Isunshine-soup-cover-72s indulgence a sin?

When I was writing my novel I was in heaven. I adored the way it allowed me to escape into a parallel universe and spend time with people and places I had created.  As I would write my way into a scene, and get caught up in the story, my excitement became palpable and inspiration would seemingly pop up out of nowhere. It was intoxicating. Most of those ideas arose from my own experiences, of course.

I’d take my protagonist, Maya, to the souk in Dubai. A place I make a beeline for each time I am back in the Emirate.  A place I wallow in memories and stand and soak in the atmosphere. And this is where I am most at risk of temptation.

I know that souk and have spent many happy times there, eating deep-fried banana, spices and samosa, buying pashminas and taking the flat outboard motor-driven boats, called abra, across The Creek from nearby. When I wrote about Maya in the souk I became a slave to my own nostalgia and could not resist making her buy bananas and scarves and take the boat too.

The thing is, those events did not add anything to Maya’s story. They did not move the plot along. They were my own indulgence. I did not need them. And so there were cut.

There is a phrase among writers that cutting out chunks of your lovingly crafted text is like murdering your own children. Deleting swathes of my souk scenes was agony, but my novel was better for it.

If you find yourself in danger of over-indulgence, ask yourself whether the reader needs to read your words as much as you needed to write them. If not, they have to go.

For more info on Sunshine Soup, nourishing the global soul, click here.

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