Cassandra Piat

All about the woman, the author and Mauritius…

Editing, editing, editing…do you kill your darlings?

Hi everyone!

I recently took part in One Book at a Time‘s Blogiversary and I thought I’d reblog my guest post today…

Over the past year I’ve read quite a few author guest posts and found that they are all inspiring, often sharing their experiences or giving valuable advice on some aspect of writing or another… so I guess mine’s going to be pretty different because it will be neither of those things! Let’s just say that it’ll be more along the lines of a soul-searching piece on editing and rewriting – or, then again, just a major rant on the subject!

All writers know about the task of editing and re-writing… and I can safely say that for me, it’s the most harrowing part of writing a book. Well to be honest, I actually don’t mind it at first – let’s say the first 3, 4 or even 5 times I read through my manuscript, but when 6 months down the line I’m still editing and re-writing THE SAME MANUSCRIPT – well let’s just say I’m really feeling those “shouty” capitals!

It never ceases to amaze me, but every single time I read through my manuscript again, I make new changes. So much so that sometimes I wonder whether my final story will be anything like the lovely story I had actually written to start off with! I say the ‘lovely story’ because I did find my story rather lovely THE FIRST 10 TIMES I READ IT!!! (oops sorry, “shouty” capitals again!!). But now, I honestly have no idea if it’s any good. I mean how could I – just imagine reading a book over and over again, wouldn’t you get totally sick of it after a while and end up finding it a total bore? Sure you would! So how can we writers not get to the point of being sick and tired of reading our work? Is there such a thing as too much editing or over-editing? How do we know when to STOP? And finally, how can we keep an objective point of view on our work when we’ve read it over and over (and over and over and over) again?

Oh noooo… I just realised that you probably thought that I was now going to give you answers to those questions! Oh dear… I actually have no idea what the answers are!! (But if you happen to know, please, please enlighten the newbie writer that I am ☺)

So as I have no answers to these questions, while I wait to receive some enlightenment from you all, let’s talk about another aspect of the whole editing thing. As I mentioned just before, I’ve been editing and re-writing my story for a long time now. The first six months was to clean it up before sending for a manuscript critique, and now the past six months has been the re-writing process – and now of course I need to edit the re-writing!!

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve read lots of great articles giving advice on how to efficiently edit a book (I know, maybe I should have read them before starting editing the first time around…), and every time I read an article, I found something that I needed to apply to my manuscript (words to avoid etc.) so I had to go over the whole book again from square one and apply the new changes throughout the document.

QUICK NOTE: Woohoo! I’ve just realised that I have a bit of advice for everyone out there – and more importantly, myself – read all the articles and posts you can about the best editing techniques BEFORE you start the first edit of your manuscript!

Okay, back to my manuscript. I have one little dilemma left to solve… Recently I read yet another great post about effective editing, and one of the points has been troubling me since… I can’t decide whether I should follow the author’s advice on that point or not – so I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask you for your opinion on the matter… The advice is; Kill your darlings. In other words, parts of the story that you love and which have special meaning to you, but which don’t actually serve a direct purpose in the story.

Blog

So my dilemma is: I’ve brought back Lucy and Matt, the main characters from my first book, What’s it gonna be?, in a few scenes in my second book although they don’t serve a direct purpose in moving my new story along.

Why did I do it you ask? For the simple reason that when I read a book, I grow really fond of the characters and always think that it’d be nice to know how they’re doing after the end of the book. I’ve read books by a few authors who often include the characters from their previous books in their new books, albeit briefly, and I’ve always thought it was pretty cool to catch up with those characters again. So I thought that’s what I’d do – give my readers a quick peek into the lives of the Lucy and Matt since Whats it gonna be?.  So what do you think? Keep my darlings or remove them? I would really appreciate your comments on the subject.

To leave you on a positive note, I have to say that one of the great things in life is that we learn from experience and from our mistakes, so you can be sure that next time I’ll definitely read up on editing tips before starting the whole editing process ☺ ☺ ☺…

Thanks for reading! And thanks to Julie for once again hosting the Fiction Writers Blog Hop 🙂 To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-aug-2016

Advertisements
8 Comments »

If we were having coffee… this week

imagesGGRBUWHT

Hi everyone,

I’m back again for another ‘If we were having coffee…’ post so please grab your coffee and settle down with me for a chat…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent two weeks in Perth recently for my dad’s 70th birthday. It was the first time since I got married and had kids (15 years) that I was alone with no one but myself to worry about! What a treat. I slept in every day, watched movies in bed every night (of my choice – no sports, no action packed movies or thrillers!!!) and did whatever I wanted all day. It was magical. I spent most of my time with my family – parents, sister, brother, nephew and nieces and had the best quality time with them ever – not having to be disturbed every few minutes with the call ‘mu-um’ J My husband stayed in Mauritius with the kids and I must say he did a fantastic job – so I told him I would definitely do it again next year 🙂 This said, I was thrilled to see my brood again and was greeted at the airport with a sign that said,

“YES WE LOVE MUM”  🙂

we love lmum

If we were having coffee I would tell you that although once I was in Perth it was wonderful, the pre-getting-on-the-plane anxiety was as usual a nightmare. It really ruins all the fun in going on holiday and I wish I could just be normal, and just be excited to get on a plane and travel the world like most people. But no, not me!

anxiety girl

.

As I observed other passengers in the departure lounge eating, having a drink or laughing and chatting away happily, just totally relaxed – I really wished I could be like that instead of having my insides twisted in a knot, not being able to get anything down and wanting to crawl under my sheets and hide. But the good thing is that although I had my anxiety attacks before both departures, I still managed to go, and that makes me stronger…

The anxiety is there and it’s horrible, but I won’t let it get the better of me!

imagesTRSLRX12

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had the huge treat of having coffee with the lovely and amazing Tess Woods whose beautiful book Love At First Flight came out in bookstores in Australia today!

tess

She was as lovely as I knew she would be and it was like I had known her all my life. It’s the first time I’ve met a foreign author in person, so it was a doubly special moment 🙂

tess et moi

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I ended up working with Sue Traynor on my cover (she’s done the covers of romantic comedy authors Geralyn Corcillo & Rich Amooi) and I just love her work. The cover is gorgeous and we’ve almost finalised it – just a last few colours and font details. It’s so exciting!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my book is finally out with Beta readers and that I should be getting feedback by next week. I’m so nervous!

beta reader

On the same note, I would add that I’m having trouble deciding how to start the prologue of my book – I have two possible options and just can’t make up my mind on which one I prefer, so I decided to ask for help through a survey.

question

I must say that so many people have been wonderful and taken the time to read the options and give their opinion, and I’m really grateful. But there’s just a tiny problem at the moment… We’re at a stalemate – Option 1 and 2 are at a tie!! Looks like I’ll have to flip a coin between the two after all:-)

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we are at our beach cottage for a month as it’s the school holidays (2 months). Although it’s winter here at the moment, somehow at the beach it doesn’t matter too much. It’s a bit windy and the water is a rather cold, but the kids have lots of friends around and spend their time outside and away from the TV, iPads and computer which is wonderful.

feu

Right now they are cooking sausages on a makeshift fire on the beach :- )

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I started ‘Chapter One’ of my third book today!!! chapetr one

Although the characters are all very much in my head, I now have to work out how I’m going to tell their story… but I reckon there’s no better way to do than to just start writing… so I did just that today.  So exciting!

Okay, my little Robinson Crusoe’s are calling me to go and taste their delicious fire-cooked sausages on the beach, so I better head off  🙂

It was lovely to spend some time with you and until next time, take care and keep smiling.

imagesWBN21T3P

A bientot!

 

images80DWK64Q

I first saw the Coffee posts on Suzie Speaks’ blog – check out her awesome blog here! https://suzie81speaks.com/ But she says that initially the Coffee posts was the brainchild of the Part Time Monster which you can check out here! https://parttimemonster.com

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-july-2016

 

 

 

10 Comments »

The proposal

Hi everyone! First of all, I wanted to wish you all a very belated Happy New Year 2016! I hope 2016 will be everything you wish it to be and that it’s filled with happiness, love, laughter, good health, success and friendship…

As you’ve probably noticed (or not 🙂 ), I wasn’t very present, if at all, on the internet over the Christmas holidays because we went to Australia to spend Christmas with my wonderful family in Perth. I have to say that I’m in total awe of all those of you who managed to keep writing your blogs and posts all through the holidays – I just don’t know how you do it!

Although I didn’t get any writing done whatsoever during our trip, it was nevertheless inspiring in lots of ways. First of all, I realised that I was an ideal muse for any scatter-brained, typically ‘blonde’ female characters!!

blomde

Yep, from almost missing the plane because we just didn’t hear them calling our flight, to going to the supermarket and taking a man’s shopping bag by error and not realising until he caught up with me near my car, to wearing my t-shirt inside out, to putting petrol instead of diesel in my dad’s car and having to get it towed out of the petrol station (by a huge tow truck too)… and that’s only the half of it!

But over and above my air-headedness, there were just so many everyday situations that served as inspiration – it was just fascinating to people watch and imagine all the stories I could make up about each person, couple, family. One example was quite fun and along the lines of my chicklit/romcom genre…

fdashae

One afternoon we went to Castle Rock, a beautiful place in the south west, for a sundowner. When we arrived, a girl in her late twenties approached us and asked us (very nicely) if we could avoid going too far down the beach as there was going to be a wedding proposal happening there soon! How exciting! So we sat on the beach and couldn’t help keeping a lookout for the happy couple, and finally, about half an hour later, they showed up. We knew straight away that it was them because the girl looked super relaxed and the guy – super tense! It was actually a laugh watching them knowing what was about to happen!

The proposalAnyway, they headed behind a bunch of rocks in a little cove and we were thrilled because we could still see them from where we were 🙂 – (yes, of course we watched them!!). We didn’t have to wait long – the guy was soon down on one knee and before we could even say ‘so is she, or isn’t she?’, she had jumped into his arms. We oohed and aahed from a distance and found the whole thing very romantic.

And then – out of the blue – comes a great potential cliff-hanger moment for someone with a super active imagination like mine! Yep, this guy suddenly starts sprinting down the beach in their direction, looking like he was on a mission!

gril thinking about writingNeedless to say that my creative jujus went into overdrive! There were so many potential scenarios to make up using just that one little moment… and it struck me that life, in itself, is an inspiration and everywhere you are or look there’s something to draw on for a story.

So next time you’re out of ideas, go and sit down in a park or on the beach or in a pub and watch the world go by… you’ll find inspiration in ways you never imagined.

As for me, although I haven’t written at all for over a month, I’ve stored a lot of great ideas in the back of my mind for when I do get back down to it. I’m really hoping that I will now find the time to do just that – and hopefully this blog post is my first step 🙂

That’s all for today, but I’m really looking forward to sharing great things with you this year and I really hope to hear back from a lot of you throughout the year so that I can get to know you all too 🙂

A bientôt!

P.S. For the record, the guy didn’t actually go up to the couple and we didn’t see him again!! So I guess we’ll never know where he was rushing to 🙂 🙂

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-feb-2016

And if you’re looking for an Australian novel to read, have a look at a few suggestions from my recent post Looking for a book to read this weekend? Fairway to Heaven is actually set in a coastal town not far from Castle Rock!

Clipboard

 

 

 

 

23 Comments »

Books that grab us, heart and soul…

11887930_10153110279623379_4363095962941331140_n
This is just so true. I have read so many books that I really enjoyed but there are definitely some that swallowed me up heart and soul. Pure treasures.

My most recent favourite is How to Fall in Love by Cecilia Ahern. I just love that book so much. It’s touching, deep and funny and the main characters are just wonderful. Right behind is P.S. I Love You which was heartbreakingly beautiful. Then there’s Me Before You by Jojo Moyes which is heart breaking but so beautifully written. It made me cry for weeks afterwards but it was worth it. And there’s also If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Foreman…

Clipboard

These are books that I can read and re-read over and over again. It’s like I just want to keep being with the characters in the book, I want them to be a part of my life or me a part of theirs…

Please share your personal treasures with me and help me discover new gems 🙂

Can’t wait to hear from you all!

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-aug-2015

24 Comments »