Sunday, February 25, 2018

THE SHORTER THE BETTER (HOLLY SCHINDLER)

I've been thinking about brevity and writing a lot...I've had some really great recent Twitter conversations regarding the topic, but really, the seeds were planted in '15, the first year I indie (self) pubbed anything. It was also the year I released "Come December," which remains my bestselling independently-released work to date.

It is also a short story.

To be fair, it's an adult work, and it was released at just the right time (on Thanksgiving weekend, right when everyone was hungry for holiday reads), etc. But I still think there's something to short, concise works.

Those playing devil's advocate might point to frantic modern lifestyles as a reason why we have no patience for long, sprawling novels. But is that really true? Or have novels gotten increasingly longer? When was the last time you heard of an author releasing a wildly popular novella? (POBBY AND DINGAN is the last I can personally remember, and that was--gulp--18 years ago.) And yet, I can point to several classics that are short: OF MICE AND MEN and ANIMAL FARM, for example, hover around 30K. THE GREAT GATSBY and FARENHEIT 451 are both around 50K. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA is around 27K. (By comparison, my MG novel THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, released in '14, also clocks in around 47K. A work for children is now the equivalent in length of so many adult classics.)

What's happening? Have writers lost their ability to kill all their darlings?

I'm not sure I have an answer yet. Or if there's really an answer to be had. Instead, what I can do is work on sharpening my own scissors. I've consistently been working with shorter pieces--last year's ALL ROADS and CHRISTMAS AT RUBY'S (also adult works) hovered at around 150 and 100 pages respectively. I've been working on making my MG work shorter as well.

In fact, I've got an MG superhero story about to release that focuses on concise storytelling (under 10K). It also uses a character I invented when I was eight--a hero whose superpower is kindness. (Something we need today more than ever.) I even incorporated my original drawing of Super Susan into the cover:

KINDNESS IS A SUPERPOWER
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER SUSAN will release as soon as I approve the proof. To be notified of its availability, please sign up for my MG Reads Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/csXfbr 

Thanks in advance for your interest!

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