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Archive for March, 2014

How to Edit – Guest post – Editing for Historical Romance by Aarti V. Raman

Writing anything, even an email, requires editing. Typos, unclear sentence formation, jumbled homophones…the pitfalls are innumerable. In fiction writing, it is often hard to decide when enough editing is done. Too little and you haven’t tightened enough. Too much and your writing ‘voice’ is lost. So how to edit the right way? Today I have newbie historical romance author Aarti V. Raman here, talking about her editing process. She has some awesome ideas about how to go over your work with a fine tooth comb.

Take it away, Aarti! 🙂

Winston Churchill, in his missives to his Chiefs of Staff, at the height of World War II, would only write two words: Action, Today! In my humble opinion, he is the best example of an editor: succinct, precise and visual.

I am in the process of editing my MS “Lucas: Book One of The Lords Of Devil Manor”, coming out with Knox Robinson Publishing (June, 2014) and it is, surprisingly a fun but uphill task. For one, it’s about 10000+ words in length. For another, typos are the bane of my life and I am diligently hunting down every one of those little suckers and eradicating them from existence. Like I said, fun and uphill.

I have no meticulous process that I follow, while making structural or line-edits (I am doing both now). But I do try and keep a few things in mind, anyway. A few key pointers, if you will.

  1.       Language: In HR (Historical Romance, to the uninitiated) LANGUAGE is everything. Common slang that we take for granted today, did not exist then. While writing and editing HR, it is imperative to remember this rule, which can only be followed, if you READ a lot of HR because otherwise your language takes a lot of hits and the work becomes sub-par. You do not want that. So, for instance, “maybe” becomes “perhaps” and not necessarily “perchance”, which would be correct English. “Butt” will ALWAYS be “Arse”. And there is no such word as s#@t.
  2.       Continuity: This rule also pertains to language, and can be applied to every MS you write. STICK to one default language. If you are writing UK English, stick to it. “Neighbour”, “candour” etc. If you are following US English, like I do, don’t veer. “Color, hasn’t, and ain’t” are allowed. Readers are critics. They will spot these snafus faster than you can say ‘Chicago Style Guide for Editing!’
  3.       Rewrite: Now this is an extremely sensitive and subjective matter. I like what I write. That is why it is written in the first place. Also, I, thankfully, have a very clear sense of place, time, pace, plot and character before I begin the draft. Unless absolutely required (and usually at the publisher’s behest) I do not rewrite. But, that being said, when it comes to publishable MS like “LUCAS” I double-triple-quadruple check to make sure nothing more or LESS can be done. That each scene is exactly where it belongs, so the story is given the absolute, perfect presentation it deserves.
  4.       Adjective/Adverbs: By the time, the book is accepted by a publisher, all the little flourishes of ‘Lucas said softly’ and ‘Annabeth exclaimed loudly’ should have been weeded out. Post-haste. But, if they aren’t, that’s what line-edits are for. Remove every extraneous word (especially adjectives and adverbs) and tighten your story. (Plus, this keeps it under word count too!)

 

These are just a few basic things I am trying to implement to really shine “LUCAS: Book One of The Lords Of Devil Manor.” And I will continue to find newer ways to make it work, so that you, the reader has the most enjoyable experience with it. That is what good editing does to a MS. Elevates a good book to a great one. I hope, my little pointers will be of some help to you.

Do wish me luck too.

Thank you Ruchi for having me at your spot, and till next time,

Xx

Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal

Hope you liked this post. Do you have any tips to add? Leave them in comments below. We can all learn from each other’s knife wielding! 😉

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Writing process blog tour: My Writing Process – Ruchi Vasudeva

Hi everyone! Today is Blog Tour Day. This blog tour is where writers answer questions about their writing process (or in other words – head banging 😉 at least for me!)

YA author and dear friend Sheritha Singh posted about her writing last week. You can check out her writing process here.

Here’ s how I eke out the words on my keyboard and what’s going on in my writing these days. Cue here a picture of a big ponderous tortoise to get an idea of my speed 😉

What am I working on?

Right now, I’m writing a story about college lovers who separated due to their different life choices and now are finding their way back to each other again. They have to work past their differences which are quite a truckload.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It’s a romance, a contemporary one. It is different for me in the way these characters are opening up to each other, layer by layer – excuse the metaphor 😉 The romance is going to test the emotional limits of these two especially the hero. He has avoided facing what he grew up with and if he wants things to work with her, he’s going to face some tough choices. The question is, can he do what it will take to win her back?

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Why do I write what I do?

Honestly I don’t know, that’s the way ideas begin to unroll for me. I see the beginning of the characters in people and situations in the world around me and the trails people are facing, then a combination of different ideas makes the story roll. Sometimes it’s an uphill struggle, like this story. I just had to write one short scene in a park and somehow it took me two days to get it done because I couldn’t find the point of that scene, though I knew it had to be there to get from point B to C. I like to read romantic stories so maybe that’s why I write them. Having grown up on a diet of harlequin and also historicals and the classics, my stories do tend to be a mixture of escapism combined with groundedness. Or so I’m told 🙂

How does your writing process work?
I wish there was a process! For me writing rarely happens in the way of smoothly churning out words. It’s more like sketching, shading, shaping and filling in colours, adding hues and then putting the tiny signature at the corner. I get down the basic idea and work on it over and over to smooth out the unreasoning parts. Thankfully, I have now cut down on jumping ahead and writing the future scenes first. Because that used to really make me rewrite a lot. Now I just keep doing the touch ups till the editor pronounces it done.

Thanks for reading about me. Next week catch the writing process of these authors:

Adite Banerjie — Adite is a screenwriter based in New Delhi, India. She turned romance author when her first Harlequin romance, The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal, released in 2013. Her second book, Trouble Has a New Name, comes out in July 2014. She loves to travel, watch movies and play with her Irish Setter when she’s not stuck to her computer struggling with her current WIP.

Reet Singh — Reet, a medical professional, has a romantic soul. Most of it is probably inherited from parents who have loved each other dearly forever, but a lot is attributable to the romantic fiction she devours by the kilo. When she’s not doctoring people, and when she is not writing, she watches romcoms on the telly, does creative things with wool and a crochet hook, struggles with the daily crossword or with online Scrabble. Occasionally, she can be found in the kitchen putting together her ‘world-famous’ one-pot meals – world famous because family scattered all across the face of the earth has, at one point or the other in their lives, encountered a meal that they couldn’t guess the constituents of, but found finger-licking good nevertheless. Married for three decades, her prototypical tall, handsome, and sensitive alpha-husband still makes her heart skip a beat. Writing about love and happy endings feeds her romantic soul and brings to a full circle her love affair with Mills and Boon®, from reading them ardently to writing them. Reet’s website is http://reetsingh.in. Write to her at reetsingh.author@gmail.com; tweet to her at @AuthorReet.

Aarti V Raman — Aarti lives in Mumbai, India and has a degree in mass media from Mumbai University. She has always dreamed of being either a writer or a lawyer and decided to pursue a writing career from a very early stage.
Aarti has already published a romantic thriller under the name Aarti V and has more works coming out in 2014 with Harlequin and Knox Robinson. Her childhood dream of writing romance (contemporary and historical) has finally come true and she hopes to continue this fantastic journey with many more love stories and fascinating characters. Aarti loves to watch movies, TV series and read other romances and travel to different places in order to find a new hero and a new story. She loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her at www.facebook.com/aarti.v.raman or her blog at www.williaminashakespearewrites.blogspot.in or on Twitter @Rt_writes

Do let me know how you found the idea of the blog tour and this post. Bye for now!

Get to know author Andy Paula

Hi everyone! Today I have author Andy Paula on my blog with her new release, Love’s Labor. Let’s get to know her via a question and answer round 🙂

Q: Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing?

AP: My childhood was spent in various places of Bihar and my glory lay in the fact they people said I wrote good letters. J  Those were the days of snail mail and I was commended by friends and family as a great letter writer. They tell me they were transported to the place that I’d described in the letter, and these remarks (I learnt the word compliment later) made me feel like a great writer. Also, when my essays were read out in class, it boosted my morale. But I never really envisioned that I would be a writer.

I wanted to grow up, major in English and teach the subject so I did that. I was the most job satisfied person around me and could never understand why people didn’t choose a career they were cut out for and stop cribbing about all things work-related. After teaching for over nine years, I moved to corporate training. The company was looking for a trainer with a language background and I glided into my new role.  Here, I was happy training and sending mails to colleagues that cracked them up. The occasional article that got selected for the office magazine made me feel like a Pulitzer winner.

And then London happened. My husband, an IT professional, was headed to UK for a year and I was not to be left behind. I quit my corporate job and happily flew to meet The Queen. With no job to go to, I felt like an explorer and soaked in the English environs. After I’d had my share of cheese cakes, fish & chips and Stratford-upon-Avon, I got into blogging. Not without relentless online pestering from my mother in India about why I was ‘wasting time’ and ‘at least not writing’ about my experiences, if I hadn’t taken a job there! Blogging put me into a strict writing regimen and when a friend told me about Indirom, the flagship of Indireads, I’d gotten into the habit of sitting at the laptop and typing away. It is a fattening job, I tell you, and I’m grateful that my Love’s Labor was not lost.

Q: Your experience of writing a book – easy as pie or hard as nails?

AP: I’ve written only one just now and it was hard. I hadn’t expected that! I thought writing came easily to me- I was blogging and wrote short pieces all my life- but a full-length book is a different ball-game, I realize. The edits that came forth squashed me completely and I’d almost given up, till, with divine intervention, Love’s Labor saw the light of day.

Q: What motivates you to write?

AP: Everything. I don’t know too many other things that make me as happy as when I’m involved in the writing process.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

AP: I could never understand the fuss surrounding love and inter-caste marriage in our society. Love’s Labor is a story that I saw unfold in my family. The drama that ordinary people are capable of, the politics that unrelenting parents play with their rebellious children and the resentment that brews in young hearts are all that I am privy to. The saga needed telling, more for my own catharsis than for the reader to critique. You can read more about the background of Love’s Labor here.

Q: Please describe your book briefly.

AP: Love’s Labor is a story about Piali Roy, an English teacher, & Sathya Nair, an animator, who are brought together by circumstances, and despite behavioural and communal differences, end up falling in love. All very well. What is not is the reaction of the two families, and a third’s. That of the girl’s who Sathya was slated to marry, when Piali took his life by storm.

Staring from a hill station in India, the book takes you on a flashback to a Steel township where the lead pair belong, to another hill station where their love blossoms, to a city in the South of India where Sathya goes away to put his beloved’s insecurities to rest to another mountain town where the heroine herself lands up. In a tale spanning over two years, Love’s Labor takes you on a journey of India and, more importantly, of the human heart.

The journey of the lead pair both inward & out is what forms the crux of the story; what adds spice to it are the deep-rooted & firmly held traditions that the families refuse to budge from and the couple’s unceasing attempts to overcome them.

Q: Tell us about the main characters in your book.

AP: Piali Roy: Twenty five year old Piali Roy is a beautiful and confident English teacher. She heads the teachers’ group that is going on an excursion to Panchgani, where she meets Sathya, the Director’s son. Not the one who believes in ‘love at first sight’, she chides her palpitating heart for playing wanton. But life has other plans for this dutiful daughter.

Sathya Nair: With his dashing looks, part- philosopher -part –academic demeanor and smouldering eyes, Sathya makes the teachers go weak. He is the Director’s son, the heir apparent, to the chain of schools his father has founded. The trip to Panchgani is his initiation into his future role. Sathya is engaged to the Principal’s daughter, Vinitha.

Vinitha Krishnan: The friendly and composed IT professional who can differentiate the grain from the chaff is betrothed to her family friend, Sathya.  Her reaction when Sathya calls off the engagement takes everyone by surprise.

Piyush Roy: A dignified government official who holds family honour above all else is Piali’s father, Mr. Roy is appalled that his loving daughter has falling for Sathya, a man from a different community.

APJ Nair: The School Chairman, Piali’s boss, is infamous in the small town of Jamshedpur for questionable practices. He smells a fish that a mere teacher in his school has ‘hooked’ Sathya, his son, the future Director. His dreams of tying his empire with the Principal’s, by marrying his son to her daughter, seems to be crashing.

Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?

AP: I read so that I can be inspired to write. Sometimes, I can’t differentiate between writer’s block and laziness, honestly!

Q: Does writing get in your way of life?

AP: Life gets in the way of my writing. There are too many other areas that demand attention and writing is relegated to the background oftentimes.

Q: What’s next in your writing plans?

AP: A novel that revolves around relationships. And Then It Was Dawn is the working title of my second.

And here comes our rapidfire round:

Your favourite movie – Shawshank Redemption

The worst movie you’ve seen – Jaani Dushman. (Yes, I sat through the whole of it.)

Any secret habit? – Won’t remain a secret if revealed!

Actor you’d fall for in a heartbeat – George Clooney

Favourite book – Soul Prints by Marc Gafni

Fallback option when the fridge is empty – Zarda Pulao

What comforts you when things go bad? – A tight hug

Your most comfortable outfit – Long skirts & top in summer, tracks in winter.

Great interacting with you, Andy! Zarda pulao – sweetened rice – sound yum! You got away from sharing your secret habit very nicely! Spoilsport 😉 🙂

 

Love’s Labor by Andy Paula

 
The Blurb
 
Piali Roy has run away from home and the two stubborn men who love her. One is her beloved Baba; a rigid traditionalist, he refuses to accept anyone from outside her caste and community. And then there is Sathya, the unsuitable outsider. He loves her truly, madly, deeply and has even called off his marriage for her sake. Neither man will budge, and the small town of Jampot, where everyone knows everything, is not big enough for the two of them.
 
Away from their unreasonable demands, Piali strives to find peace in the mountains. But within six months, her lover tracks her down. Once again, she betrays the one by trusting the other.
 
Will her labor in the name of love be in vain, or will love transcend all differences?
Buy @
 
     The Book Club Presents Andy Paula’s Love’s Labour

Meet the Author

 

Andy Paula is a corporate trainer by profession and a writer by vocation. After the innumerable essays, poems, articles, editorials, congratulations & condolence letters she wrote for herself and others refused to satiate her writer’s Self, she finally put herself seriously to the task and wrote Love’s Labor,a romance novella that is now on Goodreads. 

To know more about the versatile author click here.
 

You can stalk her @

 

       

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