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Devon Ellington Interview

You have a very varied experience in writing. Which has been the highlight of your career so far?
There’s no one big highlight; there are so many joys along the way. Plays produced in New York, London, Edinburgh, and Australia are alwaysfabulous experiences. Because of my background in theatre, one of my greatest joys is to work with actors who connect to my work and bring it to life. HEX BREAKER’s publication this August was a highlight. It startedmy association with Fire Drakes Weyr Publishing, and is the first JainLazarus Adventure. NEW MYTHS’S publication of my story “The Merry’sDalliance” (written as Cerridwen Iris Shea) was a thrill, because it’s oneof my personal favorites of my work. Each publication or production orarticle that appears holds its own unique delight, and each one is abuilding block to more and, hopefully, stronger, creative work.

In addition to writing, you've also worked backstage on Broadway and infilm and television for most of your life. How have these experiences affected your writing?
It’s taught me about character and plot arcs, but, most importantly, it’s taught me about cadence. Each character must have a unique speechpattern, the way each person does. If a character’s speech pattern varies,it must be a character choice, there has to be a reason or motivation; itcan’t be sloppiness on the writer’s part. Also, it’s taught me to writewithin budget constraints, if I’m writing for theatre or an indie filmproject. I’m not going to write a cast of 45 with sets that twirl and lift if it’s a black box theatre and a budget that can support 4 actors. On the one hand, you want to write your vision, but there’s also the flip side, ofbeing commissioned to write specific work, and being able to write within the context of technical and budgetary constraints without losing acreative vision is a big plus. I’ll get the gig over someone who has noclue about production details.

You definitely don't fit into a niche. Do you think it's important for a writer to try different genres and types of writing?
I think it’s part of our responsibility as creators. Why do the samestory over and over, simply using the global replace function for character name and setting? Yes, there are writers who do that and are regularly published. But where’s the fun of that? Every project should challenge you, should make you take a creative risk, should make you grow in a newway. Not everything’s going to work, but you’ve got to keep trying newthings. Otherwise you stagnate. And so do your readers.

How does your writing process differ depending on the type of projectyour working on?
Every project is a bit like reinventing the wheel. You have to trustin your characters and use your process as a spring board, not a prison. Your subconscious has a much better idea of how it should all work thanyour conscious, so you have to have the trust to dive down the creativewell and see what you find. That’s one of the joys of writing. Sometimes you outline, sometimes you fly on the blank page. Sometimes you run with the inspiration of the moment, then have to stop and plot. If you start acreative project by focusing on your marketing plan, you lose the joy of discovery. Write it first, make it the best it can be, especially earlyon. Then figure out where it fits into the wider scheme of things – orcreate your own nicheless niche. Why let other people define you?

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My main blog on the ups and downs of the freelance writing life is Inkin My Coffee: http://devonellington.wordpress.com. To read an excerpt from HEX BREAKER, visit the Jain Lazarus website: http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com. There’s also the general Devon Ellington website,www.devonellingtonwork.com, the Cerridwen Iris Shea website,www.cerridwenscottage.com, and the businesswriting/teaching/coaching/critique site, www.fearlessink.com. I’m teaching my dialogue workshop again at the Muse Online Writers’Conference this year. That’s a great place to develop work, network withother writers, and, in general have a great time. It’s virtual and it’sfree.

Anything you'd like to add?
Come join me on the creative journey! We’re all in this together, andwe should support each other’s dreams!

12 comments:

  1. Great interview! Devon is a hugely inspirational person with how much she does!

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  2. A terrific interview!

    "Every project is a bit like reinventing the wheel." Absolutely right.

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  3. Great interview. You are so inspirational.

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  4. Devon is an inspiration to half-asses everywhere. She's the genuine, writerly article, that's for sure. And a terrific, supportive friend, to boot. Thanks for featuring her!

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  5. I really enjoyed the interview. Thanks.

    http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com

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  6. I love being reminded about cadence. I continue to learn from Devon and am very grateful.

    Aisling aka Larkin

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  7. You are a well of information, Devon, interesting interview...

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  8. Thanks so much for hosting me here, and thanks, everyone, for all your comments!

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  9. A wonderful and informative interview!

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  10. Devon,
    You are inspiring as always. I always walk away learning something and the desire to write!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Joy aka Zebee, or is it the other way around?

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  11. I get to say I knew her when...

    Devon's a super person and a great writer, and I'm lucky to call her a friend. :))

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