So much to say and so little space to say it! I just realized how much I had going on at the original "From the Cheap Seats" and decided to start a little cousin blog. This blog will focus on book reviews and writings of a more creative nature.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"The Writing Life" by guest author Cyndia Depre

One of the neatest things about writing is that ideas are everywhere. Someone famous, I can’t remember who, said, to paraphrase, “A writer is always writing. Even when they’re looking out the window.” That’s so true. When an idea for a story comes, I think of what I could do with it. What could make it interesting enough for me to spend the next six months or year on it? Would it be interesting to readers? If I think so, then I set my imagination loose. There is only one boundary for me. It must be believable.

I write what’s in my heart. An Oprah show made me ache inside for women who had been victimized. That empathy spurred me to write Amanda’s Rib. Intolerance really makes me angry, and attacking it was the inspiration for Oblivious. Amanda’s Rib is dark. Oblivious is cheerful. But both have a message. We don’t read just one type of book, so why write only one style?

There is no set schedule for my writing. Who needs the stress of trying to force words they don’t feel like writing? I work with a lot of new writers, and many of them are young women. They usually have a job, a husband or significant other, and kids. How they find the time and energy to write astounds me. I’m in awe of them. What dedication! I usually wake up with ideas in the night and sit on the bathroom floor making notes. In the morning I organize my midnight scribbles. If I feel like writing, I do. I don’t do character charts or outlines. I tried, but kept straying, which made me feel guilty. The characters come to me with names, histories, faces, voices, etc. I make a note of their ages and birthdays and that’s it. My first draft is the outline. I write the ending first, then work toward it. If a scene comes to me out of order, I write it and save it for where it fits. In short, I probably do everything wrong. But it works for me, and that’s all that matters.

I had an agent for a while, but we parted on genial terms. She wanted changes, and I made most of them. There were two I refused to budge on, even if it meant I never found a publisher. She understood. I did send out more queries to agents, and got many requests for full manuscripts. But they all wanted one change, one the original agent wanted, and I wouldn’t make it. After that I represented myself. Doing that limits the publishers who will look at your work, but Mundania Press did. They wanted Amanda’s Rib, with no changes! They are a small house, which can be difficult. But they do their best in a competitive business and a bad economy. They’ve treated me in a fair, honest, kind manner. Gads, I’ve heard horror stories about some publishers. I feel very lucky.

I’m currently working on my third novel. It brings in a few characters from Amanda’s Rib and Oblivious, but focuses on two new protagonists.

PS About that change I wouldn’t make….that’s probably the best decision I made. Readers say they like it as I wrote it. So trust your instincts!

By Cyndia Depre, the author of Oblivious and Amanda's Rib.

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