Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Wrap Up

I looked at the calendar today and saw that it is the 1st of December. This came as a bit of a shock for me, and I was a little bit sad to realise that this means I have no more time to complete my 2014 NaNoWriMo. I only managed 10,722 words due to a much busier schedule than I had originally anticipated (see my previous post on this).

However, I am far from disheartened. I have learned a lot from this year's NaNo. Chiefly:

  • I have learned how I write best. In tracking daily word counts I have discovered that I work in large bursts, following by long periods where I need to rest my brain. This is good to know. It means that I need to make sure I have zero interruptions during my writing time. It also means that I know there will be gaps where I will have plenty of time on my hands to complete errands.
  • I have come to realise that I am far more task oriented than I am goal oriented. This means that, for me to maintain my motivation, I need to set myself smaller tasks to be able to achieve that overall goal.
  • The story that I was writing makes me cry a lot.

I have accomplished the main thing that I wanted to achieve during NaNoWriMo. I mostly set out on this adventure as a way to get to know a character that had been proving elusive. I feel I have a good understanding of her motivations now, and she feels much more real to me. I am really excited to go back to my pre-NaNoWriMo novel and implement everything I have learned about this character.

And so, this is not the end of writing for me. It's just the end of yet another competition. Just because November is over does not mean that the words have to stop.

Happy writing, everyone!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Progress So Far

Okay, okay. I admit it. My decision to partake in NaNoWriMo this year was not very well thought out. So far this month I have had PAX Australia, the Melbourne Cup, I went to the Spring Racing Carnival and I have a wedding to go to in a few days time. Oh, and did I mention that I have been wedding dress shopping every chance I have had? (still can't find a dress for my wedding and I've been searching for months now. It's one of the downsides to being so tiny - the stores don't carry my size so I can't even try most of the dresses on, and those I can try are still so big on me I just have to imagine what they will look like. Garrr!)

So, my progress for the whole 50,000-words-in-a-month thing hasn't been brilliant. I am currently sitting on 5260 words and we're nearly halfway through the month. Many of those words were written today.

According to the NaNoWriMo website:

At This Rate I Will Finish On: February 13, 2015
Words Per Day To Finish On Time: 2,237 
 
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo and Me

In the past I have said that I have tried NaNoWriMo and it's not for me. It's really not how my creative juices work. They are much more slow and deliberate. But this year I have signed up.

Why?

Well, I have this character, you see. She is pinnacle to the current story I am working on (book 2 in my Rachaya series). It's super important that I understand her and her motivations if the story is to work. So I am exploiting NaNoWriMo in a way. Because, really, I never intend for anyone to read this story. It is just for me. I hope that, in taking the month to properly develop this character, the rest of my current novel will be enhanced.

That or this is just another elaborate plan to procrastinate...

We'll see.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo too? Go to nanowrimo.org if you wish to sign up. You can search for me @ Ash Oldfield on the site.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reject Stale Language

Earlier on in the year I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Children's Book Fair at the State Library of Victoria. While I was there I snuck into a talk given by a childhood hero of mine, author John Marsden (Okay, so I booked tickets and lined up with a bunch of 8 year olds. Totally worth it.). I was also able to have a chat with him afterwards and get him to sign my book. When I told him he inspired me to be a writer from a young age he apologised to me. He was so lovely and generous with his time. He's a great man.

During his talk I took notes on his writing advice. It is truly brilliant in its simplicity, and I have noticed an improvement in my own writing since I have been applying this advice to my work. The following 8 tips have really stuck with me:

- You can make language do anything you want it to. Very quickly we can use words to conjure images.

- Write honestly and accurately. There is no value if it's not your perspective.

- You need to learn the conventions of writing before you can break them.

- You should name everything. Don't say the bird flew past the window; say the cockatoo flew past the window.

- Our job is to stay poets for the rest of our lives, rejecting stale language.

- Take a boring sentence. Underline nouns and pronouns. Name them. Use language more effectively to tell the same story. Identify verbs and give them life.

- Every story is about an interruption to routine.

- The most important thing a writer can get is bum glue (a quote from Bryce Courtenay).


Friday, May 30, 2014

Exciting News!

I have been sitting on some pretty big news for the past couple of months. For those of you who follow my Twitter feed or Facebook page, you will have already heard. Actually, I'm surprised you didn't hear my squeals of excitement...

I have been offered a publishing contract for my debut novel, which I have humbly accepted. I am proud to be working alongside Australia's very own Satalyte Publishing on this story that is very close to my heart.

The novel is a Young Adult Fantasy story (I think of it more a book for 11+ year olds because there is no swearing or sexual themes). The main character is a thirteen year old girl whose world is turned upside down. She has a supportive, loving father, a long lost cousin who becomes like a parent to her, a sassy best friend, and a fat grey cat called Tibbles. The story is set in a world that I have spent many, many, many happy hours dreaming about. There are many new creatures that I naturally wish were real so could have as pets, and lots of magic.

I cannot wait to be able to tell you more about the story. As the release date draws closer I will fill you in on the nitty-gritty details.

My love to you all,

Ashleigh.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tapping Into the Creative Mind

Today I'm stopping by to share a link for advice on why you might have writer's block and how you can tap into the creative mind. This advice is from my favourite author, Anne Bishop. It's really speaking to me at the moment because I have been paralysed by writer's block for the past month.

So, here it is: http://www.annebishop.com/s.writersblock.html

This post has already helped me figure out where I need to head in able to become unstuck. I am at point B, know what happens at point E, but have absolutely no idea how to join the dots.