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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guest Post: Holly Schindler

~~~Guest Post~~~

by Holly Schindler

My debut novel, A BLUE SO DARK, is a literary YA that tackles mental illness, the nature of creativity, and the healing power of art, and is due out from Flux Books May 1!

My sophomore YA, PLAYING HURT, a summer romance that occurs between two athletes, is due out from Flux in ’11.

I know this might, at first, seem a little strange—following a literary novel with a romance. When I was in college, literary (character-driven) work and genre (plot-driven) work were discussed as two COMPLETELY different forms of writing. But the revision process I went through to sell these two novels proves just how much the two genres depend on one another.

Let me explain:

I wrote A BLUE SO DARK in an explosion of creative energy—the whole process took just a little over two months! I cleaned it up, polished it, and began to submit…and the rejections started flooding my inbox. I was hearing that the book had some good literary writing but was just plain too internal. The novel took place FAR too much in Aura’s head. So I had to insert some action—instead of Aura TELLING the reader how she felt about her mother or her school life or her art or her best friend, I began to devise scenes in which we could see her interact with the people in her life.

Once Aura was talking and moving about in the world, she became a fully rounded character. Those editors I was submitting to could actually understand Aura BETTER when they witnessed her interacting with the world around her than they could when she told them who she was straight-out!

PLAYING HURT was originally a romance about a couple of teens who found love through a summer affair. The main character, Chelsea, basically learned, in the initial draft, that there was a difference between friendship and romantic love—for the first time, she learned what lust, what passion felt like. But while the first draft of this book was filled with dramatized scenes, there just didn’t seem to be enough going on internally with the characters.

So...I took a look at my draft, and thought my main character, Chelsea, seemed kind of...athletic. She liked the outdoor activities that took place at the resort where she met Clint, her love interest. So I thought—what if she’s an EX-athlete? What if she’s been hurt, and is at the resort to get some confidence...and then I thought, what if CLINT’s been hurt...I began to build them up internally, focusing on character development rather than plot this time to fully round out the story.

Basically, I had to use what I’d learned from all my reading of genre fiction to infuse drama into A BLUE SO DARK, my literary novel. And I had to use what I’d learned about character development from literary fiction in order to fill out PLAYING HURT, my romance!

...So, yeah, literary and genre...I think they ABSOLUTELY go hand-in-hand...


You know, I had never really thought about that before but Holly is absolutely right; literary and genre do go hand in hand. Terrific guest post Holly!

I certainly hope the rest of you enjoyed Holly's guest post and will comment with your thoughts. If you haven't already, you may want to check out the interview I did with Holly HERE. Also, stay tuned because a Sneak Peek at A Blue So Dark is still to come.


Sandy said...

I never really thought about that either! I didn't even realize that most thought that literary & genre work were completely different... but Holly makes a pretty good point. :)

I want that sneak peek. :D Can't wait for it!!

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

Great post, Holly! I look forward to reading your books. Thank you for sharing the process of writing A BLUE SO DARK, it's a great reminder to any of us aspiring authors to make sure there is enough action going on. I'll even read it in paperback form. :)

Natascha De Marco said...

Eeeks! The book sounds very interesting. Thanks for stopping by Holly =]

Lenore Appelhans said...

Thanks for your insight Holly! I have an author friend who is struggling with a book where things are very internal. I'll send her a link to this :)

Kari Olson said...

Very awesome post, Holly. It's great to see how the book ended up coming about- and how you took what the rejections said and used it to make the novel even better and I am betting readers will be wowed with this final product. Congrats on the release!

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Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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