THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE DIARY OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER
Picture by RyouGirl on Deviant Art
I guess now you could say that I am a writer. Maybe. I have completed 2 novels: Goddess of Legend and Siren’s Choice. A few months ago I was in what I call Writer’s Hell. To me Writer’s Hell is the dreaded time after you’ve sent off your synopsis and sample chapters to agents and publishers and you wait as best you can to see if someone else will love your work as much as you do. After a few weeks I decided that it was nice that I had finished my second novel but it was time to get busy writing again. I needed to do something to distract myself from Writer’s Hell.
I thought about what did I want to write next. My first two novels were strictly urban fantasy romance, happily ever after types. Did I want to write the same kind of novel again? After all I had already planned to make my first and second novel into 2 different 3 book series, but didn’t I need a break? I decided I did so I picked up some of my other WIPs that had been pushed to the side while I worked on my first two novels. One of my WIPs already has 17 chapters done but it was a contemporary romance with a mafia twist. “Erin, you have to think about doing something different”, I told myself. You need to continue to grow as a writer. I put my story down and rummaged through more of my journals looking at other WIPs.
Finally I had an epiphany. A few weeks later I turned off the TV and laid down on the couch. I was going to take a nap but it never happened. After about 3 minutes of having my eyes closed I sat up and frantically began writing. The idea for my 3rd novel was born just like that. In about 5 minutes I’d written down a few bullet points of what I thought the story might be about. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe I’d come up with something that fast. I had no idea what the title was going to be at the time, but I knew I was going to completely flip the Cinderella story on its head and write from the perspective of one of the ugly stepsisters and that Cinderella would be the villain.
I was pleased with my idea but then something in my mind nagged at me. Hadn’t someone else already done this? I scoured the Internet and sure enough I came across Gregory Maguire’s Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. For a minute I was crushed. Then I read through what the novel was about and decided the points I’d written down for my novel were nothing like his. I could continue on with my idea and not be compared to him at all. But still I hesitated. Should I start this brand new idea or go back and finish another WIP? I decided to ask one of my Twitter followers whom I nicknamed Mama Muse @kseniaanske. This wonderful lady said work on the idea that is fresh in your mind. You can always go back to the other one.
I decided to take her advice. I started writing THE DIARY OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER on June 8th and I have completed 18 chapters. (I write by hand). Working on this novel which is completely different from anything I’ve ever written and is not in my usual style has lead me to the realization that my growth as a writer has been influenced so much by two wonderful ladies, Editor Leanne Sypes @PentoPaperCom and @Kseniaanske.
Leanne is the type of wonderful person who you just want to hang around to bask in her wonderful positive energy. She is also supremely talented at what she does. Leanne and I had been working together on my first manuscript Goddess of Legend. Already I could see how she was taking my raw and unpolished idea and turning it into the blockbuster I know it could be. Leanne always tells me to push myself and delve deep. Don’t be afraid to share what you feel. Slowly but surely I have started taking her advice and not being so cut and dry with my writing, but infusing emotion into the situation. I am Leanne’s Number #1 fan and as we continue or friendship I know she will continue to push me in ways I can only imagine.
I don’t know if Ksenia followed me first or if I followed her first, all I know is that this lady is absolutely brilliant! Her tweets will inspire you to stop procrastinating and start that novel. Her tweets will inspire you to dig deeper and share your darkest secrets. That has been what her influence has done for me. Some of the things I am writing about in THE DIARY OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER, I would have never even thought to even attempt to write about if it had not been for her constant message, “Share everything. Bleed onto the page.”
I have taken her words to heart and I am writing a much darker story than what I am used to. I am also not plotting out this novel. Now granted I have a few questions I will answer somewhere throughout the book and I have a few scenes I know I will include, but other than that this novel is a pantser. I look forward to writing everyday because I have no idea what will happen. I’m not forced to simply describe an outline. My heroine, Kataniya is troubled in ways I could never imagine. The pain she feels is real and for the first time in my writing career I believe my heroine will not get her happy ending.
I don't know whether anyone but me will appreciate my new and controversial take on the Cinderella fairytale. I don't know if I will find an agent to represent me or a publisher willing to take the risk on a story that is pretty out there. All I do know is I have a fresh idea that excites me about writing everyday and I have the inspiration of two wonderful ladies that keeps me going everyday. Writing is all I need to think about. The rest will work itself out.