Blogoversary Day 4 Guest Post & Giveaway: To Outline or Not to Outline…

To Outline or Not to Outline…

I’m so pleased to welcome back one of my favourite authors on the blog: Ashley Robertson! She so kindly agreed to make an appearance during my blogoversary week. She has an awesome guest post and giveaway for you guys! 🙂

To Outline or Not to Outline…

By Ashley Robertson

I’ve never been one to outline my stories, actually I cringe whenever those are asked of me because the freedom to let my characters flow with each scene brings forth excitement in seeing where they go, the choices they make, and who captures their interest. With that being said, I don’t mind some form of organization—a visual map to keep certain details straight. Unlike with the plot, outlining the characters is crucial for me. I’ll google pictures, face shapes, hair/eye colors, etc. and once I find on screen what’s in my mind, I’ll save it in a “notes” folder and type up the specifics beside the person’s name. If Misty has raven black hair that shimmers in hues of deep purple when the light catches it just right, then later on in the story she can’t have brown hair with splashes of red. Most readers will catch that, and a mistake so trivial should never be the reason your book gets a lower rating

Remembering places is also very important. If there are going to be several towns, cities, countries, or even worlds in your book, then perhaps jotting down a brief description of each will be helpful and it has certainly worked wonders for me. When I wrote UnGuarded, which featured several “made-up” worlds, I got a big poster board and drew them out, noting what they were like, what creatures (demons) inhabited each one, and the varying landscapes.

Reading back through your book is unavoidable, but having these outlines and descriptions can really cut back the number of times you need to read it. I must have read Crimson Groves, my debut novel, at least eight or nine times. I was so sick of that darn book I was ready to scream…actually I did scream—many times. And then rewrote it again a whole year after it was published and released version two (the final edition of this book, I promise).

As we grow as writers, we continuously get better, and it’s hard to not go back and make changes to old books so that they consist with our current writing ability. But I’m more of a forward thinker and I don’t like to look back (except of course, with Crimson Groves) because there are too many ideas and only so much time to explore them in a day. With all that said, I’m one hundred percent happy with all my books now and I’m rocking through 2013 with a whole new adult novella series that should be released sometime in the early fall. I don’t have the excerpt just yet, but I promise it will totally be badass. You can keep up to date on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter so you don’t miss a beat with anything.

What are some things that really piss you off when reading a book? If the author revamped it and fixed those things, would you be willing to give it a second chance and read it again?

About Ashley Robertson


Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida, and loves writing about anything paranormal. She also composes poems and songs, though she learned long ago she doesn’t have a singing voice. When she isn’t writing you’ll find her spending time with family and friends, sharing personal training and nutrition advice via, traveling and exploring new places, and drinking fine wines and gourmet coffees from her Nespresso machine.

Visit her website to learn about her upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways

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Ashley is kindly offering up three e-copies of her books! The three winners can each choose one of her books:

Crimson Groves by Ashley Robertson

Crimson Groves


Abigail Tate was a normal human girl—until the day Bronx the vampire barges into her life and turns her against her will. Held captive while forced to deal with never-ending cravings for blood, Abby prays for a way to escape. Only when an opportunity arises, it’s with the aid of an innocent human named Tyler—except vampires are forbidden to interact with the unbitten. But Abby quickly learns this human has secrets of his own…secrets that can either help her or get her killed. Only Abby soon discovers that she is the one with the biggest secret of all.

Crimson Flames by Ashley Robertson

Crimson Flames


Half-vampire Abby Tate is determined to learn more about the sorceress powers that were awakened inside her when she was turned into a vampire—making her a whole new hybrid species. There’s a group of rogue vamps banding together and forming a Resistance against the vampire governing body, The Head Council, and Abby’s newly discovered powers are the key to the Council’s victory. Now the Resistance will do anything possible to remove the hybrid threat, and with no other options, Abby is forced to rely on the aid of the Council, yet can she trust the very vampires that hunt for her human lover? And even worse, can she fight the unwelcome attraction that’s growing between her and one of those ancient vampire rulers?

UnGuarded by Ashley Robertson



Guardian angel Selene was so close to becoming an archangel—the supreme of all beings—until she fell in love with Cole, a forbidden dark one. Once she discovers her vampire lover has been kidnapped and the only way to save him is by abandoning her number one priority—Caitlyn, her human charge—there really is only one answer in Selene’s mind, even though leaving Caitlyn unguarded will most likely cause Selene to fall from grace.

But her choice to save Cole doesn’t come without a price…and now Selene is racing against time to not only save her dark lover, but find a way to keep Caitlyn alive as well.

With the help of a new vampire ally, Luke, Selene will push her diminishing angel abilities to the point where her very existence lies in the balance. Now threatened with the chance of becoming a fallen angel or even dying, Selene can only pray she’ll have enough time—and good grace—to save the ones she loves.

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  1. I love posts like this, where authors talk about their craft. It’s interesting to find out what works for each author. I’m glad that Ashely (and other authors) take the care that they do to be consistent, because it would bother me if things changed like that. Thankfully, I can’t think of many instances where I’ve come across inconsistencies. 🙂

    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted: Book Bloggery Week-in-Review (3)
  2. Thanks for sharing the guest post with us! I always love reading about how writers tackle their writing process 🙂 I don’t mind insta-love or love triangle but it’s frustrating when a story reads more like an unedited draft than a finished copy.

    Henrietta recently posted: Showcase Sunday (41)
  3. I really get upset if there are things like animal torture or animal abuse of any kind in a book. I see that, I throw the book away!! If the author rewrote the story and took that out it would be fine and I would read the story. Also I hate it if someone writes about a medical condition with out researching it first! I’m a heart patient, so I KNOW how certain things work when it comes to that and if an author gets it wrong it upsets me big time!
    Great post!!!
    Ashley A

  4. I hate when characters make really, really stupid choices in book for no reason. I will love a book to death until a characters doe something so moronic I have to drop the book and walk away.

    Great guest post. I don’t like to outline my story, I have to come up with it as I write. But I have to outline my characters, like you do.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Excerpt & Giveaway: Damaged by H.M. Ward
  5. I read a lot of romance and I hate when the females in the books are wimpy or spoiled. Drives me insane!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    mestith at gmail dot com

  6. I really don’t like badly written books. It seems insane to say, but I think some books aren’t very well put together. I don’t like horrible plots or boring storylines.

  7. I hate stupidity. I can’t stand it when a character seems too stupid to live. Also, if a character was fine and then all of a sudden cannot seem to figure anything out, that drives me insane. Keep it consistent, don’t change the character to fit the story all of a sudden, not by going backwards at least. And yes, I would read a book over if it was revamped. I would be curious to see how things changed. Thanks!

  8. I really hate when there are typos. I mean, that’s the whole point of an editor isn’t it? And also the insta-love. Can’t stand it.

    I would give the book a second chance, but no guarantee I’d like it, of course.

  9. I’m not a big fan of the insta-love thing when the characters are meeting for the very first time. On the other hand, if there was a back story to their relationship and love is beginning to develop between them, I’m okay with that. A good romance is one of my favorite things in a book, my other fave is kick ass fighting. I feel it’s impossible to write a paranormal book without that.

    And for me, if the book is written badly, I usually can’t finish it. I spend a good part of my writing budget on one of the best editors in the business (Stephen Delaney with Close Reader Editing Svc). I would NEVER be able to publish something that wasn’t grammatically correct. EVER.

    Now, with regards to my rewrite with Crimson Groves. The entire book was edited and all the grammar was fine tuned (the first edition had a 4.08 avg rating on both Good Reads and Amazon). The root issue for me was as I grew in the business, my writing style changed a little and got a better “flow” to it. I felt with Crimson Groves, some of my sentences were too short, and I just wanted it to have the same pace as my other books. Truth be told, I have a little OCD and once I began thinking about it, I couldn’t turn it off until I went back through it one last time. Now, there’s nothing more to change. I’m 100% happy with all three of my books and my new adult novella series (Death Dealer is Book #1) will be releasing end of summer 😀 And I CANNOT WAIT. It’ s going to be so badass with intense fighting the bad guys and hot-n-heavy romance. mmmm, the perfect combo for a paranormal romance thriller 😉

    Thanks for all your comments above. I loved hearing from you all. I tried to reply individually, but couldn’t figure out how to do it on Ash’s new site…though I’m sure it’s my oversight since she is a computer mastermind.

    ~Ashley R.

  10. Ok, this is not essentially in the book, but I HATE when they change covers mid-series, I love my books matching 🙁 And I don’t like for the main character to be weak, who needs protection at all time.

  11. I really hate info dump. Some author just like to share all their knowledge/research for their book on the story. It dragged the pace of the story and really annoys me. I know you’re knowledgeable but I really want to know what happened to the character(s). if they can remove all the info dump, maybe I’d pick their book again .

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. I’m not sure about authors changing things to make a displeased reviewer happy. I believe a book reaches its audience in its prime, the way it was meant to, and if it didn’t, a whole lot went wrong, including the author. But who knows? I’m pretty open to the idea if maybe it were a minor thing like copy-editing mishaps or a typo too many.

    Sierra recently posted: Ebooks: “Escape” Route?

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