Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD - LEARNING HOW BLOGGERS READ

I was recently nominated for the Inspiring Blogger Award by the always-lovely Susan over at TheArtofNotGettingPublished.

I'm inspired myself--by all the bloggers who take the time to write thoughtful reviews.

Just as my books are my work, I view a blogger's review as his or her work, as well. I take them seriously, I respect them, and I listen. I've been reading blog reviews long enough now that I've begun to learn how readers--well--read.

I was writing at my own mini-rolltop desk when I was little more than six years old. I think I've always read as a writer. Always tried to dig into the nuts and bolts of a piece, figure out how, exactly, a writer pulled a book together. I remember mining books in elementary school for techniques I could put in my own short stories (totally serious).

Bloggers (especially bloggers who read as readers only, not as writer / readers) have taught me, over the past few years, that it's not about literary bells and whistles--it's the story, stupid. It's a compelling plotline. It's (maybe more importantly) about connection: connection between the characters on the page and between the characters and the reader. It's about providing something fresh--not obtuse, fresh. A fresh take on a standard trope. A never-before-seen quirky protagonist.

Over the past few months, I've been taking those lessons into revisions. Both the rewrites for my next YA and the edits for my first indie book (an NA rom-com to release in the next few weeks) have been a completely different process because of the insights I've gained reading blog reviews.

So thank you, bloggers, for your hard work. Thanks for your honesty, for your thoughtfulness. Thanks for pushing me, every step of the way, to be better. You are, as I said earlier, as inspiring as it gets...

Monday, February 9, 2015

KILLING MY DARLINGS

Last week, I turned in the revision of my next YA. This was by far the most extensive rewrite I've ever done. I mentioned it before at the blog, but what started out being a 75K-word manuscript became, in the course of about two days after receiving my editorial letter, a 30K-word manuscript.

I've learned more about writing in the past year than any other year on record (thank you, bloggers). And more than I've been leaning on the power of the pen lately, I've been relying on the almighty scissors. I did turn in a 62K-word manuscript, but this rewrite would have been much different had I been hesitant to cut so much of the original draft from the get-go.

...It looks as though I've finally embraced the old killing your darlings lesson. Man, that was a hard one to get through my skull...



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SCHOLASTIC AND THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY

I just received some cool news while in the midst of my YA rewrite: Scholastic has purchased the paperback book club rights for THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY! It should publish in April.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

HEMINGWAY ON WRITING

I'm up to my eyebrows in revisions for my next YA; I actually cut over 40K from my 75K-word manuscript. Yeah. This might very well be the biggest rewrite I've ever tackled...

...It's always been hard for me to identify my absolute favorite Hemingway-on-writing quote, but this one's always been at the top of the list, and feels especially true now:





...Aaaaand I'm back to work...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS

Before Christmas, my brother and I started brainstorming what our pro-fighter (boxing, wrestling, etc.) names would be. (This was one of those car-ride conversations...) I decided mine would be Lightning Bolt Larry. (Got a nice ring eh?)

...So my brother took it upon himself to make me a shirt bearing my fighting name. To wear, of course, when I need to attack some new writing job.

Right now, I'm attacking my editor's notes for my forthcoming YA. And man, do I mean attack. I've already slashed 30K words out of it. Ouch.

Back to work!


Monday, January 5, 2015

CUTTING MANUSCRIPTS: DIALOGUE TAGS

Back when I first started writing full-length novels, 30K words was often a struggle. Now, the opposite is true: as I recently began revising my first indie release, an NA rom com, what started out as a 104K-word project quickly ballooned to 122K (and that was after I'd cut six chapters).

I didn't think I could cut another full chapter, so I asked via social media for authors' fave cutting techniques.

One suggested attacking unnecessary dialogue tags. It's turned out to be the absolute best (and simplest) revising technique I've discovered in years. Along with an unnecessary tag often comes unnecessary exposition. Whole paragraphs were deleted as I attacked the manuscript; conversations are now short and snappy and to the point (a plus, I think, when reading an e-book). Putting my focus on those unnecessary tags has brought the manuscript back down to the original 104K words.

I know I'm never going to read another book now without zeroing in on those tags (they'll bug me every bit as much as small talk in dialogue, and that can make me literally hurl a book across a room).

What are your own favorite manuscript-trimming techniques?



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BLEARY-EYED

Okay, I'll admit I'm a bit late in posting my own bleary-eyed, it's-too-early-for-a-real-hairdo Christmas-morning photo (FB and Twitter were full of 'em last week)...

We've had our own ugly sweater contest at the Schindler abode for the past few Christmases; the winner is in possession of the trophy all year long. This year, we went for decorating sweaters (or in my case, a sweatshirt) in some way that represented a carol. Mine was silver bells; I didn't even come close to winning. But, hey, I got a book to write. ;)

Hope you're all in the midst of a fantastic holiday!

More soon...
My '14 Christmas tree; I'm done with traditional trees. Obviously.

Monday, December 22, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I'm off to plunge into a holiday week full of people, projects, and activities that fill my heart with nothing but joy...And I'm wishing the same for all the readers and bloggers who've been the highlight of '14.

Happy holidays!


Monday, December 15, 2014

READER EMPATHY / LIKABLE NARRATORS

I struggle with the idea of the likable narrator all the time.  As I stated in this post at my YA group author blog, YA Outside the Lines, I feel like part of my job is to present a character's unvarnished truth.  (We're inside a character's head, after all--we should get a glimpse into all their thoughts, not just those of the more PC variety.) 

I recently got this incredible bit of advice on the subject from a fellow author and had to share...

This author insisted that the focus shouldn't be on creating simply a likable narrator, but in creating reader empathy.  To create empathy, a writer should pick two of the following:

1. Make the main character a victim of undeserved misfortune.
2. Put the main character in jeopardy.
3. Make the main character likable.
4. Make the main character funny.
5. Make the main character powerful or good at what they do.

This makes so much sense to me.  Right now, in my NA-in-progress, both of my main characters are actually 3, 4, and 5 (the female is more 4 than the male), with a little of 2 sprinkled in.  (Jackpot!)  But I love the idea of focusing on empathy rather than likability (likability is only one option in the list for creating empathy).

Any other additions you might put on this list to create empathy--or to get a reader invested in a character's journey?




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

GIFTING (SIGNED BOOKPLATES)

For anyone who plans to give one of my books as a gift this holiday season, I'm sweetening the deal a bit:

Email your mailing address to: hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll shoot you a signed bookplate to go with the gift.  (The earlier you send your address, the better chance you have of getting it in time to put it inside the book before wrapping.)


A Christmas card I drew years ago for my parents to send out.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

WHORUBLOG HOLIDAY #READATHON

I'm delighted to participate this year in the Holiday #Readathon, hosted by WhoRuBlog.  Technically, I'm up to my eyebrows in global edits for my first indie release (an NA rom com), and won't be able to hit my own TBR pile (man, that thing's getting enormous), but I am delighted to announce that I'll be hosting my own Holiday #Readathon giveaway.

My '14 releases (THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY and FERAL) feature smart protagonists who don't see the world as it is, in a literal sense.  They're both wildly imaginative--they're out-of-the-box thinkers.  So for my giveaway, I'm asking readers to tell me:  

What's the most out-of-the-box, non-traditional thing you ever did that gave you a sense of the Christmas spirit or put you in a holiday mood?

Tweet your answer to @holly_schindler (or leave your response in the comments) to enter.  One winner will receive his or her choice of  a signed copy of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY or FERAL.

Giveaway runs through December 7; US only.

More on the books up for giveaway:

THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY (Contemporary MG) 



“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.

Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town.  So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.”  But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye.

What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time.

Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.

FERAL (YA Psychological Thriller)





The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

FERAL IN PW'S STARRED REVIEWS ANNUAL

This arrived in my mailbox yesterday, offering yet another reason to be thankful: my PUBLISHERS WEEKLY CHILDREN'S STARRED REVIEWS ANNUAL.  It was like getting the PW star all over again, for FERAL (featured in the YA thriller section).






To view the review in full, head to PW

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

HAPPY THANKS, TURKEYS

I've got quite a bit on my Thanksgiving plate this year...and it's not just gravy and mashed potatoes, either.  I'm up to my eyebrows in global revisions for my very first indie release.  And I'm having a blast with it.  This year, I'm thankful for new life chapters and exciting projects...

Wishing all of you a bountiful Thanksgiving!

I recently spotted these guys in a field near my house.  They took one look at me and skedaddled.

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