Archives pour la catégorie My life

Manuscript Revision Checkpoint n°4

This week has been a Rollercoaster

I still have difficulties going to bed early in order to wake up early. It seems like my brain works great between 2 and 3 am but, it doesn’t do anything good when the clock buzzes at seven…

So, I’ve spent the week in the morning fog of my brain and the afternoon in the overwhelming excitement of seeing The Great Book Of Lists being so well received by WP community.

That’s when I was up.

Down was when I realized the most important pages of my manuscript were very exciting but needed a lot of work.

I mean a ton of work.

My novel has many characters and each has its moment to shine. The avantage is that the reader can experience the action from within, the inconvenient is that the POV shifts every 2 pages and that it requires way more intentional writing to succeed than what’s in my first draft.

Those pages needed many hours of thinking, brainstorming and note taking. Those pages turned my brain upside down. Those pages made me understand how much you need to love a story to stay committed to it during revision.

Accidental collateral damages

I worked so much I started to daydream a way to customized the writing of each character…who thinks in snapshots, who is constantly overwhelmed, who doesn’t give a shit (at least pretends not to), who escapes in dark lame humor when things go south…

Their POV scenes are going to challenge me during rewriting. l can’t wait to get there 😀

One of the hardest thing right now is to be able to take notes, cross off entire paragraphs of the manuscript and NOT write anything new.

That’ll be for later.

First, I need to finish reading the first draft and taking notes, analyze said notes and work on structure. Then I’ll dive back into writing.

The numbers

  • 16 pages
  • 6 scenes
  • 2 mythical monsters killed, one character badly wounded, one author brainwashed (me)
  • 15 pages of notes, 75 pages total

[How to] Build and set your own free Planner

I told you guys at the end of NaNoWriMo, I was looking for ways to better organize myself in order to fit my manuscript revision work into my daily life. After coming to the conclusion that I needed to come back to the good old paper planner, I looked at what is sold in stores and ended disappointed. Most Planners just do not fit my need. So I had to come up with my own solution : use free ressources from the internet to build my very own planner.  Here’s how I ‘ve done it.

(Only looking for links ? Go straight to number 7)

1/ Define how I’ll use it

There are many planners out there for all kinds of different purposes, life, home, faith, business, blogging, working out… So I chose to work on general matters (home, life, meal), blogging, cooking and writing.

2/ Is it going to travel around or lay on my desk ?

The answer to this question is crucial. If you think you’ll carry your planner everywhere with you, pocket or A5 formats may work the best for you. It your planner is going to stay on your desk, bigger formats can enter the game.

My Planner does not travel around







3/ How much space on paper do I need ?

is your writing small or big ? Do you write a lot or prefer to jot down key words ? All these questions will help your define how big or how small your planner should be.

4/ What kind of views do I need ?

Sites that offer free planners offer yearly, monthly, weekly and daily views. If printed at one, they compose a pretty thick stack of paper. Try every temple for a week to define what you really need

5/ Try several options

It took me about a month to come up with the right formula but I already know it will have to evolve because the cooking and blogging sections are quite getting bulky fast.

6/ Print one month at a time

I did not print all year at one because I want my planner to remain at thin as possible, considering that the 1 inch thick binder I use for it is already full after two weeks of use.


7/ Where to download ?

English sites
Scattered squirrel
Free Borboletta

French sites
Mécanismes d’histoire

They are my favorite sites. You’ll find a general life and personal planner on Scattered Squirrel, and many free and several blog planning printables at Free Borboletta.

Two French sites did stand out .
Vie organisee for its marvelous yet simple Blog Post Planner sheet and Mécanismes d’Histoires for its complete 2016 planner with business, blog, and writing sections

8/ Accessorize

All the layouts may not please your eyes but you can always personalize your planner with accessorizes such as pen holders, dividers, tabs, stickers, zip pockets, magnetic clips, sticky notes sets.

I bought my 2 rings 1 inch thick binder and a pen holder at Muji.



I bought dividers, sticky notes, magnetic clips  at Hema.

2015’s gone, Happy new Year my friends !!!!


May this new year bring you love, happiness, comfort and inspiration. Health, peace, liberty are also available in the Wish department 😀 Take what you need !

Bye 2015

This has been an amazing year that helped me find and me dear new friends.

I hope we’ll enjoy each other’s company for a long time.

Cheers my friends ❤

My 2015 complete report

Where does Laduchessederat come from ?

I get this question a lot. Last time was just a couple weeks ago. @thinkerv was the curious one. I think I have already told the story many times on this blog but never actually did a specific post about it. So here it is.

It was given to me

Back in the university, I initially wanted to be a lawyer, until the day I understood it meant being broke, overworked and bent under a student status until I was 30 years old. So I moved on to my other passion : books.

I entered a school teaching students how to become professionals in the books industry. It included 3 majors : library, publishing and book selling. My major was publishing, which meant I was trained in both editorial and technical departments.

Students came from all types of backgrounds (maths, literature, sciences) but I was one of the only 2 coming from law school.

One thing did federate us all : Science fiction and Fantasy. They were very popular among the students and many times we would talk with references to SF books. These were the years the Lords of the Rings film trilogy was in the making, Harry Potter films were just hitting theaters and every body discovered the power behind the literary magical worlds.

During these years, I studied typography, editorial strategies, professional softwares (indesign, illustrator, flash, aso) and computer networks. I happened to be quite passionate about the latter and would sometimes let my advocating tendencies take over in group projects sessions when I thought my solution was more elegant.

One day, after championing one of my ideas again, a girl from the back of the classroom said « And that’s how Polgara does it » just loud enough so everyone would hear it. We all burst into laughing.

It was an obvious reference to how I looked then (long black hair with a with a white stroke above the left eye) and to my feisty temper.

I’m a good sport and the reference wasn’t that bad so I decided to go with the nickname and own it. I even thought about buying a long blue dress but never really git the time to do it.

… kind of.

For anyone who does not know who Polgara is, you might want to check David Eddings’s Belgariad and Malloreon. Polgara is one of the main character in all of these books. She’s a powerful (the most powerful) witch and politician  who fought against evil to protect many countries, modernised her government and freed people from slavery. Her work earned her many titles, given to her as token of gratefulness. Among those, Polgara has been made Duchess of Erat.

When I started on the internet, I simply kept the nickname Polgara. I even had an email adress polgara @ but by the time I changed my provide, hundreds of thousands of Polgaras had created accounts around the web, and I did not want to be one of the Polgaras with a number attached to her name. So I had to find a trick and I chose to use one of her tittles, Duchess of Erat. I’ve been using it for more than a decade now and so far, it has been quite convenient I must admit.

The bright side

I get to be called Duchess, without the responsibilities attached to the tittle (poor Kate Middleton 😉 ).

The down side.

In French the tittle sounds exactly like Duchess of rats. But I have never really minded. Ratatouille is a Rat. 😀


Now, you know where my Gravatar really comes from. It has never been Hedwig.

Celery allergy and no kick off for me

It seems like the universe had a plan for me tonight and it  did not include me going to the local NaNoWriMo Kick off party. 

I’m pissed, I’m bummed but I tried to make the best of my situation.

Why is that ? Yesterday, I visited my parents with my daughter and mom had prepared chicken, steam potatoes and celery purée. nothing unusual, nothing too exotic. But a few hours after lunch, I had red and teary yes. Then My nose started to run and, as if it wasn’t enough, my face started swelling. But I had to go back home and I was confident I had ad hoc drugs at home. But I didn’t. My husband had finished the last box of anti allergy drug just a couple days ago. And this drug is on prescription only.

I had to call the 15 (our local 911) to ask for assistance. They were kind enough to understand my situation and send me a doctor at home. He arrived shortly after 9 pm and diagnosed a celery allergy.
I later looked at the symptoms chart, and yes it seems like I’m a perfect school case. What I did not expect is how seriously he took the situation. During the interview, he asked me if I had already gone at the hospital for an allergy, which I have in the beginning of the year, information I had already given to the 15. The doctor started by giving me cortisone and an anti allergy drug I did not know. He also asked me not to move to far from home during 2 days and call 15 if I felt any discomfort. He finally prescribed a 10  days treatment and recommended to evict celery from my alimentation for at least a year. He was pretty concerned the first reaction was so strong, the next one would be a « send ambulance immediately kind of emergency ».

It does not change many things in my daily life because celery isn’t one of my favorite vegetables but it does exclude a lot of processed food like tomato sauce and vegetable bouillon cubes. Hopefully for us, I do cook a lot of fresh products.

But for today, it did stop me from going to NaNoWriMo local kick off party mostly because I’m trying to be responsible but also because I didn’t want to ruin the party in the eventuality I needed more medical attention.

Instead of brooding all day long I decided to make a Halloween diner for my little family. My mother in law has offered me a pumpkin a few days ago and I wanted to test two recipes : pumpkin purée and pumpkin french pie with Italian meringue. We have already finished diner and the pumpkin purée was delicious. The pumpkin pie is still in the making but I’m pretty confident it will become a regular feature on Halloween.

Me staying at home did help us somehow.

Indeed, for the first time, I have noticed Halloween is a becoming a thing in France this year. I saw many disguised kids in the streets today and  I took a clue from it. Since we’re new in our block (Yes new, even if we’ve been living here for several months now. It’s a local thing. It usually takes around 2 years to be integrated around here), I did not want us to become the new morons so I bought candies  to distribute. Kids started showing up around 6 pm.

First, the youngest who were so impressed is was heart melting, then the teenagers who really made an effort of imagination for the occasion. I did see a Bryan May zombie with spiders in his wig.

This trick or treat evening  gave me the opportunity to discuss with neighbors I had not met yet and our daughter met kids she’ll be able to play with . She also looted a candy every time someone showed up at the door. That was a real treat for her : candies are usually not granted a visa to enter our home. Bad dental genes are to be blamed for this policy.

Even if I’m very tired but fine and made myself busy to forget the disappointment, my mind and heart are with the wrimos partying tonight.

I’ll log in the IRC chan and cyber celebrate he beginning of NaNoWriMo but it won’t be the same.

Un mois, un nouvel ordinateur, un déménagement

Cela fait presque un mois que je n’ai pas posté sur le blog. Chaque jour je me promets de le faire et chaque jour, je suis retenue par des montagnes de tâches et d’obligations.

Forcément, le temps passe, forcément je m’en veux et forcément, de plus en plus de choses à faire viennent s’ajouter à ma To Do list. GGGGrrrrrrr

Ce soir, WordPress m’a envoyé une alerte. J’ai regardé la date de mon dernier post et tout à coup Janice de Friends est apparue dans ma tête, avec sa voix de canard. Oh mon dieu.


Un point sur la situation s’impose donc.

Mon contrat de travail s’est arrêté le mois dernier et au lieu de disposer de plus de temps pour l’écriture, je suis partagée entre les démarches administratives (qui ne connait pas la joie de l’inscription à Pôle Emploi et de ses ateliers d’information ignore un des éléments fédérateurs d’une partie grandissante de la population), les démarches concernant ma fille en regard de ses allergies, mon changement d’ordinateur et, nous venons d’en avoir la confirmation, notre déménagement à Lyon dans moins d’un mois. Bien sûr, en parallèle, je cherche une nouveau job. Après avoir fait des démarches sur la région parisienne, je dois tout recommencer sur Lyon. Yeah.


Conséquence de tout cela, je suis constamment par monts et par vaux et rarement disponible pour écrire.

J’ai passé la semaine dernière à Lyon pour chercher un appart, j’en ai visité quinze et je suis repartie avec plus d’inquiétudes que de certitudes concernant notre futur chez nous. En effet, les appartements familiaux du genre T3/4 ne sont rentables pour les proprios que dans le cadre d’une collocation.

Ceux qui restent disponibles sur le marché à cette période de l’année sont soit dans un état proche du taudis, soit anciens – donc bruyants-, soit décorés avec une absence de goût qui frise l’irréel.

J’ai du accepter de ne pas cocher toutes les cases de notre barème, j’ai du accepter de faire le deuil d’un coup d’un coup de coeur qui aurait projeter une aura positive sur notre futur emménagement, j’ai du accepter de prendre des risques.



Bonjour, mon nom est la Duchesse d’Erat et je suis une control freak.

Même en ayant déposé deux dossiers, fournis tous nos justificatifs et ceux de nos cautions, je suis toujours en attente d’une réponse, sachant qu’on m’a bien fait comprendre que de n’était pas gagné.

En tapant ces mots, j’ai une pensée très forte pour toutes les personnes qui recherchent également un appartement et qui n’ont pas la chance d’avoir un dossier aussi bon que le nôtre. Le marché de l’immobilier est devenu extrêmement difficile pour les locataires, ouvrant tout un champ d’abus pour les bailleurs.

Les grosses agences ne se privent pas pour vous poser des questions sur votre vie privée (vous comptez avoir un autre enfant ?), sur votre profession, celle de vos cautions… La plupart essaient de vous faire payer l’intégralité des frais de l’Etat des lieux et certaines veulent même vous faire payer des frais pour garder votre dossier à jour !

Quant aux particuliers, ce n’est pas mieux. Entre les remarques clairement racistes, les annonces mensongères, ceux qui vous demande des relevés de comptes et ceux qui ne vous ouvrent même pas la porte, il y a de quoi devenir dingue.

Les points positifs dans tout cela sont que je suis amoureuse de mon iMac, que ma fille va enfin pouvoir faire son test de réintroduction en milieu hospitalier (2 ans d’attente, plusieurs allergos je-m’en-foutistes et une montagne de conneries entendues pour en arriver là) et que nous allons nous rapprocher de notre famille (et des grasses mat’- les parents d’enfants en bas âge savent de quoi je parle ;)).

Le point négatif est que je ne peux pas écrire pour l’instant tout ce que je voudrais et ça me met en général de fort méchante humeur. En fait, tout ce qui m’empêche d’écrire me mets de mauvaise humeur.

L’autre point négatif est que je vais m’éloigner de mes amis du NaNoWriMo, ceux avec qui j’ai fait beaucoup de chemin en tant qu’individu et en tant qu’auteur, ceux avec qui je me suis enfin sentie libre d’être moi-même et ceux grâce à qui j’ai pu m’avouer, que « oui, je suis un écrivain » (Bernard Werber y est pour quelque chose aussi mais je vous en parlerai dans un autre post).

Je n’ose même pas imaginer où j’en serais aujourd’hui sans eux.  Ils me manquent tous déjà. J’aimerais bien les emmener dans mes cartons.

L’idée de déménager ne me fait pas peur. Mon mari et moi changeons de logement environ tous les trois ans ; l’idée de me retrouver dans un endroit où personne ne peut comprendre le fait d’être habité par l’écriture me glace le sang.

Certes, il y aura toujours les forums, les chans irc, les conversations sur Hang outs mais cela ne remplace pas un bon brainstorming en live.

J’aimerais me rapprocher de la communauté Lyonnaise du NaNo. Espérons qu’ils voudront bien de moi.