Posted in Travel, Travel Writing

The Tower of London

Oh my goodness, I have so much to share with you but I haven’t had access to wifi for a while, so these updates are going to come well after the actual dates. But I hope this glimpse into my UK trip inspires your imagination as much as it does mine.

Last week when my partner flew over to London, we took some time to tour around and see the sights. One of the sights we went to was the Tower of London where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and many other gruesome things happened.

I took some time walking through the tower and observing all the armour displays. Below are some of the photos I took.

Selina at the Tower of London
Selina at the Tower of London

That’s me (above) and behind me is a wall of armour. It was a great room to visit and very surreal.

Armour at the Tower of London
Armour at the Tower of London
Armour at the Tower of London
Armour at the Tower of London
Armour at the Tower of London
Armour at the Tower of London
The Tower of London
The Tower of London
The Tower of London
The Tower of London
The Tower of London
The Tower of London

I also took time to see the Crown Jewels and appreciate the magnificence of workmanship that went into each piece. This was a great afternoon in London. Funny to say that since it was a place that has known such gruesome historical events.

I have to say, that I am not a historian, but my visit to the UK has been helping me to develop a deeper interest in learning more about history.

Also, learning about life in a castle is so helpful for my fantasy fiction story that I worked on during my week with David Farland. The course went really well and I met some fantastic authors – all with excellent story ideas. I’m very much looking forward to seeing each of them published in their chosen genre.

I will try to update my blog as I go, but as I said above, the wifi isn’t always reliable.

Today, I am in the Scottish highlands. I’ll write about that another day.

Posted in characters, Creative Writing, creativity, Dragons, Editing, fiction, Fiction Writing Courses, Paranormal

Writing – Paranormal and Fantasy Fiction

soul seeker 1A couple of weeks ago a new character came into my imagination. I knew what she looked like and I had a good sense of who she was. It was like being visited by a the soul of a real person.

I grabbed my iPad, opened a new Scrivener project and jotted down everything I’d seen, heard, smelled and tasted in that first meeting. It got me excited because I loved this character immediately and I wanted to know more, to learn more and experience more of her paranormal/normal life. I wanted to learn more about the conflicts she has over her abilities and how her paranormal abilities complicate her career, her love life, her sense of self.

On and off since the first time she showed up, I’ve had visits from her and each time I learn a little more about who she is as a ‘real person’ in my imagination.

Then last night an antagonist walked out of the mist of my imagination and I saw exactly what he was wearing, the gate of his stride, the tilt of his fine boned face.

So once again, I opened my scrivener file and jotted what I’d experienced down. I don’t have his name yet but I’ve got the essence of who he is and the darkness that emanates from him in a seductive manner. And I know he is the opposing force to my female protagonist.

I love it when this type of thing happens. For me this is part of magic of writing fiction. I’m always learning and growing as a writer and story teller, and when a character comes forward and wants to be put down on the page, I get excited. It’s almost as if the character is whispering in my inner ear and I am writing their story from their perspective.

So, now I am a bit over three weeks away from my trip to the UK and I now have two stories growing inside my mind. After a period of feeling creatively fallow, these ideas are a delight.

One of my stories is a paranormal romance, which is probably my absolute favourite genre to write, and if this story goes the way I am plotting it, then it will be my third paranormal story with romance beats. I’m excited to write this story.

The second story is my fantasy novel which features dragons and a few humans that can use magic. I’m enjoying learning how to put an epic fantasy story together. I’m not yet sure how this story will go. Sometimes I feel frustrated that I don’t have all the puzzle pieces and other times I feel inspired by the ideas I have. Most of the time I am considering: How can I take this idea beyond cliche?

So far I have discovered writing a fantasy world is an in-depth adventure in itself. There is so much for me to think about, to brainstorm and to create. My thinking includes:

  • Characters – who is my protagonist, my antagonist and other roles
  • Conflicts – the major conflict and smaller conflicts for all characters and how they will play out
  • World building – there is so much involved in this part, sometimes I feel overwhelmed
  • Plotting how it will all pan out
  • Themes I want to touch on
  • Treatment – do I want to write this story from first person point of view or third person point of view?

So I am going to really enjoy my Fantasy Fiction writing course with David Farland in Oxford, and I am very much looking forward to learning about all the layers and nuances I need to consider to bring my ideas to life and create a believable fantasy fiction world that readers will want to experience via my characters.

When I return from the UK, I hope to finish writing these stories and to work on editing Tuppence Weatherstorm and The Living Death of Toddy James so that I can move them toward publication. It would be good move my writing to the next level, even if being published is a scary step.

 

Posted in Courses, Dragons, fiction, Fiction Writing Courses

29 Days and Counting Down

Stonehenge by Kit-Ko from Unsplash.com
Stonehenge by Kit-Ko from Unsplash.com

I’m 29 days away from flying from Australia to England to attend David Farland‘s Fantasy Fiction Writing Course.

I am excited and still catching up on all the work I need to do to be fully prepped for the course.

I have been creating characters, working on my settings and figuring out the main conflicts for the characters I have so far. At this point, I haven’t started to explore the themes I want to bring out in the story as it is very early days.

In my story, I have dragons and people. That’s what I can tell you. The rest I’m keeping close to my heart because my story is like a newly conceived baby and I want to protect it while it grows into a being in its own right.

I’m very much looking forward to the course and the three week holiday I am going to have after the course is finished. I’ve never been to the UK, unless I count going through London Heathrow Airport on my way to Barcelona when I was fortunate enough to go for work reasons in the early 2000’s.

It’s going to be excellent for me to immerse myself into a different culture and to see the history of the United Kingdom. I’ll be going to Oxford, London, a number of stops throughout England, then through Scotland, down to Wales and to a number of stops in Ireland.

It feels so surreal at the moment but before I know it, I will be on the plane and in new countries.

During my holiday, my partner, David, will be flying over (for our three week holiday) and we’ll be taking a day trip over to Paris too. I’m very excited to see all these places. And I hope each new experience inspires my imagination to new heights and helps me to become a more entertaining and interesting genre fiction writer, as well as adding to my personal experience as a human being.

I’m certainly stepping out of my comfort zone on this trip. And I am staying positive about it.

29 days and counting down until a brand new life experience comes my way!

Posted in Creative Writing, Dragons, Drawing, Drawings

Brainstorming – Fantasy Novel Setting

IMG_0081

As I’m going to the UK for a holiday in August and I’ll also be doing a writing course with David Farland, I’m preparing my story and brainstorming in advance.

One of the things I’ve had to work out is the setting.

This is the first time I’ve ever tried to create a complete fantasy world and I want dragons to be a big part of the story so the setting has to have dragon territory in it.

Without giving away too much of my thinking on who my characters are and the conflicts that I am considering, I thought I’d show you my first attempt at a world building / setting map.

It has several dragon territories and a couple of human settlements. It also has wolf territory. That appeals to my imagination big time. I’m quite excited about where my wolf idea might go.

I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop. It’s been a day of figuring out mega and some minor setting options and filling in ideas for potential characters that could grow out of the setting and their conflicts.

Happy creating – whatever you do!

Posted in Courses, creativity, Drawing, Fiction Writing Courses, skillshare, Wattpad

My Creative Projects

A while ago I decided that I’d let my art slide by the wayside just a little too much and so I found this fabulous site called skillshare.com. I joined and took a few short courses on art and had a great time.

On one of the classes, I put up a project of a drawing I did of Miss Poppy (once she finally went to sleep on the end of my bed so I could draw her).  I loved the drawing.

27654439_10155360859636375_6428763539362870706_n

There it is above.  I didn’t think too much of it. I just moved on to the next creative project in my life – learning how to write a love novella (or as the course is titled, a Lovella).

Then I got invited to do a teach challenge in March on illustration and I thought … what would I teach?

And then I thought … why not!

Then I thought … Oh My God/dess, what have I signed up for?

But I won’t grow if I don’t give these things a go, right?

So my creativity is amping up again in both my art and my writing. I’ve been learning how to do videos for the online course that will be published through skillshare.com and I’ll share my link with you when I finally do get it finished and ready for viewing.

The worst thing is that I’ve got a cold now which has knocked me about and I haven’t been about to video without sniffling. It’s a lot of hard work learning how to cut these things out while keeping the video going.

My online course is tentatively titled, How to See and Draw Using Negative Space. I’ve got a class outline written up, done a video for the introduction and the ending. And I am working on demonstrating drawing negative space to show out a positive object can pop out on the page. I’ve always found this a great way to approach drawing objects that my brain gets stuck on as symbols.

You know, like when we were kids and we would draw a box with a triangle on the top and that would be our symbol for a house? Sometimes my left brain tries to take over and make symbols on the page and I get paralysed. So, that’s when I start looking at negative space.

In my other spare time, I’ve been plotting a short romance between a part faery/part human and a human detective. It’s coming together but I’m not a big romance writer and the romance plot has to take front and centre on the stage with this story. Usually, I write a fantasy/paranormal action plot and have romance as my secondary plot. My stories are very character driven and all about the lead woman stepping into and owning her power.

I’ve noticed that I’m developing a story style and particular type of author’s voice. Having said that, my stories are different in their plots. It’s just an interesting parallel that’s been happening.

In a previous post, I’d mentioned that I was writing a story on Wattpad. It’s called, The Living Death of Toddy James. People were reading the parts I’d published and were asking when I’d finished. I felt terrible cause I couldn’t write it as quickly as my readers wanted it. But now, I’ve finished it and it’s up on the site for beta reading and feedback.  I kept my word to my followers – yay me!

I’m going to leave the manuscript on Wattpad for a while and see what happens, and after I come back from my holiday in the UK in August/September (2018) I’ll submit it for editing and feedback.

the-living-death-2

I’m super happy with The Living Death of Toddy James because I feel that I have written a fairly tight plot and there aren’t any tangents (that I can identify). My teacher and editor advised me not to spin off on tangents and I did my best to apply that rule in this story.

Oh and I am so very excited because I will be going to the UK to study (once again) with David Farland in Oxford. I’ll be taking his Fantasy Fiction seven day intensive course and I hope that when I’ve been through this course that my imagination is fertile ground to complete the story in my mind which has dragons and angels and demons and magic in it.

Living in Australia makes it tough to get a sense of how to write a castle and make it realistic since we don’t have any architecture that is steeped in that type of history like the UK.

After my writing course, my partner will be flying across to meet me in London and then we’re going to zip over to Paris for a day and then on to a bus tour of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  I can’t wait to visit the Scottish Highlands. I admit it. I’m influenced by Jamie Fraser from Outlander (the show and the book).

I’m learning so many new things, from writing to art to video production to working a mic to video editing. This is turning into a very creative year!

 

Posted in Courses, Creative Writing, fiction, Fiction Writing Courses

Learning the Art and Craft of Fiction

The Misadventures of Tuppence Weatherstom Manuscript - Phase 1My first novel manuscript has had an assessment by the brilliant editors from Brisbane Writers Workshop, and I couldn’t be happier with the guidance I have received.

I’ve received layers of feedback on the overall story, the plot, the theme, the characters, scenes that don’t do the story justice and those that do, and so much more.  This feedback is gold and it will assist me to become a much better fiction writer.

I have a great deal of work to do on developing my showing and not telling skills.  And there is a theme in my story that was identified that I hadn’t been aware of.  I’ll be focusing on bringing that out as I rewrite.  I’ll also be reworking scenes to stick to a tight plot and not go off on any tangents.

I’ll be taking all of this valuable feedback into account and pacing myself as I work through each part of the process rewriting my story.

You see, I believe that editors are brilliant people and professionals because they save writers from making fatal mistakes in our manuscripts before the story goes to publication.  Editors see things that I can’t see, and I like to think of them as an author’s guardian angel as they help us writers bring out the best of the story for the reader’s pleasure.

Sometimes feedback stings a little but it’s always meant to be of assistance to improve the manuscript for an audience.  I think it’s important to listen to expertise to create the best story I can write.  So, I’ve been swimming in my story, thinking about all the feedback and considering how I can put it to best use and chisel away the dross to create the best piece of art on the page that I can.

Today, I’ve also finished my first six-week writing course with Dean Wesley Smith – Depth in Writing. This course challenged and stretched my creative writing skills and reoriented my thinking as I learned a new way to approach writing story openings.

I learned how to use the five senses and character opinion to focus the depth in an opening.  This course was so beneficial to learning the art and craft of writing, and I’m so pleased I invested in it.   I’ll be saving up to do more courses with Dean Wesley Smith in the near future. Maybe sometime in 2017.  I’d like to do the Character Development, Plotting with Depth, and Writing Mysteries courses, just to name a few.

The week after next, David Farland will be here in Australia. He’s teaching a couple of writing courses, including Writing Million Dollar Outlines which equates to how to write stories that sell.

I’m pretty excited because I’ll finally have an opportunity to meet David Farland face-to-face.  I’ve been studying writing with him since December 2014 and what I’ve learned has been beneficial to developing my own creative writing style.  I’ve learned how to plot a story, flesh out characters, develop settings, think about theme and consider treatment too.

Then, on 9th October, I will have another opportunity to attend a course with Brisbane Writers Workshop as they will be holding a Polish and Publish course.  This course has a maximum of 4 to 6 people and will focus on giving each participant time to polish 1500 words of their work-in-progress manuscript.  I can’t wait for this course as it will really help me with my manuscript.

And, quite a few months ago, I signed up to another online writing course with Margie Lawson, called Visceral Rules: Beyond Hammering Hearts.  This course starts 1st October, and is designed to teach the importance of visceral responses in writing and helps writers to move beyond cliches.

One day, I hope to have a story that will be published and people will truly enjoy reading.

Until then, I’ll keep learning the art and craft of fiction writing.  And when the hard moments hit and I want to turn away from the course I’ve stepped upon, I’ll continue because I do love to create and I love to write.

Posted in Courses, Creative Writing, Editing, fiction, Fiction Writing Courses, Story

Brisbane Fiction Writing Courses

Creative Writing Courses Brisbane 2016

There are two excellent quality creative/novel writing courses coming up in Brisbane in August and September, 2016.  I’m pretty excited and wanted to recommend them, just in case you have a book you’ve always wanted to write or know of someone who might like to enroll.

I’ve been personally taught by Lauren Daniels from Brisbane Writers Workshop and David Farland from My Story Doctor and I highly recommend both of them as teachers who can help you take your story ideas and bring them into a novel manuscript and assist you with taking steps toward publication.

I can’t recommend either of them highly enough.

Fiction blitz-2

3 Editors Set To Smash It: Fiction Blitz: 28 August

Who is running the course: Brisbane Writers Workshop and professional Editor, Lauren Daniels

Lauren Daniels is a professional writer and editor who has been working in the publishing industry since the ‘90s.  Most recently, her manuscript for her novel, ‘The Serpent’s Wake: A Fairy Tale for the Bitten’, was shortlisted with The Half the World Global Literati Award.

Lauren is the Senior Consulting Editor for Interactive Publications and the director of the Brisbane Writers’ Workshop.  She’s also edited over 60 fiction and non-fiction titles, many of which have attracted awards and recognition.

More details about her upcoming Brisbane Writers Workshop course can be found below:

When: Sunday 28th August 2016

Length of course: One day course

Cost: $165 per person

Venue: Arana Hills, QLD

What the course covers:

  • What the big publishers seek in a hook
  • Unpacking lingering questions about style and literary devices
  • Examining rhetorical devices
  • Characters: Quick—Make Them Stick!
  • Keep It Real: No Melodrama or Cliché, thanks
  • Themes that are not Love, Hate, Death or Illness
  • What Editors do.

This course will be run by three professional editors – Lauren Daniels, Josh Brockbank and Geneve Flynn.

Josh Brockbank is a freelance manuscript assessor with a track record in novels and memoir.  He has a BA in Journalism and has worked as a journalist for The Westender and Brisbane Arts Guide.  He’s passionate about writing and teaching too, and loves Crime Fiction, Realism and Magical Realism.

Geneve Flynn is a freelance editor with a love of speculative fiction.  She loves helping writers craft characters and stories that resonate with their readers.  And, very exciting, she’s been taught by Fiona McIntosh (who is one of my favourite Australian authors).

Max number of Attendees: 10

More info and website are listed in this reviewhttp://www.weekendnotes.com/fiction-blitz-brisbane/

 

DF-profile-imageWriting Million Dollar Outlines with David Farland

Writing Stories that Sell  

Who is running the course: David Farland will be running this course.

About David Farland:  He’s an award-winning, New York Times bestselling writer in Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres, a professional Editor and author the Runelords series.  He’s also a judge for the Writers of the Future competition, and he’s been a green light analyst for Hollywood movies as well as a story consultant in the games industry.

And now, he’s coming to Australia (from the US) specifically to teach us how to write stories that sell through developing outlines aimed at a wide audience.  He’ll be teaching in Brisbane – Writing Million Dollar Outlines, and then he’ll be teaching in Sydney – Writing Enchanting Prose.

More details about his Brisbane course are below:

When: Monday 19th to Thursday 22nd September 2016

Length of course:  Four day course – 9am to 5pm

Cost: $599 USD per person

Venue: Virginia, QLD

What the course covers:

  • What makes a bestselling story
  • Audience analysis with a focus on how to write to a wider audience so your stories will capture more readers
  • What is a story and why people read them
  • Elements of story
  • Brainstorming settings
  • How to build characters and the roles they play
  • Themes
  • Plotting and plot devices
  • And heaps more – too much for me to mention here.

This course will be run exclusively by David Farland and it doesn’t matter what genre you would like to write in, he can help.

Max No of Attendees: 16

More info and website are listed in this reviewhttp://www.weekendnotes.com/writing-million-dollar-outlines-david-farland/

I hope these course recommendations help you bring your creative dreams to fruition.

Happy creative writing!