Holly Black's Blog
May 1, 2013
April 16, 2013
And I just got my first printed copy in the mail!
If you like this kind of thing (and I hope you do), my spooky middle grade book comes out on May 7th.
And I have tour dates!
123 West Jefferson
CUDAHY FAMILY LIBRARY
3500 Library Drive (just south of Layton)
165 Western Avenue. N #14
St. Paul, MN
2720 West 43rd Street
As for the book itself, so far, some very nice people have said some nice things about it:
“A little bit scary and full of heart, this story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.”
--Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award winning author of When You Reach Me
“Nobody does spooky like Holly Black. Doll Bones is a book that will make you sleep with the lights on.”
--Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
“Tightly focused, realistic tale—bladed with a hint of fairy-tale darkness.... Stories about the importance of stories...don’t come much more forthright and affecting than this one.”
--Booklist, starred review
“Every encounter redraws the blurry lines between childishness and maturity, truth and lies, secrecy and honesty, magic and madness. Spooky, melancholy, elegiac and ultimately hopeful; a small gem.”
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
”A darn good adventure.”
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
If you'd like to read some of the first chapter, CLICK HERE.
If you'd like to pre-order, you can do so at bn.com, at amazon, or at your local independent bookstore.
If you'd like to re-blog, you will have my eternal gratitude.
March 20, 2013
Imagination: A Conversation
Description: It’s a given that authors’ minds are very strange, wonderful, twisted, illogical, inventive places. Here we talk to five rather imaginative authors about how they conjure the worlds in their books and the stories that they tell, along with glimpses of the strange and wonderful worlds they are creating at the present.
moderators: David Levithan and Chris Shoemaker
For more NYC Teen Author Festival events, click here.
February 4, 2013
I am super excited to be able to share with you the cover fo THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN. I absolutely love it, especially the veins underneath the type which I think are perfect for the book and also gorgeous (in a creepy way, yes, but I am a creepy lady) and the blue brocade which almost looks composed of menacing faces. I was delighted when it was first shown to me and I love it even better now. I have put it as a background screen on my computer and each time I look at it, I am delighted all over again.
Want some ARC copy to tell you a little more about the book?
COLDTOWN WAS DANGEROUS, TANA KNEW. A GLAMOROUS CAGE, A PRISON FOR THE DAMNED AND ANYONE WHO WANTED TO PARTY WITH THEM?
Tana lived in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
EEEEE! I am so happy to finally be able to show you the cover and talk a little bit more about the book. I very much hope you like the cover!
January 25, 2013
Tony really outdid himself this time in redesigning the Spiderwick covers for their 10th anniversary (!!!) and a larger size for the hardcover. Here’s the first one Click over to EW.com to see an exclusive look the other five covers and read an interview ith Mr. DiTerlizzi about his inspiration for the repackage.
January 16, 2013
I finally saw the Hobbit, after feeling guilty about not seeing it for weeks and being about to have to turn in my nerd card. I got tickets to the midnight show on opening night, but was too sick to go and then kind of forgot about it in the madness of New Years - but, all that aside, it was kind of amazing to go back to Middle Earth. And I loved the scene where Saruman complains and complains and complains about Radagast's bad teeth and mushroom eating while Galadriel and Gandalf pretend to be listening, but are really talking to one another
But also, it has caused me to think about how I want to have a more hobbit-y kitchen. Like, earthenware mugs and more cheese and a better larder. Maybe lots of preserves. Like this:
Mugs by Etsy store ClayCrazePottery.
Mug by Etsy store SundanceClayworks.
Chokecherry Plum Jam and Crabapple Jelly by Etsy store BlueKittysCauldron.
Also, maybe I am crazy? Cassie seems to think I have gone a bit mad finishing our draft of The Iron Trial, but she supports me having more cheese in the house. What about you guys? What do you always keep in your larder?
December 31, 2012
2012 was an interesting year with a lot of big changes for me. I finished two and a half books, sold five more books, traveled a lot and, for once in a very long time, didn't tour. Right now, I know at least part of my schedule until 2017, which might freak out some people, but which makes me really happy. I love a plan! And I am working with two new* editors.
I wrote one short story this year, "Millcara" for Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt's Rags and Bones anthology. And I had one short story come out, "Little Gods" in Jonathan Strahan's Under My Hat anthology.
The final book in the Curse Workers series, Black Heart, came out, finishing up Cassel's story of con artistry, magic and mobsters. I know there are rumors of a fourth book, but for right now, there isn't one. They're just rumors. If that changes, I promise that I will be very clear and very loud about it!
This past year, I finished writing and editin Doll Bones, my first middle grade novel since the Spiderwick Chronicles (Doll Bones comes out in May, from Simon & Schuster, around the time when we're going to be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Spiderwick), and have nearly finished the first book of the five-book middle grade series I am writing with good friend Cassie Clare (The Iron Trial, out from Scholastic in 2014). In YA book news, I wrote The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, a stand-alone vampire novel that's as dark and decadent as I could make it (out with Little, Brown in September).
As you can see, most of 2012 was getting ready for 2013. And I do feel ready . . . and excited. I haven't had a new project to look forward to since Curse Workers launched in 2010 and now I have three. Doll Bones and Coldest Girl are books that scared me a lot to write and I really, really, really hope you guys will like them. I also have two tours in the US to look forward to -- so hopefully I will be coming to your city sometime soon.
Until then, though, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I plan to spend the evening drinking champagne and tomorrow looking forward to the coming year and making resolutions. How about you? How will you be spending the last day of this year and the first day of 2013?
*Well. I worked with both editors before (and had lots of fun), but working with them on novels is new.
December 25, 2012
Spent this holiday with my family. My mom and mother-in-law helped me craft some crafty stuff to be sent out with a special DOLL BONES mailing.
What is that? CREEPY, that's what.
December 24, 2012
December 7, 2012
Previous "How I Wrote" posts are: How I Wrote Black Heart and How I Wrote Doll Bones.
I started doing these to keep myself honest and to learn more about my process. Along the way, I realized that what might be the most helpful to other writers was seeing that finishing a book isn't about writing lots and lots of words every day. It's about the practice of just continuing to put words down, even if you're only writing 300 words at a time. And as I post more and more of these, its interesting how clear it is that every book is written a little differently and poses different challenges.
Please note that writing this book wasn't all I did with my time. Sometimes there were good reasons why I didn't write more or didn't write at all, such as other work. Sometimes there weren't such good reasons. If I remembered (or noted) what was going on on a particular day I tried to jot it down.
This book posed three fairly significant challenges: (1) It was based on a short story, which you can read here, so I had to decide how much of the short story went into the novel itself and whether any of the characters overlapped. (2) I had to decide how to get all the stuff I love about vampires in the book without making it feel derivative. (3) I had to introduce the rules of world in a way that wouldn't be confusing or slow the pace, but would be enough information for the reader to buy into it.
Oh, and there turned out to be one more challenge. This book is 110,000 words and thirty-nine chapters. So, basically, the longest thing I have ever written.
My average writing day was about 1,010, which is high for me and may be the result of the fact that much of this book was written on writing retreats. It would be even higher if I hadn't had to do so much rewriting, which dragged down the totals. There appeared to be 94 days of actual writing, which is kind of amazing. During that time, there were 36 days I didn't work on Coldtown. Of those days, 10 of them were spent working on another project, 10 were days off, 9 were travel or teaching, 3 I was sick and 4 were planning revisions. There is a lost bit of August and July not represented here where I was working on edits, teaching, writing a short story and other things.
Added together = 94 days of actual writing/revising @ 1,010 average.
If you add in the days of planning revisions, that gives us = 98 days of writing/revising @ 969 a day.
YOU CAN DO THAT. IT'S TOTALLY DOABLE.
I started writing COLDEST GIRL in France, on a writing retreat with some friends. I wrote five thousand words in the first week. Unfortunately, they were the *wrong* five thousand words. For more, read on:
July 3 - START (300 words)
July 4 - 1,300 (1,000)
July 5 − 2,200 (900)
July 6 − 3,200 (1,000)
July 7 - 4,000 (800)
July 8 - 5,000 (1,000) - started over. <---This is the day that I realized I was going to have to start over with an entirely different beginning.
July 9 - 6,100 (1,100) <--See how I am in denial about that? I haven't adjusted the word count.
July 10 − MOVED LOTS OF STUFF - 3,100 (1,000) <---But now I did. And I managed to salvage some of it. Or at least I managed to pretend I wasn't going to have to throw all of it out.
July 11 - 3,800 (700)
July 12 − 5,000 (1,200)
July 13 - 6,500 (1,500)
July 14 − 7,700 (1,200)
July 15 - 8,700 (1,000)
July 16 - 10,300 (1,600)
July 17 - 11,700 (1,400)
July 18 − 12,600 (900)
July 19 − 14,300 (1,700)
July 20 − 15,600 (1,300)
July 21 - 17,200 (1,500)
July 22 - 18,900 (1,700)
July 23 - 19,500 (600)
July 24 - 0 <-- I worked on the proposal for a different project instead of Coldtown.
July 25 − 20,500 (1,000)
July 26 − 22,000 (1,500)
July 27 − 22,400 (400) <--- My word count is low here because I wrote up part of the actual proposal for Coldtown to send out to editors instead of writing the book.
July 28 - DAY OF FUN <--- We were in France! We had to spend at least one day visiting cute towns, drinking wine and swimming in the pool.
July 29 - 23,200 (800)
July 30 - FLY HOME
July 31 − 23,500 (300)
JULY TOTAL = 23,500
August 1 − 24,400 (900)
August 2 − 25,600 (1,200)
August 3 − 26,100 (500)
Other edits = 29,600
AUGUST TOTAL = 6,100
So at this point, I had to stop working on COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN. I had to write DOLL BONES -- and you will can see how that started up in September (with a break where I was working on a couple of other things) here.
February 13 - 1,000 (30,600)
February 14 − 900 (31,500)
February 15 - 500 (32,000) <-- Edits on old chapters
February 16 - 1,500 (33,500)
February 17 - 0 <--wrote on a different book
February 18 − 1,300 (34,800)
February 19 − 1,000 (35,800)
February 20 − 1,100 (36,900)
February 21 - 1,100 (38,000)
February 22 - 1,700 (39,700)
February 23 - 1,300 (41,000)
February 24 - 400 (41,400) <-- also wrote part of a different book
February 25 − 1,000 (42,400)
February 26 − 1,100 (43,500)
February 27 − 2,100 (45,500)
February 28 - 1,300 (46,800)
February 29 − 1,200 (48,000)
FEBRUARY TOTAL = 24,800
March 1 - 1,000 (49,000)
March 2 - 0 <-- wrote part of a different book
March 3 − 1,000 (50,000)
March 4 − 1,500 (51,500)
March 5 − 1,200 (52,700)
March 6 − 1,500 (54,200)
March 7 − 1,000 (55,200)
March 8 − 1,300 (56,500)
March 9 - 0 <-- wrote part of a different book
March 10 - 0 <--DAY OFF
March 11 - 0 <--FLY HOME
MARCH TOTAL = 8,500
April 26 - Plan Revisions, which mean re-writing the first third significantly and gutting the second third before I write the third third.
April 27 - Plan Revisions
April 28 - Plan Revisions & Revisions 1,700 (58,200)
April 29 - some more revisions…
April 30 − 900 (59,100)
APRIL TOTAL: 2,500
MAY 1 - 500 (59,600) REVISION
May 2 - 0 <--SICK DAY
May 3 - 200 (59,800) REVISION
May 4 − 500 (60,330) REVISION
May 5 − 200 (60,500) REVISION
May 6 − 500 (61,000) REVISION
May 7 - 500 (61,500) REVISION
May 8 − 400 (61,900) REVISION
May 9 − 500 (62,400) REVISION
May 10 − 600 (63,000) REVISION
May 11 - 0 <--Family stuff
May 12 - 0 <--Family stuff
May 13 - 0 <--Family stuff
May 14 − 1,400 (64,400)
May 15 - 0 <-- packing for a business trip to go to Doodle4Google and then on to SCBWI Nevada to teach.
May 16 - 0 <--NYC
May 17 - 0 <--NYC
May 18 - 0 <--NEVADA
May 19 - 0 <--NEVADA
May 20 - 0 <--NEVADA
May 21 - 0 <--NEVADA
May 22 − 750 (65,150)
May 23 − 750 (65,900)
May 24 - 1,400 (63,100) <-- This is where I started noting deletions. I cut almost 5K out of the book on this day, so even though I wrote a significant amount, the total word count went down not up.
May 25 − 1,300 (64,400)
May 26 - 0 <-- DAY OFF
May 27 − 1,600 (66,000)
May 28 - 1,500 (63,200) <-- Deleted another almost 5K from the book here.
May 29 − 900 (64,100)
May 30 - 500 (64,600)
May 31 - DOLL BONES
MAY TOTAL = 5,500
June 1 - DOLL BONES
June 2 - DOLL BONES
June 3 - DOLL BONES
June 4 - DOLL BONES
June 5 - DOLL BONES
June 6 - NYC
June 7 - 600 (65,200)
June 8 - 2,200 (67,400)
June 9 - 1,600 (69,000)
June 10 - 1,200 (69,500) deleted 700 words (68,300)
June 11 − 1,600 (71,100)
June 12 - Nada. I didn’t mean to take the day off, but I did. Stayed up too late on the 11th. Drove up to Vermont. Went to friend’s house. Had some wine.
June 13 - 500 (71,500) <-- spent most of the day helping a friend with her project
June 14 − 300 (71,800) <-- spent most of the day helping a friend with her project.
June 15 − 0 (71,800) <--spent the whole day drinking and talking to artists.
June 16 − 0 (71,800) <-- tried to install Lion and fucked up my computer, leading to day of total computer misery. Did manage to outline all of what goes into the rest of the book, though.
June 17 - 1,200 (73,300) <--deleted another 300 words.
June 18 − 600 (73,900) - <--birthday dinner with friends, but on the whole just a dismal day.
June 19 − 1,300 (75,200) <-- Robin and Maureen visit!
June 20 − 1,100 (76,300) <-- Robin and Maureen visit!
June 21 − 1,100 (77,400) - <-- Long business phone call in middle of day.
June 22 − 900 (78,300)
June 23 - Visting friend
June 24 - Visiting friend
June 25 - 800 (79,100) <--Dropped off friend at train station.
June 26 - 1,200 (82,100)
June 27 - 0 <-- Medical leave.
June 28 - 0 <-- Medical leave.
June 29 - 1,000 (83,400)
June 30 - 1,400 (84,600) Deleted 200 words.
JUNE TOTAL = 20,000
July 1 − 1,200 (85,800)
July 2 - 1,000 (86,800)
July 3 − 1,300 (88,100)
July 4 - Fourth of July! Day off in celebration of writing the last line & now return to beginning. 500 (88,600)
July 5 − 700 (89,300) Went to river. Planned interstitials. Messed with ending.
July 6 − 800 (90,100) Interstitials. DONE!!!
Well, not really. Although that's when I wrote the last sentence and stopped recording, I spent the rest of the month restructuring the ending and turned it in on July 30th at 95,000 words. Subsequent editing and then copyedits added about 15K, during which there was a massive restructuring of a couple of chapters, but I didn't record that editing in this kind of detail.
JULY TOTAL = 10,400