Guest Post: Holly Schindler

I am excited to share a guest post from Holly Schindler, author of A Blue So Dark, released in May of last year, and Playing Hurt, which releases tomorrow (March 8). Holly describes Playing Hurt as “a romance between two former athletes,” while A Blue So Dark “explores the possible link between mental illness and creativity.” Thank you to Holly for stopping by the blog today, and for being a huge advocate for book bloggers everyday! You can learn more about both of her books through this extended trailer:

Many authors say that you never really learn how to write a novel, you only learn how to write the novel that you are writing.  Now that you have published your second novel (in a different genre, no less) did you find this to be true?  To what extent did your experiences with each book differ?  Was there anything you learned when writing A BLUE SO DARK that you found helpful when writing PLAYING HURT?

I’d say, in all honesty, that you really don’t have any idea how to write a novel until you’ve written about five or six.  No matter how many books you’ve read or critiqued, or how extensively you’ve studied literature, no matter how many short stories you’ve written, there’s no replacement for the process of writing a full-length novel.  And like anything else in life—whether it’s learning to drive, or play ball, or speak a foreign language—you don’t master any activity with one singular experience.  It takes far more than one afternoon behind the wheel to become a good driver, or playing one basketball game to become a skilled player.  It takes years of effort to get good at anything—especially writing.  Once you’re written a half dozen novels, you have some sort of idea where to begin.

There’s also (unfortunately) no replacement for going through the book development process.  I had a professor in school who used to say, “You really can’t read Faulkner unless you’ve read Faulkner.”  The same, I realized, is true of writing a book.  You don’t really know how to write a publishable book until you’ve published a book.  Once A BLUE SO DARK, my debut, was acquired, it went through a string of meetings to determine the official title and cover art.  Revisions were made; copyedits done.  Proofs mailed to me.  I worked with three different editors at Flux, plus a publicist.  I helped to write the final jacket copy; I saw how the book was marketed in catalogs.

Long story short, the development process really streamlined my writing as I moved into additional projects.  Once you’ve seen it for yourself, you understand what you’re aiming for.  If I can play with Frost’s insistence that writing free verse poetry is like playing tennis without a net, I’d have to say that those projects you write before you ink any publishing deals are like playing badminton blindfolded.  You’re pretty sure you’ve scored, but not a hundred percent.  You just hope for the best.

After you see a book through development, you have a much better sense of whether the next book you start working on is publishable.  You’re not flying quite as blind anymore.

…That having been said, though, I love to take on challenges…which, for me, means taking on as many different genres as I can.  Every time I take on a brand new genre, I get that first-time tingle.  My debut, A BLUE SO DARK, is a literary YA.  PLAYING HURT is a romance.  I’ve also sold my first middle grade novel to Dial.  To see what else I’ve got up my sleeve, you should follow along at my blog:

Thanks again, Holly, for telling us about your writing and publishing experiences! I can’t wait for my copy of Playing Hurt to arrive. Remember that you can learn more about Holly and her books by checking out other stops on the Teen Book Scene tour.


6 Responses to "Guest Post: Holly Schindler"

  • What a great guest post – I love how Holly laid out the process and explained how much goes into writing. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of Playing Hurt!

    1 Tara said this (March 7, 2011 at 9:39 AM)

  • I’m really excited to read her new book. Excellent post and some good writing advice for me to consider.

    2 Sarah said this (March 7, 2011 at 8:57 PM)

  • i’m a new GFC follower! love the blog and i’m excited to read more! this book looks so interesting!!

    follow me?!

    3 lindsaywrites said this (March 8, 2011 at 10:45 PM)

  • I STILL need to read “A Blue So Dark,” but it’s in a pile… somewhere… lol “Playing Hurt” sounds equally awesome 🙂

    4 Lindsi said this (March 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM)

  • I love Holly AND everything she writes. I need to track down Playing Hurt with a quickness so that I can dive back into her beautiful prose.

    5 Jen said this (March 11, 2011 at 10:34 AM)

    • I hear nothing but good things about her writing. I now have Playing Hurt and A Blue So Dark waiting for me. I can’t wait to have more reading time soon so that I can dive into them.

      6 Melanie said this (March 11, 2011 at 10:36 AM)