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Lesley Marshall is a freelance editor who has been in the business over 40 years, and worked on a fascinating array of manuscripts—rules for card games, government documents (including parts of the RMA), biographies and theses, short stories and memoirs, and pretty well every genre of fiction from children’s to erotica.
She also teaches writing and editing skills online through NorthTec, works an assessor/mentor/appraiser for the Society of Authors, and is co-editing a national rose magazine. For nearly fifteen years she’s been the NZSA Coordinator for PEN (the part of NZSA that works like Amnesty International to help writers in prison). She’s acted as a judge for various writing competitions, both national and international, has been on several panels for the Society of Authors to allocate mentorship, residency and assessment opportunities, and has also been a Storylines judge on the panel to choose Notable Books.
Lesley was a founding member of the NZ Association of Manuscript Assessors, is on the executive of the Northland branch of the Society of Authors, and is a member of the Australasian association of editors, IPEd. Lesley writes a regular column on PEN issues for The Author, and another one for the rose magazine on the origins of particular rose names.
“I have done a lot of writing online and for retail mags so was able to get straight into the applied writing course...
“When I was young I wanted to be a writer but then life happened and it becomes hard to make it a priority, so I...
In my last year of the course I was offered a place in Level 7 which requires students to complete a major project...
“Professional writing was the easy part for me when I enrolled in this course. My big challenge was attempting to break into fiction in my late sixties. Papers like Myths, Legends and Folk Tales, Short Story, and Novel opened up a whole range of possibilities for me and I revelled in the chance to write creatively.”
“The fact that the course was online was ideal for me because I’m a retiree, and there was the added bonus of several local tutors who I could meet with personally. They kept me motivated.”
“However, I wasn’t an easy student. Because my background is in education, and in curriculum and professional development writing in particular, I was critical of some of the content and structure of the course. The great thing was that the tutors embraced my input, so it was a real win-win situation.”
“In my last year of the course I was offered a place in Level 7 which requires students to complete a major project. It was a perfect opportunity for me to write my 82,000 word novel. It is the story of a young woman being sent to a remote community to teach, who finds that she herself gets an education. We had expert online tutor input plus we were matched with professional mentors and assessors relevant to our genre. I was delighted with the assessment and feel I’ve gone from being a professional writer to a writer of fiction.”
“I’m a lot more secure in my understanding of how to write fiction now, and my confidence in my own creativity has grown enormously as a result of this learning journey. I’m keen to carry on writing creatively, and my dream is to see my novel published.”