A Day in the Writing Life of … Cassandra Dean

Welcome, Cassandra and thank you for participating on our blog.

Warning : some content is not suitable for under 18.

What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?

A night-owl, definitely! I find I do my best work at night. Something about the dark, about the lack of distractions because even the birds are asleep, fires my creativity. However, I am also a massive opportunist and will take whatever I can get. If, for some reason, I start writing in the morning, I’m not going to question it…not that this has happened, mind you. So not a morning person!

Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary?

I would love to have a special place, but I write anywhere I can. Recently, I have taken to bringing my laptop to the day job to do some writing during my lunch break. I managed to do most of the edits on ENSLAVED this way! 

 Another example of the write anywhere sitch – I was in a restaurant eating dinner by myself (I know, such a loser, right?? 😉 and proceeded to write a whole scene for the new work in progress. All I need is the means and the opportunity and bob, he is my uncle.  I also like to pretend I’ll write when I’m on holiday, and so I bring my laptop.  Sometimes I do, but mostly I get distracted by holiday type stuff 🙂

Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms?

I plan a lot while I’m driving…hopefully this doesn’t make me a dangerous driver! However, I don’t like to plan too much.  I have tried in the past to plan, with note cards of different colours for different subplots, but found it didn’t really help. As long as I have a general idea, I go where the mood takes me. For me, this is really effective.

 Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity?

I used to use a corkboard, which would contain various items to help me visualise stuff.  Hmm.  Anyone would think I wrote for a living, the way the words are flowing from me right now, so very descriptive.  Okay, think Cassandra!

 I’ve had the good luck to travel to a lot of the places my stories are set in and I use the photos I’ve taken to remind me of the feel of walking through the terrain, to remember the atmosphere.  I also use music to block out the outside world. Actually, funny story, when writing my very first book (which will probably never see the light of day – geez, it was bad!), I found I could only listen to one album, the same album, over and again. It was the only thing that got me writing. If I listened to other albums, I would get distracted. I don’t know what it was about that particular album (and it was only for that particular book). Odd.

What writing tools do you favour? Long hand, computer …..

I use a curious mix of both. Sometimes, I find writing scenes out long hand helps fire the creativity but the convenience of computers (and the speed at which I can type) really helps get my thoughts down as quickly as possible. However, when I’m stuck, having a hard copy of the draft helps bring all my thoughts together and makes the way forward clearer.

Is your writing space messy, organized or somewhere in between? What is your favourite form of procrastination? Do you have any tips to beat off that old foe “procrastination”?

Somewhere in-between! It can be messy while I’m working but I’ll always clean the desk and make it neat (or my version of neat) before I leave the workspace.  As for procrastination, I will find anything to do rather than write, which is so silly because I love it so. And yet, for all my love, it’s hard work- don’t let anyone tell you any different. So I’ll watch telly, read a book, do housework, visit friends…anything but write! 

Are there any particular rituals you do to set the mood / harness your muse?

Not really. It’s just a matter of sitting down and fighting the seductive lure of procrastination.  Once I get into it, I can write for ages but as for the initial start, I have yet to find a foolproof way to skip the ‘getting into’ stage – does anyone have any suggestions?

 Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work? Do you have a special system in place in order to begin writing or go with the flow?

No special system…Wow, I sound really unorganised, don’t I? I tend to go with the flow, forcing myself to put something on the page to fix later. Even if I write “fight scene, sword, blood argh!” that gets me to the next bit of the story and I can come back in a later draft to add the scene required. For me, getting the emotion down is paramount – even if the first draft has anachronistic language which I then fix up, the feel I’m going for is down and it can be fixed later!

 Thanks so much for having me! Please feel free to visit me at my website, on Facebook or on Twitter!  http://cassandradean.wordpress.com

Cassandra writes historical romance with a bit of a flare, a touch of the erotic and a lot on the Happy Ever After. Her book Enslaved is available at Decadent Publishing.

Warning : some content is not suitable for under 18.

Thank you Cassandra, for sharing a day in your writing life.

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  1. Cassandra is a wonderful writer, getting great reviews for ENSLAVED. Lovely interview!

  2. It’s always comforting to meet a fellow procrastinator 🙂

    I have same approach to writing as I do to ironing and housework – once I get started, I’m off and running. It’s the ‘getting started’ that sometimes proves to be the problem. So many distractions, so little time 😉

    Great interview, thanks Suz & Cassandra

  3. I write in both long-hand and on the computer as well. A great interview!

  4. Great interview! I also write in long-hand, but I do my entire 1st draft that way. As the story (which isn’t plotted much before the 1st draft) gets closer to being “ready for submission, I spend more time on the computer.

  5. Great to read more about your process, Cassandra.

  6. Imelda

     /  December 9, 2011

    Surely, Cassandra, given your genre, Bob, he would be your auntie’s live-in-lovair? LOL!
    Great to hear from you. Nice to know the writerly avoidance is not just me. Sometimes I feel a pinball could take lessons from the way I bounce from one thing to another.

  7. Cath Evans

     /  December 10, 2011

    Hi Cass,
    Oh, I love when people sound like they’re as organised as me 🙂 Thanks for making me feel like I’m not alone!

    (You can tell I’m disorganised as I’m late reading the post!)


  8. Hi all,
    Thanks for your comments! Ah, procrastination, you are a wily devil, and apparently seducing all the authors 🙂
    Writing is such a funny process, isn’t it?
    Thanks once again!

  1. Where will I be? « Cassandra Dean

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