Skylar M Cates on Writing, Revisions, and Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates (author guest post and giveaway)

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Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates
D
reamspinner Press
Cover art by

Available for Purchase at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Skylar M. Cates here today to  talk about writing, revisions and her latest novel in her Sunshine and Happiness series, Secrets of You.  Welcome, Skylar!

✒︎

Changes: Revising Scenes 

Skylar here.  Today I’ve got some behind the scenes fun to share with you. Well, fun for you that is… it was painful work for me.

I’m referring to revising scenes. When I first draft a novel, I’m totally open to adding and cutting. It’s a normal part of the process. However, in Secrets of You, I did some pretty late editing that is usual.

Want to know the scoop about the scene I changed?

The book had been through two editing rounds. It was fairly polished at this point. My editor was fine with the plot and had no objections. And yet… I read a scene that suddenly pinged me all wrong. This doesn’t seem like Morgan, I thought. There was nothing inherently wrong about the scene itself, but his actions did not ring true for the character. Although nobody else seemed worried about it, I immediately hurried to reevaluate it.

One of my most important beliefs is to stay true to the character.

I’m going to share with you the original scene, and then the final version of the scene below. I’ll explain briefly why I changed it too. If you don’t want any spoilers, then please do not go beyond this point in my post!

Morgan has a scene where he confronts some homophobic bullies. I wanted a scene where he shows his integrity and his protectiveness with River. The original scene that almost made it into the novel went like this:

They must have realized suddenly that River was not going to take their trash talk, and that he was tougher than they might have guessed. It wasn’t that River was a huge guy like Tomas or angry like Marc, it was something else. A coolness that was there. A prison thing, maybe? Morgan suddenly thought that made a whole lot of sense. There was this attitude River could command that told the world to look out.

“Please, River. Let’s just ignore them. The band is playing a good song.” He tugged his arms. “I love ‘Faithfully.’”

“Aw, let your boyfriend fight,” taunted one of them.

“Yeah, I figured he was the man in this relationship, but maybe not. Maybe he’s the girl.” The smirking idiot high-fived his friend.

He had to do something before River did. Morgan shook off River and was charging at the teens before he had time to think it over.

“Oh, fuck!” one of them said right before Morgan struck. He grabbed two of them and knocked their heads so they both went down to the ground. He turned to the third boy, who held his hands up.

“Sorry, okay? Back away.” He nudged his friend with his sneaker. “Get up, you dickwads.”

The other two were groaning and rubbing their heads.

Morgan crouched to their level. “You want to know how it feels to be a girl? I can show you. Because you assholes deserve to know how it feels to be judged and catcalled and have to put up with shit that’s ridiculous. I can show you exactly how it feels.”

The three teenagers fled, leaving their blanket and cooler in their rush.

After rereading it, I realized this was not Morgan! He is not a fighter (at least not this way). It bugged me, and I knew I needed to change it. But how? I wanted the bullies in the book. I wanted to save the scene, which was important to me, but only if it felt authentic to Morgan.

With a little pondering and some helps from good friends, I realized how to save the scene and keep Morgan in character too. How would Morgan handle these guys? What is in character?

Here is the final version:

They must have realized suddenly that River was not going to take their trash talk, and that he was tougher than they might have guessed. It wasn’t that River was a huge guy like Tomas or angry like Marc; it was something else. A coolness that was there. A prison thing, maybe? Morgan suddenly thought that that made a whole lot of sense. There was this attitude River could command that told the world to fuck off.

“Please, River. Let’s just ignore them. The band is playing a good song.” He tugged his arms. “I love ‘Faithfully.’”

“Aw, let your boyfriend fight,” taunted one of them.

“Yeah, I figured he was the man, but maybe not. Maybe he’s the girl.” The smirking idiot high-fived his friend.

Morgan had to do something before River did. He shook off River and was charging toward the teens. For a second Morgan imagined knocking their heads together, but he was not a fighter, at least not with his fists.

Instead he halted right at the leader and put a hand on his hip. “Didn’t I see you at the clubs last weekend?”

“What the fuck?” The teen gasped. “No. I wouldn’t go to your kind of faggoty clubs.”

“Really? ’Cause I’m sure of it. I saw you there with a friend of mine….” Morgan grinned flirtatiously. “Yeah, I remember a cute thing like you. Always remember the young, cute ones. You were there.”

The other two teens exchanged looks.

“Hey, Christian, just where were you last Saturday? You ain’t hanging with us that night.”

Christian flushed, taking a step away from Morgan. “Don’t be a buncha dumb pussies! I was at my grandmother’s apartment. I told ya. It was her birthday.”

“His grandmother.” Morgan rolled his eyes. “That’s what we all say. It’s always the sick mom or the grandma’s birthday.” He batted his eyes at Christian. “It’s okay to admit it, sugar. It really does get better.”

“Shutyerface!” His face grew a mottled red. “You lying freak!”

“Oh, fuck,” his friend said.

Morgan thought they might fight after all. If so, he was ready. These assholes deserved to know how it felt to be judged and catcalled and made ridiculous. Morgan only wanted to embarrass Christian, but he’d fight if he had to.

It sucked. How could this kid visit his grandmother dutifully one day and then go out and be so hateful the next? Why was the world so fucked?

Morgan’s fist curled at his sides. He’d do what was necessary. And he wasn’t alone. Morgan sensed River moving closer, there if Morgan said the word.

Christian turned and spat at the ground. “I’m outta here. These cocksuckers are a waste of time. And you fuckers can get yer own ride home.”

Christian fled, leaving the blanket and cooler in his rush. Without their leader, the other two shrugged at each other, then slinked away.

“That wasn’t smart,” River said from behind him.

“Yeah, I know. But it was satisfying.” Morgan swung his arms by his sides. “And we have the right to enjoy this concert, and I’m tired of letting people say otherwise.”

“They were harmless and I was frightening them easily with a look. You didn’t have to go all Vin Diesel’s gay cousin on them.”

I’m pleased with the final version. It sounded and felt like Morgan to me.  The scene was a puzzle, where the piece did not fit, but with effort I fixed it.

I learned that for me the plot always comes second to character. Most importantly, I have realized never to stop rereading and questioning the novel until the very last edits are complete.

Then it is on to the next puzzle, lol.

Thanks for hosting me!

SECRETS OF YOU BLURB:

It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love—it’s not something he will consider—until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.

MY CONTACTS

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/skylar.cates

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SkylarMCates

MY BLOG: https://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/

*Brand New * Newsletter!  Freebies! DSP Coupons! Bonus Scenes! :

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BUY LINKS:

Also available in Dreamspinner Press Paperback

GIVEAWAY: On e-copy of Secrets of You  or choice of e-book  to one lucky winner

3 thoughts on “Skylar M Cates on Writing, Revisions, and Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates (author guest post and giveaway)

  1. Congrats on the new release, Skylar. Thanks for the post. I love how you altered the scene. It is packing much more of a punch this way. Words are a powerful weapon.

    Like

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