is survival even worth it if you don't have freedom?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'm thinking of 12 Years a Slave I don't know if anyone has seen that movie but that there's even a line like that where it's like what is it so? Basically, that the point of it is that's it doesn't. It's not worth surviving if you're not free. And that means towards more of that arc of we were building towards a revolution, where Katniss is. A lot of what she has to challenge is that is she going to find it in her to Do rebel against the Capitol?

Speaker 1:

I have a line here I'm looking at the Kindle version so it's a handful of pages in but she says when I was younger I steered my mother to death. The things I would gloar it out about district 12, about the people who rule our country, pnm From the far off city called the Capitol. Eventually I understood this would only lead us to more trouble. So I learned to hold my tongue and to turn my features into an indifferent mask so that no one could ever read my thoughts Right, which I think is so interesting, because that's the opposite of what she's going to learn to do. But she is Placed right now and how she reacts into Her, her light, her everyday life is just about get through the day, survive through the day.

Speaker 2:

Well, let me. Let me read this part, because it says this is after Gail gets upset with Maj and Katniss is thinking she's thinking but what good is yelling about the Capitol in the middle of the woods? It doesn't change anything, it doesn't make things fair, it doesn't fill our stomachs. In fact it scares off the nearby game. I let him yell, though better he does it in the woods than in the district. So she's kind of just like you know, she's so focused on that on the ground survival. Because of course she is right, she's young. Also, she has this kind of like Abigail, the quote she read was this indifference mask right? Why would she think she could do anything major at this point?

Speaker 1:

Exactly, and I think that's where I'm going back to that big question of what is the story really about, how? I think it is about, well, katniss survive. And then it's about how is she going to survive? What, what will it take to survive?

Speaker 2:

and when we get survival going to change her.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly yeah. And and which is so interesting is, you know, fast-forwarding outside of the first chapter. But that is the big thing about and why pita Needs to be her person. Because pita is about I don't want the games to change me, right? The response to that is I can't afford to think like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah so we can see how she is grounded in this misbelief of the only way to survive Is to kind of basically like keep your head down right Right and kill when you need to kill, right Like, even like it's interesting to use hunting in chapter one that talks so much in detail about how she hunts and why she's have to good hunter and she even she goes into this, this kind of Backstory about a links that used to follow her and she actually really liked the links and kind of felt like it was company, but eventually she had to kill the links because it was chasing away her gain. And Then she says something like but you know, meat is meat. So it's so interesting she is really Maybe I'm just also you, you and I being huge animal people Savannah, that was hard to swallow over me I like don't kill the links, but I think that that's where it's so crucial to her character and we can talk about that more in her character question. But it is showing us this first chapter. When I look at this, I always use this one as an interesting example, because the one of the first pieces of advice I ever got on writing first chapters was do not start with someone waking up and going through their day, and that is exactly what happens here.

Speaker 1:

Katniss wakes up and we go through her day. Now she wakes up and it's the day of the reaping, so it's a much bigger day than just I'm going to my job and it's the monotonous routine. But and we ground the details in here of her hunting is very exciting, like her day is very interesting. Things are happening, but I think that all of this is grounded in this intense fear. We are moving towards danger, we are moving towards death, and how are you going to face that?

Speaker 2:

And so two things that I want to say to that is one about the animal thing, because you kind of have to laugh at the cat part in the beginning where prams cat Cat thinks that the cat hates her. So it says he hates me or at least distrust me. Even though it was years ago I I think he still remembers how I tried to drown him in a bucket when prim brought him home Scrawny kitten, belly swollen with worms, crawling with fleas. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. So it's like everything is through that lens of how am I going to survive and provide for my family and keep prim happy? Because the very next sentence is prim begged me so hard cried even I had to let him stay. So it's like everything about survival is number one, but so is prim. So she kind of lets prim. We get to see, like, what that Weakness is, what that vulnerability is and things like that.

Speaker 2:

But the second thing I want to say is, even though we're going through the day, like you said, we have questions. So we're being led through this text with questions of like, what is the reaping? So in the beginning all we get is it says this is the day of the reaping, and then we kind of go through some days right or some of the rest of the day and I'm scrolling to see where we get the next thing, because every time she mentions it we just get a little bit more information. So we keep reading to find out like what does this mean and how does this, you know, how does this have to do with her getting into the hunger games and things like that? Let's see I'm looking for the text.

Speaker 1:

I know just while you look for the text I can kind of list off some, some details that stood out to me. Talking about the woods, right, yeah, there's a place in the fence is usually electric, but it the electricity isn't worked in, like for a couple hours at night maybe, but otherwise it's usually down. It used to the. It sounds like the district actually had built the fence to keep the animals, the dangerous animals like Hoogers and things like that, out of the district, but it hasn't worked in a long time and some people will Go underneath the vents and venture through it in order to Get food, like Katniss and Gail, who are skilled at hunting. Otherwise their families would perish because starving is not uncommon in district 12, right.

Speaker 1:

And then you know how she. What does she do with that game? Usually she's trading out with peacekeepers and she talks about how the peacekeepers technically work for the capital but are actually their greatest, uh, customers, because they have money and Also they're kind of looking the other way because they want to eat. Sounds like they're not treated super awesome by the capital. So you kind of get that we interact with the black market, which is something that is, I think, given more Intention in the book than in the film. But you have the black market and what she does and where she works with. And then, of course, like you talk, you have the conversation with manged, the mayor's daughter, and understanding that there does seem to be a hierarchy of privilege in the district, but it sounds like in general like everyone still is Basically screwed in district 12. It's into very, a very underprivileged district out of all of the districts.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so kind of on that note, like we, we get this information dripped out to us. It's not like there's a giant prologue with here's the history of, but you know, district 12 and the capital and all this. But back on that note of the the rape. No, at first she just says, like today is the day of the reaping. Right then, when she gets to gail Gail's like happy hunger games and they're kind of making fun of it. So we get a little more information like what is, what is this? Why do they feel this way about it? Later on it says after the reaping, everyone is supposed to celebrate. A lot of people do out of relief their children have been spared for another year. So we get more information uh, two families will pull their shutters, we don't know why yet. So she's really leading us through with this like central question of what's going on here. Like this place seems terrible. But then there's this additional element of the reaping and the hunger games. I hope everyone's going to be okay, yeah definitely.

Speaker 1:

It's really scuffly done. Okay, so let's go look at question number three. Question number three deals with point of view, and the question is who is telling the story?

Speaker 2:

So we are in Katniss's perspective.

Speaker 1:

We have a first person narrator, which I think is appropriate for a young adult book and in a book where we want to be so close to Our protagonist, yes, and this is one of the examples that I use About how important the point of view is, because it's also in present tense yeah and it's, so it's first person present tense, and that adds to the tension of story because we don't know if Katniss is going to survive or not. Right happening in real time as you read, and that question of is she gonna die or not, we don't know. And if it was yeah, or telling the story back on when she went into the hunger games, that would take out that tension.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and as a reader, how do you like present tense?

Speaker 1:

me in general. Yep, I think I gravitate towards past over present. I think that Present can when I at least, like when I'm working with writers sometimes it can feel Like the voice doesn't come out as strong. Yeah, whatever reason. But I love this book in present tense. But I think, yeah, I tend to feel like I gravitate towards past.

Speaker 2:

Yeah me too, and it's. It's funny because it, like you said, it adds to the immediacy and at first, whenever I dip back into this it's a little jarring for me because I read a lot of past tense, but I think it's the right call for this book. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I agree with that. Okay, this is a big question. Is this a really important question? And it deals with characters. Question number four. And the question is which character should the readers care about the most?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I actually want to back up for a second and I want to talk a little bit more about point of view, because I work with a lot of writers who are writing sci-fi or fantasy and they want to have multiple points of view For that kind of bigger scope. So I think it's worth talking about, like, why is pita not a point of view character? Why is gale not a point of view character?

Speaker 1:

That's a great question. Well, for I think gale is pretty easy for this book because he's not that, not where the action is, yeah, and we don't even really get the sense that they're a romantic pair Until I think the end of the story are fat or more like chapter. I think. More book two, the romance, romance with gale and cat, this feels like it picks up a bit. For me. They feel more like a she and she encourages the idea that they're more of a brother, sister for relationship in this first book.

Speaker 1:

If you're watching the movie you don't get that sense at all Because the movie has the advantage of doing what the book does not, because it is Omniscient in its point of view telling versus the. The book is first person present and we can go away from the games to go see gale watching catness kissing pita and things like that. So that's where it's like again, like the difference between what you're doing with the film, what you're doing with the book. But so that's where you know in the book I don't think gale would be worth a point of view and at least you know, definitely in this first book, because he's just at home taking care of the family. There's no arc really there he's just walking with catness.

Speaker 1:

So he'd be an observer, pita. I think he'd be giving answers away. Totally. The plot the whole is pita or catness or against catness Would go out the. Would, you know, go out the door If you had pita's point of view, because I don't think that you could or be very challenging to hide pita's true intentions for why he took up with the careers.

Speaker 2:

And that's exactly why I wanted to ask you, because Certain writers would say well, I want to show someone like pita's point of view so that the reader knows right, the reader knows what his true intentions are, but then that spoils the tension. From catness's point of view, like we don't need to let our reader know everything, I think in a lot of cases it's better that we Filter it through the protagonist's point of view and have them guess wrong sometimes and have them doubt and wonder and things like that. You know that's what builds that tension.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I agree. I also think that, pita I'm going to see if I can phrase this in the way that I want to phrase this Katniss has a lot to gain and lose and she changes a lot. In this story. Peter doesn't really change, you know so he does, and that the games make him less naive. I guess you would say Like there is like a worldview arc in there, but as has it like a in his core.

Speaker 1:

I don't think he really changes and it's almost what Katniss loves most about him. You know that he is this innately good human being and he's really like everything that Katniss lacks or that she undervalues in herself, that she can't see herself being, but he pulls out of her and I think that that's something like when Peter says to her you know, outside of chapter one, but when he says to her I don't want the games to change me. And immediately you think the games have changed him, because you have Katniss's point of view and you're just seeing what she's seeing. That really throws us right, because we got to know this, this sweet boy with the bread who just innately seems good and it will be hard for him to kill others, but then we can see that he can step up and do that if it's to protect Katniss.

Speaker 2:

Right, yeah, and it's really interesting because she brings to him what he lacks as well. Like he's not that confident in the beginning. He thinks, you know, might as well focus our attention on you, because you're the one that's going to survive, you know, so he does. I do agree that he has like the less interesting arc, but he does change In that way. Yeah, I mean he changes, but it's not as impactful as Katniss's growth, Right, right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so ultimately, on point of view, everything Peter does is for Katniss. So if you had his point of view, we'd be giving all those spoilers away.

Speaker 2:

Yes, definitely, and so you were asking what character should we care about the most? Well, I mean, I think obviously Katniss, because she's our protagonist. We care about what she cares about because of how her introduction to us was set up. We also, of course, care about Prim. We care about, you know, the families of Gail and Katniss and people in District 12, but primarily we're with Katniss?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I 100% agree. I think that you made a really good point and that this is a really great example about how you, of course, care about your protagonist. You must care about your protagonist in opening pages in order for us to care about the story, and we care about what Katniss cares about, and that's part of what I think makes the stakes so high or so early in the story, because it's not Katniss' name that's drawn, it's Prim's.

Speaker 2:

Well, I love once we get into chapter two more and we have seen where they're talking about, how they exchange food for, like the names that get put in the bowl, how Katniss has done everything she can do to not let Prim's name be chosen and then it is, so it's like she gets put in, I think one of the best, worst decisions ever, where it's like either her or me right and it's literally the worst decision she could face in her life.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And then later this is chapter two. But later in chapter two then Pita is drawn and she comments about how Pita has two older brothers and one is unable to volunteer because he's above 18, but one could volunteer and he doesn't right. It's like you know what me volunteering would be the abnormality versus the norm. I wanted to look up something real quick in chapter two that I think, and I guess, like you know, when Savannah and I go into the scene structure, we're going to talk about some chapter one, some of chapter two a little bit and what we decided to do there. But I think that talking about character and talking about like why we care so much, there's this area where normally people don't get overexcited when someone volunteers, like I've talked about earlier about the districts and how they're different to volunteer in District 12 versus volunteer in District one or something like that. But I have this piece right here where she starts to walk up and she talks about how the crowd is really upset when Prim's name is drawn and there's kind of this like tisking, because people are usually upset when a 12 year old gets drawn because it's not fair, like when a and of course, like Rue is going to be a foil character for Prim, who is also 12. But then it says but a shift occurred. So she volunteers and she says but a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Prim's place and now it seems I have become someone precious. At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers to their left hand, their lips, and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means goodbye to someone you love. So that's chapter two versus chapter one.

Speaker 1:

But I think that that is just so interesting to see how we are really drawn to care about Katniss because we see her as really kind of the martyr of this family, before she's even the martyr of the whole entire district and she has done everything in her power to care for her family at the cost of her I don't want to say humanity, because she is a she. There's definitely like tenderness to her, but she is. She is hard, there's a hard shell around and that shell has been layered and layered over years of loss and forced hands to survive, from her father being killed to her mother going ghost like and failing to take care of the family. So she had to step up to take care of the family and by, like you said, age 12, she was already putting her name in for for Tesserae, right, did you say that? Is that my pronounce? I think so.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, for Tesserae, so she would. Her name ends so then she'd have more names and, like you said, she's done this every year to 16. So her name is in there 20 times instead of the minimal amount of times. Everything she can to make sure that Prim did not have extra names in. Yeah, so you care about that character. You care about someone who cares about someone more than herself, right?

Speaker 2:

And it's like you can't blame her for her hardness, like you're saying, because it's been built up over time. And then when we get to the question of what is going to happen when you actually survive, like, is it, is it really worth going back to the world you're from and it you know? Who knows what she would say if you asked her. But she wants to go back because she wants to keep caring for Prim. So she's very steady in that the whole time, which makes her admirable, absolutely. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So we, we do. We care about Kennis, we care about Prim, we care about really like, if you get to chapter two, I care about Peter, because everyone feels bad for anyone whose name is being drawn. You really care about Peter because then you learn that he's the boy with the bread, right, you know that's kind of going into chapter two, but we are understanding why these characters matter so much to us so early on, which means that, as you go forward, even though this story is so plot driven, this is plot driven in the way that we care first and foremost about characters. So why the plot is so intense is because if characters die it's upsetting.

Speaker 2:

Right and just like to bring that home. Imagine it from Kato's perspective. We probably wouldn't care as much, right? The plot would not sustain I mean, who knows what Kato's backstory really is, but the Kato that we know. The plot itself would probably not be enough to sustain a story about him where he's just kind of like being a bruiser through this whole hunger games.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely Okay. So question number five is setting. Deals with setting, and the question is where and when does the story take place?

Speaker 2:

Yep. So specifically, we are in Penem, which this is a dystopian future, and we are in district 12 with Kennis.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So with a lot of great details, you could really just peel through these pages and, as Savannah mentioned this earlier, we are learning about the setting through the action, so we're not getting just a big bunch of info dump that explains the districts and explains why they're so poor and starving. We see this because of how Kennis is going about through her day and there are external events happening around her that trigger reason for us to learn more about this world, and that's where it's like. You know, savannah did the word count and it's a longer first chapter, but it grounds us in world, which, of course, is very important for something that's dystopian, because when you've done it and it's not like.

Speaker 1:

here's my textbook of Penem. It's great we're going to learn this because of what Kennis is interacting with.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and there's a lot that's not said in this opening chapter. So you know about the world and a lot of the sci-fi fantasy writers I work with. They tend to either want to put like a prologue. That's like Abigail said, here's the history, start to finish and here's everything you need to know before you read page one. We don't want to do that, but what we do include in this opening chapter is it's always triggered by something in the present moment. So you know, she sees the minors and she thinks about her dad and you know, because he was a minor and things like that, and it doesn't. There's nothing extra that's not triggered by something in the moment, which means there's going to be a lot that we don't know yet, which is another reason why we want to keep moving forward and reading to find out more about the world.

Speaker 1:

Yes, definitely Okay. So question number six deals with the core motion and we kind of paired this one with question number seven, the stakes, because they go hand in hand. So the two questions are how should the readers feel about what's happening? That's dealing with emotion, and the stakes question is why should the readers care about what happens next? Yeah, I think that's right too right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I feel like the three areas I kind of go to are like concern, curiosity and wonder. And we don't really have a lot of wonder here because we're, you know, this is a pretty sad, sad state of life. We start out with some curiosity because we don't know, we don't know why we should be concerned until we know, but I would say, primarily, I walk away feeling concerned for Katniss, like we said, prim, you know, gail's family and all of District 12. So I think this is a nice job, balancing it and also transitioning from that feeling of curiosity initially to uh-oh now we're, you know, concerned, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I would throw in the word unease yeah, it's for me in here too, because I'm not quite. I was going to say the word fear and I don't think I was ready to say fear until we are in the reaping and Prim's name is drawn and, yes, that's the end of chapter one. But so much of this is based in hunting conversation with Gail black market getting ready for the reaping. The closer you get to the reaping, the more afraid I became, because I cared about the characters and I obviously one of these characters is going to be in danger. If you read the back cover you know it's Katniss, is going into the games. So you, uh, I do feel hopeful for that. I feel unease, I think for the majority of this chapter, because we're trying to have a normal day, knowing that it's not going to be a normal day and no matter what these characters, no matter how normal these characters try to make this day, everything ends with the reaping, yeah, and the unease of whose name is going to be drawn.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and to that point I think it's fun that, like they actually did succeed hunting, they had a good hunting and gathering day. You know, the blue skies are out, like it feels good, but there's a layer of unease and then it's like boom, it's Prim Rose Everdeen that gets chosen. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And she even talks about how they saved strawberries and bread, yeah, to eat that night. So they're trying. It's almost like they have to push it out of their minds, like the possibility is there, but they have to push it out of their mind in order to get through the day. Yes, that's that their names can be drawn, but then, of course, like I'll help Briggs lose when the name is drawn.

Speaker 1:

You know, yeah, ok, so that's a good summary of the seven key for shifter questions that set up big picture expectations. Now let's go take a micro lens and look at the same structure. Before we get into the same structure, we're going to chat about why we broke down the scene the way that we did. First, vanna, let's talk about did we pick multiple scenes or one scene, and let's talk about the goal for the scene.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So this was a hard one for us to analyze and we kind of came into it thinking we were going to do one thing. And then we kind of changed our mood last minute. We'll explain why. So at first we were like maybe this is one scene centering around Katniss volunteering to take Prim's place. And then we were thinking, ok, well, that means this goes into chapter two, which means the scene, if we do it as one scene, would be over 6,000 plus maybe even more than that words. How do we feel about that? So word count isn't something that has to be like the end all be all. If you're over a certain amount, that means your scene's wrong or your scene's broken. But it is a good indicator that maybe it's worth looking at things a little more closely. So long story short, that's what we did and we landed at. We believe this first chapter has two scenes, or one full scene and a part of the second scene. So we'll go into that in more detail. But you wanted to talk about goals, right, abigail?

Speaker 1:

Yes, because I think that in order to understand how commandments work, we need to figure out what is the goal first, because what throws that goal off, or why is that goal so hard to accomplish?

Speaker 2:

Yep. And so, right up front, there's a few things Katniss is concerned about. So we know she's heading out to hunt so that her family can eat. We know she's concerned about Prim and this being Prim's first reaping and she's probably had nightmares and things like that. So we could say part of her goal is keep Prim safe, keep her in good spirits, keep her unafraid, whatever, however, you want to word that.

Speaker 1:

I agree with that, which is now helping us figure out why we do a scene and then kind of a second scene that leads into chapter two, right, yeah, so when we're looking at that, when we break down the commandments and when writers can be confused about this, I think that's the main thing is, if you're feeling stuck on how you want to make an argument and I just like to practice this, saying that the way I see the commandments might be different than how you see the commandments, so it's not necessarily the way that I analyze the scene or the way Savannah analyzes the scene is the only way to analyze the scene. Right, these are tools that help us understand where we feel confident that there is scene structure in order to determine when something brings value to the story versus when something might be taking too long or is going too fast or is extra baggage that isn't really adding to the plot, movement or the character development, Right? So why Savannah and I had a tricky time deciding what we wanted to do, breaking this down as one scene that leads into chapter two, or two scenes with a little carryover into chapter two with the second scene, is because the first scene, when we look at the command and it doesn't feel nearly as loud as the second scene. Now the second scene's turning point, which we'll get to in a second, is one of the most important scenes in the entire novel. So of course that scene's intensity is going to be astronomically higher than this first scene.

Speaker 1:

But we're also looking at word count. Not that a scene has to be determined by word count, but typically a scene's average length the potato chip length is around the 2,000 words. This is going to be over that regardless. But I think that's this idea of can we figure out how to tighten and when is it going to be a scene versus a beat? Right, savannah.

Speaker 2:

And one thing, if I can add to what you said right before is people ask me all the time like, do you and Abigail ever disagree on things? And I'm always like, yeah, we disagree on things a lot and we have to talk through them. And it's never about like I like that you said. It's not about who's right or who's wrong, it's more do we get to the same point in the same takeaway? And I would say, off the top of my head, I can't ever think of a time where we didn't. So we might disagree on the details or we might see something slightly different, but we usually get to the same takeaway.

Speaker 2:

So because I also hear from people a lot like I'm getting so stuck, I'm getting so bogged down in the weeds, it's not always about the small details, it's about what's this doing for the bigger story, like Abigail was saying. The second thing I want to say is that what we're talking about in scene one is basically the part with Gail where they go hunting, and then scene two is basically Prim and the reaping. So just to kind of give some big picture perspective on that. And yeah, do you want to dig into the analysis, abigail?

Speaker 1:

Yes, yeah. So ultimately we decided and we both did come to agreement with this. We talked a little bit off podcast before we hopped on, but, yes, it's that reiterating way you said, savannah, we disagree all the time. That's what makes discussion so interesting, because it's not about who's right and who's wrong. It's about seeing each other's viewpoints and often I'll end up changing my opinion to what Savannah has, or sometimes Savannah might change her opinion to what I had, or we stay disagreeing, but we have, like you said, the same conclusion. Like, did we get to the same place? And that's ultimately what the goal is. It's also why these are such great editing tools.

Speaker 1:

When I've had writers not that they're right or wrong for this, but when I've had writers try to plan out the command and suit, for they actually write the scene they can almost stiffen what they're trying to do and I like to say write your scene first and then use them as editing tools. But again, that's your own process. Whatever works for you better. Anyway, to answer your question, to go to this conversation, we chose this as the first scene because I think it does and, savannah, I think you agree with this it sets up so many big components about her character development, about her misbelief about what's really at stake.

Speaker 1:

It happens quickly and I think that that was why we debated about it, because her decision in this scale breakdown almost felt instinctive, like there wasn't really even much debate about how she answers her crisis question which we'll talk about in a second which felt like is that enough? Is that enough to work as a scene? I think ultimately, because there's so much packed into this quick conversation, we argue that there is enough, but I can see how a first-time reader, and especially someone who's not even analyzing the scene, would just go through it. It's just so nice. So it's like the scene structure. You want stories to feel natural, you don't want it to feel stiff and you're bringing so much attention onto something that it's preaching and I don't think that this does this at all. But when you really look at the line level, what's happening in this conversation, you can see how important this conversation is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so let's dig into it, because I think if people haven't read it in a while they might be like what conversation, abigail? Right? So I think if we just kind of zoomed into this one scene where it's her and Gail hunting, the goal is very simple it's to go out and get stuff for their families so that they can eat food. That's a simple goal. Then there's conflict that gets in the way of that. So there's the inciting incident, which is that first blip of conflict, and then there's the turning point, which is kind of like conflict has reached its peak. What are you going to do about it? And what's interesting about this scene is that by the end, they do accomplish their goal. So they do hunt and they hunt successfully. But there's also like a and something else has now happened. So, abigail, what did you see as the inciting incident?

Speaker 1:

OK, so the inciting incident was the goal is to go hunting. So with the inciting incident, I guess this is where the inciting incident and this group of commandments feel softer to me. But I think that you could just, if it's to create the goal, it could just be that they meet up and go hunting. It could be that Gail has some bread and they're going to sit down and have a meal and talk about this conversation that they're going to have before. I guess the inciting incident for me feels a little bit fluffier than the turning point. What did you see as the inciting incident?

Speaker 2:

Well, and to that point no pun intended we should probably talk about the turning point and maybe back out, because I see that turning point is like there's something around that part where they talk to Maj and so this makes me want to maybe reevaluate our goal or maybe add something to it. So Maj upsets Gail, gail's upset and wants to fly off the handle about the capital and things like that, and Katniss is kind of like she stood up for Maj and she also doesn't really want to make it as big of a deal about things as Gail does. So if we said something like that is the turning point and there's a couple options here, so just hang in there with me If something like that's the turning point, what's kind of the first thing that is on the same path of Gail and Katniss kind of being upset with each other, it's probably Gail saying we could just run away together and she's like what the heck which? If we kind of back that out to their goal? Their goal is to just go through kind of the normal day of hunting so they can provide for their family.

Speaker 2:

When Gail speaks up about running away together, that interrupts Katniss's idea of this. Is my buddy slash brother figure that I didn't think we were talking about kids and dating and things like that together. So that's option one. Option two is that the turning point is when Gail says, do you want to run away together? And she's like I can't fathom that. What are your thoughts on that, abigail?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, I'm glad you backed out because this is a simpler conversation now. It's definitely getting in the weeds, yeah, so it's good to back out. To me, I think that this conversation is what controls the same structure, more than the managed conversation. I think that for the turning point there that is, the clear turning point is the question of will you run away or not? So that leads to this crisis of do I listen to him and we run, because life in the districts is not way less than ideal, or do you? But to run would mean leaving behind Prim and her mom, who she provides for, or do I stay? And that means facing the tragedy of every day, of what this you know really struggling through life to survive. Days are in District 12, as well as the upcoming reaping, which means that if she got her name pulled, then she would have to go into the games and face that fate right. So that's where I sit with it.

Speaker 1:

I think that then her crisis you know that her climax is then acting on the crisis, which her immediate reaction is I can't run. You know I'm not running away. What about all these people that we provide for? And then the resolution is actually them talking about. You know her reflecting more on like who they provide for, and the idea of the idea of children to me happens more. I mean that maybe could even be the idea of in the setting incident is something like that, and I do think that actually would maybe work as I talk this out, because I think that that point of this is these are the lines I never want to have kids, Katniss says right.

Speaker 1:

So she says I never want to have kids. I might have if I didn't live here, says Gail. But you do? I say irritated, forget it. He snaps back the conversation feels all wrong, leave. How could I leave Prim, who is the only person in the world I'm certain I love, yeah, and Gail's devoted to his family. So what's interesting is that it does kind of turn into this conversation about kids, which I think speaks to the theme of the story, because it is Katniss's idea of there is no hope in this world and I can't leave the only person who I really love. So it's interesting like we see a little bit of heat there, with Gail suggesting about kids and you forget it.

Speaker 1:

He snaps back from his perspective. There's some chemistry from Katniss. She's too focused on protecting Prim. You can even see romance as an option, right, yeah, so it does kind of throw her off and I can see that working into third debate. But ultimately the idea of running or not running feels so easy for Katniss to make because the leading, Prim, is unfathomable. So that's why I debated like is this even a scene? Is that allowed enough to be a scene compared to the second scene, which deals along the lines of her volunteering as tribute, which most people probably do remember. But I think we can argue that it is right. There is some debate there that moves us forward.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so, just for a fun exercise, I'm going to go a different way than you and we're going to see if we get to the same point of this first chapter, or this first scene.

Speaker 2:

So I think that what Abigail is talking about. In my view of the scene, the inciting incident is that, gail, there's this kind of disruption in there, the way that Katniss views the relationship and potentially the ability to comfortably hunt together. Like she says at some point, there's nothing better than finding a great hunting partner or something so like you know, whatever. So then I think that they go through the day they're at the market or whatever. Then they go to the mayor's house and match. The mayor's daughter is upsetting Gail just with what she's saying, because life is unfair. And so in that scenario it's kind of like you know, gail snaps at her and he says what do you have? Five entries, I had six when I was just 12 years old. And Katniss stands up to her and says that's not her fault. Gail agrees it's just the way things are. So then it's like they walk toward the seam in silence.

Speaker 2:

Katniss is thinking about I don't like that. Gail took a dig at Maj, blah, blah, blah. Things are unfair. And then by the end of kind of this little section it's you know she says Gail knows his anger is misdirected and she talks about how he continuously rants about the Capitol. She glances at him and she's thinking what good is it yelling about the Capitol? Like his rage seems pointless. Even though I never say so it's not that I don't agree with him, I do what good is yelling about the Capitol in the middle of the woods? It doesn't change anything. So I can see a decision here to like say something and kind of agree with him even though I don't see a point, or remain silent and take no action.

Speaker 2:

So like, with something like that being said, if we were to look at what Abigail's analysis was and what my analysis was, where are we getting to by the end of this first scene? And Abigail jump in, I'll say kind of what I think. But it's. You know, they don't end the day on good terms, even though they were successful. So it says at the end she says see you in the square. I say wear something pretty. He says flatly. So it's kind of like they're just at this, it's just uncomfortable between them by the end of the day. So they were successful, but now they're going into the reaping, not totally on the same page.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think not totally being on the same page is the key, because Gale seems in a worse mood than Katniss, right? So I think that it's. It's like anything like the more things don't go your way, the worse mood we get in, right? And both of these events Katniss not responding the way Gale hopes, with the brints, with the kid conversation, and then her not defending him with the match part it just adds fuel to the fire.

Speaker 2:

The point is kind of like does it really matter what exactly we call out Not necessarily because we're saying the same thing that this opening scene is established a lot in terms of the stakes of the overall story, what Katniss values, her friendship with Gale. And then we're also like, because I said earlier, it's kind of, yeah, they succeed, but also this stuff happens. So, yeah, they succeed, but now Katniss and Gale are going into the reaping, feeling a little disconnected, which could create consequences later Cause imagine that if they went in on the same page and they were like you know, go team, and then there would be no weirdness when she leaves district 12.

Speaker 1:

And I do think that the weirdness are the you know. You know in a worse place than they were with their friendship when they're going into the reaping, that's reinforced when it hits her. She looks at Gale's face during the reaping Right and it hits her that his name is in there 42 times and it makes her feel nauseous.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and he looks away and she makes her feel nauseous. So I think that reinforces the sometimes. Katniss is very common account. This is character, her focus is. So she is such a laser focus on the angle of what it takes to survive that she can forget about other things that matter.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, relationship matter to her, and we see that in the beginning of her relationship with Pita too, cause it's kind of like I'm focused. I'm focused. Now he's doing this thing where he's including me. I don't know what to do, but you know, that's later in the story. So I think, like key point is that you know, feel free to vote with whoever you want. I think, either way, we're saying the same thing and what you know, like we've been saying the whole time, it sets up so much stuff. The conflict is escalating even through their conversation. So it's the conversation about the kids and running away. It's the conversation with Madge, right, it's just pulling them further and further apart. On this day that it's not ideal for them to be pulled further apart, exactly, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

So that's where we landed with scene one and we think it's worth calling out cause. You can also take the third route and disagree with us that there's a scene here and you could say that the first chapter into the second chapter is one big scene, and I don't think Abigail and I would necessarily argue with you either, you know. But anyway, we thought it was enough worth talking about because it does so much stuff and because it really sets up Katniss's you know, from the perspective I argued. It sets up her inaction based on her misbelief, and same with from the perspective Abigail argued.

Speaker 1:

Yes, exactly. So let's go look at that second scene. So the second scene spills into capture shoot and with the second scene that means that we're having the whole getting ready for the reaping, right? Yep, so we see some. There are details like I'm getting ready, katniss admiring you know, I'm just admiring Prim in general, but there's a really important detail about her mother has light, has laid out one of her more beautiful blue dresses for Katniss to wear and and that is surprising to Katniss because her mother Cherishes her clothes and I think that you know Katniss and her mother obviously don't have an awesome relationship to Katniss presents her a lot. And Then it's getting her ready scene that the clothes are Big for her. There's a big thing with the duck tail that she has to tuck in the duck tail and her outfit before they go into the reaping. Then they go into the reaping.

Speaker 1:

There's a lot of important pieces with backstory where the mayor talks about why we think it's this. We see Heymitch, we and how he is, you know, bledger and drunk on stage and how he tries to hug Effie and how Effie kind of shoes him away and obviously she's horrified to even be representing this district. She's just waiting for motion to get a better district. And you know her in the beginning, very obnoxious, cheering us over the hunger games. Yeah, her character evolves but ultimately then you have the reaping itself.

Speaker 1:

I'm just name is drawn. So at the end of chapter one we know that trims name is drawn and then you move into chapter two and this moves into Katniss being Basically in shock. She freezes for a while when Prim is escorted up to the stage and then she sees the detail of the duck tail hanging out again and that brings her back to reality and she volunteers and then she's brought up on stage as the volunteer. And then chapter two continues into Pete as being name being drawn for the boys and she has a long backstory about why, of all boys being drawn, he will be the most difficult to have next to her because he is the boy with the bread. We understand what?

Speaker 2:

that is right and so okay. So her goal, if we were to back out the goal, is like survive the reaping, help prim. Survive the reaping, would you say. The goal would be that?

Speaker 1:

yes, I mean it's interesting as like, um, almost like get through. I don't know if it's true. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I get. I think it's get through the raping because you can also be survive emotionally, you know, however, you want to word it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think it's probably survive emotionally. More so because I think she's so shocked when prim's name is drawn Right, so I think at her mind she's already done everything that she can to protect prim. So then when her, when prim's name is drawn, it's like oh my gosh, how is this happening? I did everything I could this. This is not supposed to happen, right. So that's where I almost argue that that's what first upsets the goal, and I think that's why the inciting incident shifts a bit, because I think the in the goal becomes the goal becomes protect crime right and so inciting incident.

Speaker 2:

I feel like this one's pretty loud and clear. What would you say? That is Abigail.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the inciting incident. Well, so the inciting incident, I think, is when prim's name is drawn. The turning point, if we really zero in on the details, I think is when Katniss sees the ducktail sticking out on prim's dress, because that is what pulls her back into the crisis of do I volunteer or not? How do I look at my new goal now and how do I protect from now that she's already?

Speaker 2:

volunteered, right, you said, it kind of pulls her out of her thoughts and into action, because Prim is in front of her, you know now, and she only has so long to volunteer. So also, you know, and it's, I think, prim, she's like sobbing or something too, so it kind of just jolts her back into reality, which so, which I agree. The inciting incident is prim's name gets chosen. Katniss is just kind of frozen until she sees prim ahead of her with little ducktail out, and then she. You know, the crisis doesn't necessarily happen after the ducktail, it's more like it's been happening when she was frozen and she volunteers. That's the climax, and then the resolution is basically everything that happens, you know, peta getting chosen and then essentially getting carted off to this room where they're gonna say goodbye, which is what starts the next scene.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and if you look at that I don't know the word kind into the word count, but a great deal of chef to is the backstory of PETA being the boy with the Bread. Uh-huh, yeah, that's where I would just throw this in there. I, that's all resolution for me in this scene, because the climax is the volunteering, the direct action. I agree. And then the resolution then deals with her kind of aggressive, you know, kind of in Meaner than she would normally treat Prim to get prim off of her because she can't cry. She immediately is going into survival mode already. She's already aware of the cameras and, right, she cannot cry on camera because she'll be seen as a weakling and she needs to, you know, get people to bet on her.

Speaker 1:

Essentially, and Then the whole rest of it, after PETA's name is drawn, is this long backstory about how she Recognizes him as the boy with the bread, and it's in great detail. And I think that it's worth having the backstory in such detail because it is the whole entire development of who PETA is in his core and why he is so Challenging to have, as I mean in, why a relationship with PETA is so challenging for Katniss. Yeah, so it drastically raises the stakes and introduces the love story at the same time. But I would say that this is a great example of backstory that is a beat within the scene. Yeah, it's got its own structure. Yeah, it's got its own structure, but there's nothing necessarily that changes, because she's reflecting on it right. The change has happened in the sense of her Moving towards death because she is volunteer to distribute, and that's the change that we're looking for.

Speaker 1:

In the scene. There is a layout. If you were to really zero in, you could do five commandments with the boy with the bread, but it's told through backstory. Yeah, that's what I'd say. That's more like a beat breakdown versus a scene break.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and also this is in chapter two, so we're not saying that all this backstory is coming in chapter one. It's after we've introduced that central conflict, got Katniss really involved with it and, like Abigail mentioned earlier, she's her focus has to shift now from just protecting Prim and her family to, oh you know, holy cow. Now I have to survive this thing. So you know, just whenever I'm looking at something like that because I I know that as writers we all like to look and say, well, they did it. Why can't I just look at things like this backstory example and think, why is this Okay, why did this work? I think asking why is one of the best questions you can ever ask.

Speaker 1:

Always. There's no harm in ever asking why you're only going to do yourself a favor when you ask.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so, like Abigail said, just to kind of quickly bring this to a close, this, this opening chapter and the first two scenes that go into chapter two, we've brought Katniss like closer to that danger death edge of the spectrum, because now she's on this path to participating in the Hunger Games and it's only gonna get more dangerous from here on out. So does what a first chapter should do definitely sets us up with, I think, the right amount of Context in terms of the world, the backstory, katniss's character and a central plot problem and then actually getting Katniss involved with it. So I think it's a really, really great example.

Speaker 1:

Definitely a great example. Like I mentioned the beginning of this one of my all-time favorites, I just there's so much to learn from this book in general and helping yourself look at start. Start that analysis by looking at the first pages and seeing what out of this Did they do that you could do well in yours, especially when you have big worlds like a dystopian.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and if you want to get a head start on us, we said we were going to do book two and book three. So if you want to try your hand at pulling out the commandments and those big picture elements before we Record them, do it and we will meet you back in a future episode to talk through the first chapter of the next two books.

Speaker 1:

Right, thanks to Vanna for doing this with me Such fun, and I can't wait for books two and three.

Speaker 2:

So that's it for today's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in and for showing your support. If you want to check out any of the links I mentioned in this episode, you can find them in the show notes listed in the description of each episode Inside your podcast player or at savannah gilbocom forward slash podcast. If you're an apple user, I'd really appreciate it if you took a few seconds to leave a rating and a review. Your ratings and reviews tell apple that this is a podcast that's worth listening to and, in turn, your reviews will help this podcast Get in front of more fiction writers just like you. And while you're there, go ahead and hit that follow button, because there's going to be another brand new episode next week, full of actionable tips, tools and strategies to help you become a better writer. So I'll see you next week and until then, happy writing.

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Analysis of the Hunger Games Themes
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Character and Setting in Hunger Games
Analyzing Scene Structure and Character Goals
Analysis of Hunger Games' Opening Scene
Analyzing the Hunger Games Story Structure