The Ink Splat is our monthly activity letter filled with inspiration sparking challenges and resources guaranteed to inspire your creativity. In this Ink Splat, the book and author spotlighted is The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky By Holly Schindler along with an author interview! Submit a response to a challenge and you may have a chance to be published online! What are you waiting for?

The Challenge: Shine Bright

In the Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, Auggie discovers her ‘shine’ in the sculptures her and Gus make. Think about all of the unique talents in the world – balancing quarters on your elbow, being able to make people laugh, befriending every animal you meet – and write a story about a character who discovers their own special shine! Schindler3

Submit your response HERE!

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky By Holly Schindler

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

In The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, 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.

Check out the book trailer here.

Interview with author Holly Schindler:

Q: When did you fall in love with writing?  

A: In some ways, it feels like I’ve always been a writer. I’ve always loved books—I had to have a new picture book each time I went to the supermarket with my mom! I was also painfully shy when I was younger—I used to cry at playgrounds because other kids were there, and I was afraid of talking to them. It was pretty Schindler2natural, I think, as such a shy kid, to gravitate toward writing, because it takes so much alone-time. I’m not nearly as shy as I used to be, but I still love my alone-time with my characters!

Q: What is the best part about writing for you?

A: Revision. I love revision; first drafts are pretty painful. I give myself enormous daily word-count deadlines, so I can get through the first draft as quickly as possible. When I’m revising, I can see my characters become full-fledged people. I think that’s how a book becomes a book, actually—by revising as many times as possible!

Q: What’s one thing that young writers can do right now to help build their writing skills?

A: Write every day. It’s that simple. Writing is just like playing sports or a musical instrument. You’ve got to practice, practice, practice to get good at it.

Writing Exercise:

Complements of Holly Schindler, here’s a writing exercise to try! 

“The absolute most crucial part of writing a novel, I think, has to do with getting to know your characters. If you know your character as well as you know yourself, your story will come to life! One of the best ways to get to know your main character is to write a journal.  Use everything that happened to you during the day, and imagine how your main character would have responded to or handled those events.

Some things to consider as you write in your journal:

– Does your character have a magical power?  If so, how would your character use it? For example: Let’s say you were standing in the lunch line when someone accidentally stepped on your toe. In your own life, you probably said, “Ooomph!” and the stepper (hopefully) apologized, and lunch went on as normal. But imagine that your character has the ability to blow gale force winds of 1000-mph when upset. By just saying, “Ooomph!”, your character has accidentally knocked over every table in the cafeteria, and the food from the lunch line is splattered all over the walls! Now what happens through the rest of lunch?

– Is your character from another time? How would a simple afternoon of going to the movies be different for a time-traveler from the 1800s?

– Maybe your character doesn’t have any superpowers, isn’t a time-traveler. Maybe they’re a fourth / fifth grader—a regular old Joe, like the rest of us. How does being shy change what happened in the cafeteria line scenario? How would the class clown respond to getting his (or her) toe stepped on? What if your character is an athlete, and wants to play in the big game, and is hiding the fact that her toe is broken? Would a whelp of pain expose the secret?

Schindler1It’s amazing what those character journals can do—they help you get to know your character like nothing else. Sometimes, though, your own daily events can also help you figure out some of the events of the book, too!”

Always keep in mind, revising is never easy, but like Holly Schindler says, “One of the best things a young writer can do is learn to love revision, and to appreciate comments from teachers or readers. Those comments aren’t meant to hurt your feelings; they’re meant to make your work better. The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky was first drafted in ’05 as a picture book. It took multiple rewrites to turn it into a full-length novel, then several rounds of rewrites to land an agent, then several rounds of revision to find an editor and publishing house, then three more rounds of global revision—changing events and characters—at the publishing house before it went to copyediting!”

Revising is a lot of work, but it’s sure to pay off in the end!

Thanks Holly Schindler!

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is available at Amazon!

For more about author Holly Schindler and her books visit her website here.

Also, check out the next stop on her tour here, scheduled for March 18th!