Yvonne Osborne [yvonne]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
You mean that I truly remember? All the Zane Grey books, Swiss Family Robinson, and Island of the Blue Dolphin. The first book I read that had a profound, lasting effect on me was Ramona, a tragic novel about the Mexican/Indian war, the fight over what is now California, and the doomed love between an American Indian and a Mexican girl. It is a novel full of injustice and heartbreak, and to this day I remember sitting on my bedroom floor against the little built-in bookcase and weeping inconsolably. The first book I read as a young adult was Camus's The Plague.
I began to write in earnest after losing my airline job in 2002, which gave me an opportunity to go back to school and take the creative writing and poetry classes I had long wished for. The first to read my poetry were participants in an online workshop and then my sister. The first readers of my novel-in-progress were my fellow Practicum participants (I remember you all fondly), and the first to read the completed manuscript was my sister.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I like literary fiction and women's fiction, and a good mystery. I like Sci-Fi, if you mean Dune and horror, if you mean Stephen King.
I have a blog:
Any my live journal is at:
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Life is what happens before I sit down to write. For me there is no mysterious process. If I'm home, I sit down with my laptop and just do it. If I'm not home I jot things down on any available writing surface, margins in magazines and newspapers, a cocktail napkin, or the small notebook in my pocket. Whether I'm in a waiting room or a park or in the car . . . and yes, I admit to writing in the car. When you have a thought, you have to put it down on paper. It is important to keep a journal, but if I'm in the middle of a novel, I spend most of my time with it.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Books like The Voyage by Philip Caputo, and House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus and novels with an erotic angle. Who doesn't like a good sex scene? It's hard to write one and very gratifying when you get it right . . . and quite fun to read.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Characters, conflict and resolution.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I enjoy both in capable hands, but I must say my favorite is third person.
What well known writers do you admire most?
The afore mentioned as well as John LeCarre, Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath and Ian McEwen.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
For a character to be believable, they have to be flawed yet sympathetic. We have to care about them and be engaged in what is happening to them. My characters flow out of my imagination. Once I get rolling, my characters pop up and enter the story of their own volition. It's like meeting new people at a party or around a horseshoe bar, but I have power over them and can make them do what I want them to do. But sometimes they go off in their own direction and things happen that you didn't know were going to happen, and that is the most exciting aspect of writing.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
I'm a pretty good storyteller, but not equally so. There is a better opportunity for exploring word choices and sentence flow on the written page. But then it all depends on audience and setting, doesn't it? Who can't tell a story around a campfire or bellied up to the snackbar at a party? A lot of people can do that, but opening a vein over the blank page is a harder task.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Yes, of course. But not a first draft or even a second. Around the third edit or so, I'll start asking for feedback from someone whose opinion I trust.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I do believe I have found my voice, but I also think voice is something that becomes more developed the more you write. Just as one grows with their work, one's voice will become stronger and more authoritative.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
Yes, I write on a computer using Word. I am a fast typist so I'm much better at writing on a computer because it helps me keep up with my thought process and the writing flow. I read over what I've written and correct any glaring errors before I print. However . . . I have to print out my work before I can seriously edit it. Not until I have the printed page in my hand can I really get a feel for what I've written, and then I know if it works or not. I make my corrections on paper and then go back and edit my manuscript on the computer and then print it out again. I can spend all day on a page and make numerous changes. Once in a while, I'll get it right the first time.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I like Agent Query. I think one must be very careful about online critiques and online writing groups, because writing is subjective and there is a lot of opinion out there and advice that may not be helpful.
What are you working on now?
My second novel and I'm editing my first.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Dust if off and look it over. If it holds up to the passage of time and doesn't make you cringe, then absolutely show it to someone. Ideally someone who reads and whose opinion you respect. Don't show it to someone whose idea of culture is American Idol.