Vision Writers Retreat 2018

Greetings all,

Hope 2018 is treating you well. Can you believe we are in the second half of the year already? My husband and I successfully moved into our new home in April. We are loving it (even though it’s still filled with boxes. Who knew two people could have so much stuff!). One of the first things we did was hang a picture that we’ve had for years on the wall (Something we could never do in rentals). It felt so good, a simple pleasure that re-enforced this was our home.

The view from my room at Vision Writers Retreat. Love that lake.

In June, I attended the Vision Writers Retreat for the second time. It was held in Montville, QLD in this huge absolutely gorgeous house which, by the end of the weekend, we were convinced was haunted. One of my fellow writers heard a knock on his door at 2am but when he opened it, there was no one there. Plus doors were opening and closing of their own accord. Spooky but very productive.

Same view but early in the morning when fog covers the lake. I love fog. I always thought of stepping into fog like stepping into another realm.

I managed to get a lot of work done on my latest project which I’m calling That Book at this stage. I’ll work out a proper title eventually. It’s a YA Fantasy that I’m really enjoying writing. It’s getting close to being half completed. Having said that, I have realised in the last few days that I started the book in the wrong place. Not writing wise, literally the wrong location. So my main character, Gwen, is packing up and moving with her family to the big city. This means that much of the first four chapters will be scrapped and re-written. But, as I am oft to repeat when major re-writes are needed, this is a good thing as it will make the book stronger.

I’m also taking the time to apply some more rigorous planning techniques than I usually use. Two of which were suggested by two talented writers from Vision. Already I can see these techniques are strengthening the story and helping me wrap my head around writing it.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: This is the view from Montville. It stretches across the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and to the ocean at the horizon.

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2018

A belated Happy 2018 to you all!
I can’t believe it’s March already. Where does the time go?
A lot of my time this year has been devoted to packing as my husband and I are building our first home. It’s very close to completion and we’re hoping to move in the next couple of weeks. It will be great once we’re settled in and I can get back to writing.

As for writing, I’m currently planning out the next novel I intend to write. At this stage, it is looking like a YA urban fantasy / magic realism. I’m having a great time planning it out. My first book was YA and I remember now how much fun I had writing it. I think YA fantasy is one of my most favorite genres to write in. It’s also one of my favorites to read.

So far on this new project I’ve profiled the main characters and have started setting the base storyline. Creating new characters is something I enjoy a lot. It’s amazing to see them come to life. I always try to get to know my characters very well because they are with me for so long during the writing process. Naming them is something I struggle with. A name is so important. I can spend hours trying to figure out the correct name for a character. Thankfully the ones in this latest project weren’t too bad.

Well I best get back to it.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: This month the featured image is my cutie of a kitty, Kuro, when he was only a few months old. He’s now about two and just as mischievous as he seems in the photo.

Where Demons Lie

Hey guys,

I know I say this every post but wow. This year is just rocketing by. How is it we are almost in November already!

These last few months have been busy ones for me. I sent THE BLESSED CURSED out to my Beta Readers and got some really positive feedback. One of the most repeating issues was with the length of the novel so, after much thought, I re-worked and split the novel into two shorter books. It’s now THE BLESSED CURSED, book one complete at 80k words and WHERE DEMONS LIE, book two complete at 95k words. I’m much happier with the story being two novels instead of one.

And so it was this week I started the arduous search for a literary agent to represent the novel and myself. This process can take some time as I need to research each agent, find the ones I’m happy with and hand craft individual queries to each of them. Response times for agents are normally in the weeks and most will reject the project however I always have hope I’ll find my agent one day and oh what a day that will be.

As some of you may know, November is NaNoWriMo or try to write a 50k word novel in a month. Last year I was working hard to finish editing on THE BLESSED CURSED so I skipped it. This year I’m going to be participating again. Not sure how I’ll go. I seem to time being sick really well with NaNoWriMo. I haven’t planned the novel yet at this stage but am hoping to do that next week. Fun fact, I started THE BLESSED CURSED in the NaNoWriMo of 2014. Only wrote about 25k words then but look at it now! If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to connect with me.

GenreCon Brisbane is also coming up in November. It’ll be a fun three day convention full of writing workshops, writing talks and all things writing. I’m looking forward to it. Let me know if you’re attending as well.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Image: The featured image is the base art for the cover of STANDING IN THE WIND’S SHADOW. He was meant to be a little Wyvern but unfortunately never got finished. I still love him though. He sits next to the salamander from BIRTH BY FIRE’S EMBRACE’s cover as my desktop.

Edit, Review, Re-write and Repeat

Greetings!

Well it looks like this year is going to fly by even quicker than 2016. I cannot believe that it’s almost June. That’s half way through the year! Wasn’t it just Christmas last week?

I’ve done it. The latest round of editing, reviews and re-writing for The Blessed Cursed are complete. I typed the last words in on Sunday and boy did they feel good. And now the bad news. I want to edit it again. The whole thing. All 175,000 words. I’m sorry.

Since I started this last round of editing, I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King. And it was fantastic. So much so, I’m actually excited to put their advice into practise with my own manuscript, and for those of you who don’t know me well, it takes a lot to get me excited about editing. But they managed it with great straight forward advice about how to edit your manuscript until it’s the most polished and strongest it can be. And if I’m going to interest the Literary Agent I’ve my heart set on, then the manuscript really needs to be top of its game.

So my plan is to bullet point the main lessons from Self Editing and make a list. Then I will print off every chapter and go through and check each bullet point against each chapter.

I can’t give you a time estimate as to how long it will take. It depends on the extend of my editing. It may take a month or a year but I will be working hard the entire time to get it finished.

Once done, it’ll be sent off to some Beta Readers for their opinion. If you would like to be a Beta Reader for The Blessed Cursed, please contact me here.

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: The beautiful flowers my parents sent me for my Birthday earlier in May. Love them (both the flowers and my parents).

Happy 2017

Greetings and happy 2017 to all.

I know I’m a bit late and it’s already February. Hopefully this year won’t pass as quickly as 2016 did.

In my last post I promised I would have the reviews on Blessed Cursed finished by January. Guess what, didn’t happen. I’m still working on it. But, and I have to keep reminding myself this, it’s not a bad thing. Every revision makes the book stronger, more polished and overall a better read. In early January I decided I didn’t like the way the story ended. So I deleted the last 25k words and have been re-planning and re-writing it since. I’m much happier with this new ending (or at least I am right now. Ask again when I’ve finished writing it!). I should be able to finish re-writing the end before March.

I say that but I should mention my husband and I are currently buying a house and there is nothing like packing up and moving house to disturb a writing schedule. But stay with me. Don’t give up. It will be finished eventually, I promise.

Last week I finished an online class I enrolled in taught by none other than the James Patterson. For those who don’t know him, he is predominantly a thriller and mystery writer. He is the best selling author in the world today. And he certainly knows what he is talking about. While I’m not a thriller or mystery writer, I believe the lessons of suspense and fast paced driven plot lines can be applied across different genres. It was nice to be taught by a genuinely successful author. He has a passion for writing and years of experience. For those of you interested in taking the class, it can be found here.

That’s all from me for now. I sincerely hope the next post from me in March reads those magical words ‘finally finished the dam thing’ but I make no promises. It’ll be finished when it’s finished. 🙂

Till next time,
Ashleigh

Featured Image: The picture above is one taken from my garden. Can anyone spot the hidden intruder?