Writing Alongside a Real Writer

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Clare Wallerstein, a student, gets started on her college essay with O’Brien’s guidance.

Wonder how your child is going to get through the end-of-year writing assignments, or if he/she can pull of a college essay that makes an impact?

DevonO'Brien_featherincThink you have that memoir or novel in your head, but just can’t make the time, or find the way, to get it started? There’s a resource for you right here in the Hancock Park area that will kick-start the writing process: Devon O’Brien of Feather Inc provides support for writers of ‘any feather.’

An award-winning writer, O’Brien has had three plays produced, an anthology published and a series of creative non-fiction pieces in Vogue and the Huffington Post, among other things. She is a delight to read – check out her funny and telling 32 serialized installments of “Of Lice and Men” set right here in our neighborhood and dealing with the tumult of child rearing in the age of lice. A fine foray, and perhaps a bit afield, for a graduate of Brown University and USC’s Masters in Professional Writing program.

Using some of the interview skills she learned as a journalist, O’Brien deftly interviews her clients in a free consultation/conversation to get a feeling for what is needed. “My job is to see the person and the project, and support the writer in realizing it. Sometimes these first conversations tell a lot about the project that I can then share with the writer later, when they’re struggling to put something to paper,” O’Brien told the Buzz.

O’Brien helps writers find the structure they need – whether it’s a deadline-friendly set of writings they must submit to O’Brien, working tools to get word to paper, or just asking the questions that allow one to start exploring their material with more depth. She works with adults on memoirs and novels, poetry and non-fiction. She works with students on writing projects for school, developing their voice, and, for many grateful parents – taking the stress out of the college essay. She’s worked with students from a variety of LA schools, including Oakwood, Campbell Hall, Westridge and Hamilton, to name a few.

feather“The personal statement on the Common Application is unique and crucial. It is the applicant’s singular opportunity to present himself/herself to a powerful committee composed of complete strangers,” O’Brien shares. Having O’Brien, an outsider and not a parent, help them through the process of finding a topic and getting it down in their own words, is like manna from heaven for both student and anxious parent. With the college application process now a year-long prep course of it’s own for some, many schools are encouraging students to write their essay in the summer before their senior year of high school.

O’Brien has raised her own two sons in the Larchmont area, and writes with feather and ink, but more often on her laptop, from her studio on Elmwood Avenue. She can be reached on Feather Inc or via email.

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About Julie Grist

Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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