Friday, June 14, 2013

Double Star Blog Tour: Guest Post "On Writing" by Author Cindy Saunders and a Giveaway!

Double Star by Cindy Saunders
(YA - Paranormal Fantasy - Available Now)

She fell into his world, unaware of the key she carried and the doors it opened. A world where darkness waited to be set free... The wait is over.
Do You Believe?

Purchase on Amazon

When Cepheus, a dark god, forces seventeen-year-old Ally Ashworth off an isolated overlook, she has no idea she's falling into his world, or that the necklace she’s wearing is actually a key -- one with the power to ignite the next world war. But she’s carried beyond his reach and into the one place where he’s powerless ... the forest of Gilgamesh.

Ally’s never been Miss Popularity, but her outsider status takes on new meaning when she’s rescued by Liam Cheveyo and his peculiar friends. After seeing them shape-shift into their freaky animal counterparts, Ally smacks hard into a few truths -- magic really does exist and, although getting there took no effort, finding her way back might be impossible.

Feelings between her and Liam begin to grow along with the realization that, in this world, she’s stronger and better ... until she’s caught in a trap set by the creepy spider-boy Cepheus sends to retrieve her. But Ally’s not going down without a fight, not after learning the horrible truth about the passageways.

The survival of both worlds depends on it.

On Writing, with Cindy Saunders of Double Star

"Writing is like riding a bike, sometimes you need to fall off a few times before you finally figure it out."

I was a bit overwhelmed, and certainly humbled, when asked to create a guest blog about my writing experiences. Honestly, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact I’m considered a writer ... but I love it!! Although I have many things I could share, I’ve pared down the list to a few, but perhaps writing is like riding a bike. You need to fall off a few times before you finally figure it out.

Honestly, I was clueless about the writing process when I began Double Star. I simply wanted to tell a story that had been churning around in my mind for years. The first draft was almost a stream of consciousness ... seeing the scene in my head, like a movie, and following it through. I didn’t worry about spelling and punctuation, didn’t understand avoiding back story, showing not telling, etc. What I wound up with was a 203,000 word monster. A friend performed the edits and off went the queries. I didn’t understand why the agents weren’t interested and the rejections were painful. I had a great story (don’t we all?) but one agent was kind enough to actually write a response. She informed me that 203,000 words were far too many for an unpublished author and, more importantly, for the YA genre. The manuscript needed to be 85,000–90,000 words. Really? I had to cut almost 2/3 of my novel! How on earth could I do that and still get the story across?

I needed an unbiased opinion because the few who had read it (thanks Mom!) thought it was fine just the way it was. I hired a freelance editor to critique what I’d written, to let me know if I should invest the time to “kill my little darlings.” She responded with an emphatic “Yes!” But she pointed out that I needed to learn the tricks of the trade. In my first version, Ally went over the cliff at page 40. She told me I needed to get to the inciting incident by page 10! Armed with a huge scalpel, I went back and cut, cut, cut. I discovered a lot of what I’d written was back story; that the reader should get to know Ally, or any of the characters, like one might get to know a real person ... over time.

I began watching movies I wasn’t familiar with and muting the sound. I needed to learn how to show, not tell. How did I know if the character was angry or frustrated or happy? I’d rewind and look at facial expressions, body language, etc., and I began to get it.

When I began the second novel in the series, I vowed that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. After all, it took almost four years from the moment I wrote my first sentence of Double Star to the day it was finally published. I tried to make everything perfect the first time around, but found myself getting stuck in the details and not moving on with the story. I realized that the back story is important in the first draft ... for me anyway. If I’m introducing a new character, I need to sit down and write a chapter or two about that person before they make an appearance into the novel. I need to understand how they act and how they think. As a result, I have a few novellas out there, but it’s a necessary part of how I write. I’ve learned it’s better to have too much than not enough. I need to start with a rough draft where I can let my mind go and not stop the stream of consciousness when it starts to flow. It’s funny ... I’ll be writing a conversation between two characters and sometimes I’ll think, “I didn’t know they were going to say that!” It’s cool to develop them without everything being laid out beforehand.

When Stephen King (my all-time favorite writer!) was asked if he used an outline to write his stories, he responded that outlines are for thesis papers. I love that! This may not work for everyone. Writing is a very subjective process. What I needed to understand was there are no right or wrong ways to go about it. So, my advice? Clear your head, imagine, and don’t be afraid to fall off your bike!

About Cindy Saunders:
CINDY SAUNDERS was born in Lowell, MA. She moved to RI almost twenty-five years ago and now considers the Ocean State her home. She graduated from Bryant College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. When she’s not reading, writing, spending time with her two teenage children (how did that happen?) or working, Cindy tracks down one of her favorite local bands and enjoys a glass of wine. She completed her first novel, Double Star, a YA fantasy, in October 2012 and is currently working on the second book in the series.

Double Star is her first novel.


Find More from Clean Teen Publishing:

Facebook: Clean Teen Publishing, Gabrielle Arrowsmith, Cindy Saunders, Jon Messenger, ELE Series, Night Marchers Series, Strong Image Editing (Cover Designer), Cynthia Shepp (Editor)

Twitter: @CleanTeenPub and follow the Clean Teen Publishing Blog

Amazon: Concealed in the Shadows by Gabrielle Arrowsmith, Wonderstruck (A Clean Teen Publishing Anthology), Project ELE and Night Marchers by Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels

Upcoming Releases:
June 7, 2013: Double Star by Cindy Saunders
June 14, 2013: Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger


One lucky winner will receive a Kindle copy of Double Star and a bookmark! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM ET on June 28, 2013.

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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Susan, for this spot and the opportunity to share my experiences ... great blogsite!!!!


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