For the Love of Writing

April 24, 2014

CSUN student and budding writer Devon Zarro self-published her first novella.Devon Zarro

Second-semester freshman Devon is a newly published author and a freshly minted English major.

“I started out as a theatre major,” she says. “But I love writing. I decided to change my major to English with an emphasis in creative writing.”

By high school, Devon had already penned her first novella, “The Altruist.” The 15,000-word story took her almost a year to complete.

“The title came to me in a biology class,” she says. “The word ‘altruist’ describes one of my characters. I decided to take that idea and run with it. The story is about a girl who goes back in time to tell her mother not to marry her father.”

Devon recently published “The Altruist” using the, Inc. publisher Dorrance & Company, handling the marketing and pricing herself. She also completed a second novella, “Integrity,” during her first two semesters at CSUN.

“Integrity” is set in the 1800s and the story revolves around a female protagonist and her sister and her overprotective father. Like the first novella, the second features a concept as the title; that concept drives the narrative.

“The protagonist falls in love with a boy whose family is trying to kill her family,” Devon explains.

Despite the time commitment and the fact that writing a novella is hard work, Devon pursues it because it gives her so much joy.

“I spent most of last semester writing,” she says.

Her healthy writing habits help stimulate her creativity. Devon carries a writing notebook with her at all times. Whenever she has a spare moment, she jolts down ideas in it.
Beginning a story is always the most difficult. For both her novellas, Devon admits that the hardest part was formulating the plot. Devon maps out her characters and drafts several prologues before even creating an outline. Then she uses the ideas that have survived this laborious process toward the story.

Right now each of her works spans only about 60 pages, but she aspires to write a full-size novel one day.

Patrick Pagan, communications major, spring 2014