Writing a novel…with every brushstroke

Hey guys,

This morning I was reflecting on the process of writing a novel. I remembered how when I was young I used to be so intimidated by writing a novel. I felt in awe of how writers could include all of the characters physicality, their memories, speech, backstory, description of place, original plot lines, twists and turns and surprises and also the phenomenal voice, inventive imagery and metaphor that some authors employ.

All of this still impresses me and blows me away all the time. How some authors can do this in their novels so expertly! I still stand in admiration for these amazing artists.

However, now at least after writing two complete novels and now onto my third I have a different perspective on the writing process.ย I am not saying I am completely over this but now I can see the journey of writing a novel in a much more manageable and realistic manner. When I was younger maybe I felt that all of this magic came together for the writer in one go and they produced a phenomenally detailed and nuanced character driven plot with little work, stress or time. This was where I had no way of knowing then I was 11 or 12 years old what it is like to write a novel.

Now, I realise it is like painting. When I was young I wanted to be a visual artist or even a cartoonist. I would draw all the time when I was a kid practicing drawing faces, trees, landscapes, my favourite band members (haha) and I took painting lessons outside of school. I loved visual art. I have been reflecting on the process of writing a novel lately and realised it is a lot like painting. When you you create the whole piece by working on small parts gradually, so it could be the shading under the nose or eyes, or the neck, it could be the shading on the tree trunk, but nevertheless you work on small parts at a time. You also layer colours on top of one another and you put a foundation colour and then paint something lighter on top. You gradually create the whole picture/painting and when you stand back you can see the person’s face or the landscape forming, but when you are close up you can only see the colour and the brushstrokes.

So it is with writing. Each day I sit down and write the next part of the narrative and gradually I am building up the whole novel, creating each integral part that will necessarily fit together to make the whole picture, the whole world. You are layering colours upon colours, you are shading and creating fine detail. This is done gradually. Then with a novel you go back and you work on each chapter again to put more detail in, to fill in more colour and make it come alive even more. This is also what you do with painting at times, you will come back later and add some shading or light or additional colour.

So, the process of writing a novel – we should remember is gradual, it is writing down your first draft and not being worried that you will have to come back and put more detail in. That is a given. All authors need to do this. It is the gradual creation of the characters, the world, the sensory details and these all come together gradually to create your work. So this encourages me, it allows me to relax because the first draft is that, it is a skeleton where you can build the flesh of your story, and fill out their muscles and ligaments, skin and finger nails. All of this comes later.

Be encouraged just start writing and keep going. Once you have finished your first full draft then go back and examine every chapter and add detail and colour and characterisation or setting if you need. Then get another person to read it, then do another revision, and you will have to do this a few times. But each time your book will become what it was always meant to be. Be patient and kind with yourself. Enjoy the creation process, though the critiquing can be hard in the end you will be proud of your work.

But know that writing a novel is completed through those little faithful steps of writing every day or every second day and building and building and building on the bones of the narrative. Go well, happy writing!

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New Years wishes…

Hey guys, it is my habit and that of many others to reflect on the year that has been before entering the New Year. So I wanted to say I am grateful for the adventures of this year.

At the beginning of the year I was blessed to travel to New Zealand with my daughter, to the North and South Island. It was stunning and we experienced some beautiful pristine wilderness as well as some near misses with locals on blind corners and one way bridges haha…it was a wild and magnificent ride. One moment that was particularly beautiful was when we pulled over for a quick rest, and found this bubbling, soothing stream running over and through rocky ground surrounded by silent, glorious mountain ranges. That was simply magical and a moment I won’t forget. New Zealand is where my father is from and I was able to go to where he was raised in Auckland and I was able to see where the other half of my heritage came from. I felt like I had placed some pieces of my puzzle and connected parts of my Dad to myself. I can’t really explain it. I was also able to see a friend I haven’t seen in years, this was amazing. So, a beautiful trip to New Zealand started my New Year.

Throughout this year, I wrote, rewrote and edited my novel, Where the Sun Rises and I graduated from Master of Arts, Macquarie University in Sydney. Following the completion of my novel I applied for funding to attend the New York Pitch Conference in New York (of course) from Arts Queensland and the Sunshine Coast Council. I was fortunate enough to receive this funding and in September – October I went to New York and was able to travel with my friend Allison Quigley as well. This was a phenomenal experience that taught me so much. I had wanted to go back to New York for years as well. I had lived in America when I was young. I was able to pitch to four editors in New York and had an opportunity to submit my novel. Apart from this, I traveled around and experienced New York and visited Boston as well. I am very grateful for this trip, it was amazing.

Finally, I was able to pitch my novel to Australian publishers when I returned from New York. Two out of the three editors requested my novel, so now I am waiting to hear back from Harper Collins and Hachette. So, I am very grateful for this year and all of the adventures and opportunities that have come my way. I feel blessed and excited for the New Year. I am now writing another novel – but my novel Where the Sun Rises will be published in the New Year.

So, now after reflecting on my year that has been – I will write my goals for this year. Do this for yourself, write what you are grateful for this year and what has happened for you this year. Then, write down what you would like for the year to come, personal goals, or bigger goals. Write these down too. Then it is a great exercise to come back and see what has happened for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a lovely New Year’s Eve and HAPPY NEW YEAR for this one to come! I am excited for 2019 and I am looking forward to what will happen this year. All the best, to all of you! Suz ๐Ÿ™‚

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Creativity on the holidays…

Hey guys,

I am enjoying starting my new novel which is about one of my characters from my other novel, Where the Sun Rises. (I am planning to have this published in the New Year) My main character is a journalist, a foreign correspondent and I am enjoying the fact that I know where she is from, (I am also from Sydney) and I don’t have to research every element of this narrative. There will be some research, as there always is with any book or script, but not as much as my other novel. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not many novels could ever be as much as that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, it is a good time of year to keep creating. In Australia, we have very hot weather right now, and people holiday at this time. It is a good time to continue creating whatever project you are working on. I am also thinking about a script idea I have in the background as well. These are the things that make me excited! So, I hope you have some time to create some things this Christmas/holiday period. ๐Ÿ™‚

Go well, thanks for reading! Suz

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Freedom Writing

Hey everyone,

I wrote my book Freedom Writing, to show people how they can help themselves in a completely easy and affordable manner using writing therapy. Counselling should be continued as well, but writing therapy can be used at any time during your day and is cheap, only a pen and paper this is used well with counselling to express how they are feeling inside.

Men benefit the most from writing therapy, and yet they are the ones who find it hard to try this therapy. I have a mission to get this book out to more men, and young people, as well as women. Women have bought and downloaded this book and are open to forms of therapy and I wrote this book for them. Men commit suicide three times more than women in Australia and I would imagine in other countries around the world. Young people are suffering a lot of stress and pressure and some of them decide to end it as well. This book was written to show there is HOPE.

So, I have a link to my e-book or my print version of Freedom Writing. If you are wanting the print version, go to the e-book link and then select Paperback. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Thanks for reading! If you download this, you can discover some completely easy to use techniques to get rid of stress when it arises, and no one in the world can say they don’t have stress or pain at various times in their lives.

Go well, have a great day. ๐Ÿ˜€ (Freedom Writing was number on the Amazon Best Seller List for Downloads for three days.)

E-book:

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One more day to get Freedom Writing for free! No. 1 Amazon Best Seller Free Downloads.

Hey guys,

There is only one day left to grab a copy of Freedom Writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Feel free to download it, post a review it would be most appreciated! Thanks for reading.

My book has been Number 1 on the Amazon Best Seller, downloads in two categories. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks guys for those downloading it and if you still want to, it is available for free for one more day!

Kind regards, Suzanne

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Freedom Writing- No. 1 in Amazon Best Sellers List

Hey guys,

My book Freedom Writing is free for three days (June 21-23). Feel free to check it out, and I would really appreciate a review it’s very easy to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ Visit your own country’s Amazon site and you can download it there! Thanks for reading.

Have a lovely day.

An update! Freedom Writing is No.1 on the Amazon Best Sellers List, Free Downloads!ย Thank you to all the people who are downloading my book for free, check out the pic below. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Kind regards, Suzanne

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Be proud of your creation – Elizabeth Gilbert

Hello there,

In my recent workshops I decided to end the session with a quote from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This quote inspired and spurred me onto to continue to create and be proud of the end product that I produce. No matter what happens. I have always felt this since I was young, that no matter whether you are successful (some of the most phenomenal artists in the world were not successful commercially in their lives) in financial terms or not you have created something from nothing.

Be proud of all the work and the creative process, you created something from nothing. You created characters that did not exist, and a narrative in which they lived and breathed, succeeded or failed, loved and fought for those they loved. In my novel I am finishing currently, there is life and death, there is love and loss and there is life. It is based on the real women who fought in Syria, loosely based on real people but no one in particular. I created these women, their lives, families, the world that the reader lives in. I had to research so much of this novel as it is completely outside my knowledge of the world and use my imagination of course. It was very difficult. But this is what an artist does, they challenge themselves and want to see things from other people’s point of view. That’s what I wanted to tell the stories of these amazing, brave women!

Anyway, I wanted to share this quote as I believe it will spur you on as well, in whatever creative endeavour you find yourself in. I love it, it makes me emotional when I read it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy writing and have a great day.

“Bring forth what is within you, then, whether it succeeds or fails. Do it whether the final product…is crap or gold. Do it whether the critics love or hate you or whether the critics have never heard of you and perhaps never will hear of you. Do it whether people get it or don’t get it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be Plato. It’s all just an instinct, and an experiment, and a mystery, so begin. Begin anywhere. Preferably, now.ย  And if greatness should ever accidentally stumble upon you, let it catch you hard at work.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.

Courage – the theme for my new novel!

Courage is my main theme for the novel I am writing about the brave Kurdish women who fought Daesh in Kobani and won. The courage I see in them โ€“inspired me to be courageous to travel to the middle east on my own, for research and travel in 2016.

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I am galloping towards the end of this novel and am constantly spurred on by the story of these women and my central characters. I have had to do extensive research to capture the reality of war for these women. I have spent hundreds of hours of research over more than two years of writing this novel. I have a few more chapters to write and I am itching to be able to do this around work and being a mother.

I follow Hemingwayโ€™s advice however, he recommends to always leave water in the well for the next day of writing. I seek to do this. I seek to stop writing while I am still inspired and, in the zone, so that I can continue this passion the following day.

After I have finished these chapters I know there will be more rewriting as every author has to do, but I am excited to get to this complete manuscript. There may be more scenes to be added, but I will know the story arc, character development and texturing is done for what I want to do at this point.

I am excited. Then starts the process of rewriting and then sending out to agents and publishers. Writers, authors need to remember this is a long process. I am prepared for it but I am excited to be finishing the manuscript.

Every writer must be prepared for more rewriting than they realise, every good author does this. At university I was shown pictures of all the corrections made to The Great Gatsby, which encouraged me a lot. This book, is a triumph, a perfect novel in my mind. So, letโ€™s remember that all the great writers had to rewrite, so that is part of the process. However, soon I will know that the manuscript will be done to what I want to create. Then we will see. Then I can send it out.

Anyway, back to the theme of courage, my novel looks at the idea that only men are courageous and in this narrative it is clear that women are courageous. In some cases, more courageous than men. But it is not a competition, just to say that women are courageous all over the world and have to deal with many serious threats to their lives and wellbeing. This novel is inspired by these real-life women who have fought and given their lives and shown amazing courage beyond comprehension! They also remind me to be courageous in my novel writing as well, attempting to write about something I have not experienced, within a culture I have not grown up with. Courageous or silly, I donโ€™t know. (Haha)

But be courageous in your writing! Itโ€™s worth it.

I will let you know when I finish the manuscript. Thank you for reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kind regards,

Suzanne

Expressive Writing Therapy Workshop

Hello everyone,

Next weekend I am running an Expressive Writing workshop, it is about writing therapy that provides phenomenal release for people from pain or stress. This workshop will be fun, caring, supportive and enlightening. Come and join our group. Contact me to book in. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kind regards, Suzanne

Date: Saturday April 14

Time: 10-11:30am

Location: Goodlife Community Centre, Buderim

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Suzanne has also published a book about writing therapy, called Freedom Writing. It is available on Amazon in most countries.