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?

Why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year

Greetings all,

I do hope this year is treating you well and you all had a fantastic Halloween. As any fellow writers out there would know, November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. It’s a time where authors everywhere try to write 50,000 words in a single month towards one book or project. The exercise is not designed to churn out bestsellers but to get writers into the habit of writing every single day, something that’s very hard to do.

I won’t be competing in NaNoWriMo this year purely because I am still 100% focused on reviewing and editing Blessed Cursed. I do not want to put it aside for a month to write on another project. I want it done!! I made a promise that it would be completed this year and I still have a full third of the manuscript to finish. (AAAHHHH!!)

This novel is driving me to distraction. When I ‘finished’ it in February, it was only about 100k words and about 24 chapters. Since my reviews and edits have started, it’s now 160k words, over 35 chapters and I’m not even done yet!!! Maybe it was premature to call it ‘finished’ in February. My edits have been extensive and I’ll admit a great deal of the book is totally different from the original, but I think, much better. Sooo much better. It may be taking me a long time and I may be practically re-writing the majority of the novel but overall I think Blessed Cursed will be stronger and better than ever when I can finally throw down my keyboard and declare it officially done. Then it’s onto Beta Readers and potentially more changes but I’m not thinking about that right now 🙂

I’m making this promise to you too, dear reader, so you can hold me to it and keep me on track. The reviews and edits will be finished by the New Year. Beta Readers will start in January 2017. Please let me know if you are interested in becoming a Beta Reader for Blessed Cursed.

Till next time,

Ashleigh

P.s. The image above is the view from the Bunya Mountains in Queensland, Australia where I was recently for a beautiful wedding. Amazing place with wild birds who eat seed straight out your hand and more wallabies than I’ve never seen in one place before.

April Update

Greetings!

That’s another month done and dusted for the year 2016. It’s now April. Am I the only one who’s a little freaked out with how fast this year is going? My sister is currently preggers with my first little niece and we are all pretty certain we’ll be welcoming her into the world before May. I’m sitting by the phone just waiting for the call. It’s going to be a busy month!

What I’m Writing:
I was hoping I would be finished the reviews for Blessed Cursed by the end of March. Safe to say I was over confident. I’ve completed about half the manuscript so it may just take another month before I’ve finished. I’m still on the look out for Beta Readers so if you are interested please drop me a message and I’ll let you know the details. Blessed Cursed is currently sitting at roughly 120k words so I can safely say it’s the longest novel I’ve ever written so far.

What I’m Reading:
I’m still on the Dragons of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. Since my last update I’ve finished Moreta’s Story. A good book but probably not the best in this series. I feel the ending is too forced. Without giving much away, the tale of Moreta is known to anyone who has read the early books in the Dragons series including the end. I can’t help but feel McCaffrey really wanted to write this story about Moreta but, because she had already set the ending in earlier books, couldn’t change it. Therefore the ending feels forced, sudden and to be completely honest, a bit disappointing.
In March, I also read Nerilka’s Story,  Dragonsdawn, The Renegades of Pern and All the Weyrs of Pern.untitled
Of these, I have to take a moment to talk about Dragonsdawn. To put it bluntly, I. Love. This. Book. I do. I really do. Dragonsdawn would take a spot on my all time favourite books list. My copy at home is falling apart from too much reading. Dragonsdawn is set in a different time period to the rest of the series and tells the tale of the very first dragons and their riders. It’s the thickest book in the series (and for good reason because it covered a lot!)
I’ve only three more books in this series before I finish it and start on the next one. Does any one have any suggestions?

Have an awesome April!!

Ashleigh

Beta Readers for Blessed Cursed

Greetings!

It’s time for a new month and a new season! Here in Australia, we are moving from Summer into Autumn. I can’t wait for the days to start to cool. This summer has been particularly hot with the naughty El Nino driving temperatures up. For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, Happy Spring 🙂

What I’m Writing:
In February I was able to finish writing Blessed Cursed! Yay! Happy times. I’ve already started the reviewing process and hope for that to be completed by the end of March. I’m making great progress this year. Here is a brief synopsis.

Blessed Cursed

When the Gates of Hell are opened
And darkness walks the land
Everything will crumble
Rock returns to sand

For four hundred years, Demons have slaughtered the innocent and destroyed the cities of man. Those who managed to escape were often infected by the Demon’s Curse. A poisoning of the blood, it granted them speed and strength but as the infection takes hold, it also drives them insane. The Church of Light sent its best warriors to take down the fell beasts but still they multiply and no one knows why. When Arden’s best friend is tainted by the Demon’s Curse, she puts her own life aside to find a cure before her friend looses her mind forever.

I’m starting to look for Beta Readers to read Blessed Cursed and give me feedback. Would you like to help? I’d like people who read regularly and who like Fantasy. I’m looking for completely honest feedback with as much detail as possible. If you would like to be a Beta Reader, please CLICK THIS LINK and fill in the contact form. Please include some of your favourite books so I can get an idea of what you like.

What I’m Reading:
In this last month, I’ve been reading the Dragons of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. As I said in my Feb post, I just love it. I read the followingdragonsong instalments last month: Dragon Flight, Dragon Quest, Dragon Song, Dragon Singer, The White Dragon and Dragon Drums. Of all these books, I think my favourite would have to be Dragon Flight followed by Dragon Song and Dragon Singer. The Dragon Song/Singer duo is about Menolly, a girl who loves music and writes the most beautiful songs. But girls can’t be Harpers and the Sea Hold which is her home has no time for such things.

The book I’m currently reading from the Pern series is Moreta, Dragonlady of Pern. I am hesitant to read this novel again. Its ending is incredibly sad and I don’t really like books that make me cry. But it’s been years since I’ve read it and I figured I’d give it another go. Maybe it won’t be as bad the second time around.

Have a great March guys, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to be a Beta Reader for Blessed Cursed.

Ashleigh