I want to be a writer …

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If you want to be a writer, you must first be a reader.

It is by reading that an aspiring writer will learn the cadence of words and how they kiss her heart. When the words touch you so much you want to cry, study them to find out why they have that effect on you. Is it the order in which they are put together? Are they good strong words that evoke an image or a feeling deep inside you stirring your emotions?

Is the author using strong action verbs and concrete nouns to get her message across? Perhaps she is using short sentences that make you feel breathless because you are caught up in the suspense of the story? Short sentences quicken the pace, while long lilting sentences slow the pace. There’s a place for both.

I like it when my heart races in an emotional scene. I am caught up in the feelings, the imagery, the sounds and less often the taste, as the characters are interacting with each other. An author draws her reader in when she engages the senses, putting the reader in the shoes of the character.

When the characters are speaking, do you feel you are there with them, watching the body language, hearing the rhythm of the words, feeling the characters emotions and wanting to go in and bat for one of the characters? The author has done her job if you can be drawn in to the scene and carried along with the action. Take note of how the author uses the words to create tension between the characters.

Words are the tools the writer uses to create characters, scenes, setting and atmosphere. Study the words and understand why the author uses those words and the effect they have on the scene. Try and substitute a word you might use and see how the writing changes.

Every writer has their own bag of words they use to create their stories, and you will have your own cache of different words. The words you choose, when combined in your unique way, and with much writing practice, will become your unique voice and style that others will want to study and understand.

Studying another writer’s work is important to understand why you choose your own words, however to copy another’s style does you no favours. The style will come across as choppy and not ringing true to your voice. Try not to fall into copying another’s style. Be your authentic self, choosing words that you would use, and you won’t go too far off the track as you transition from reader to author.

I’d love to hear what you love in your reading, and if you are an aspiring author, who has inspired you to pick up a pen and start writing? Thank you for leaving your comments below.

Smashwords Special Offer - 50% off

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July is a great month to read!

If you live in the northern hemisphere, the long lazy days of summer are with you. Fill those daylight hours with a good read.

If you live in the southern hemisphere, the short days of winter send you indoors to curl up and lose yourself with a good book.

Whichever hemisphere you live in, take some time out to read this July. At Smashwords, my books are 50% off for the month of July. Secure your copies now at https://www.smashwords.com.

Happy reading! I’d love to hear from you, so leave me a message after you have read my books.

African Hearts

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - © Noela Cowell 2019

Story Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia - © Noela Cowell 2019

It’s been some time since I wrote a blog. In fact, it’s been three years. A lot has happened for me during the three years and I just want to share with you what I have been doing. I have moved house twice. Yes, I am still living a fluid lifestyle, allowing the wind to blow me around like a dandelion flower seed.

I moved to the gorgeous country town of Maleny, where I worked for an accountant, and wrote and learned to paint on the weekends. Unfortunately, I felt extremely isolated in that environment. I missed the city buzz. A lot of people can’t believe I left the country to return to the city. Everyone has their special place.

I came to Brisbane, right in the middle of the city. Immediately, I felt as if I had come home. I worked for an accountant again for a year and then realised I needed to get back to my writing. Since writing Kate’s choice I felt as though I was blocked creatively. I have been called to write, that’s a no-brainer, but doors opened for my technical skills, helping other writers revise and edit their writing for ebooks. So I started my coaching and editing business to dovetail with writing fiction.

This decision has unblocked the creative juices and I am again back to writing. These two years have involved a lot of soul searching and digging deep to find the person I am. There were times when I was lost, alone and confused. Why was I in this position? I was undergoing transformation and I didn’t know it. All I knew was that I was lost, and unsure of where to turn to next. I have come through the fire and have renewed enthusiasm and commitment for my future writing life.

So what’s next? I am settled, for the moment, here in the heart of Brisbane, until the wind picks up and wants to take me elsewhere. This stability for the moment means I am writing the sequel to African Hearts and I am loving it. This is Justin and Kizza’s story. They are off to university to study medicine so they can return to Gumboli and help Kam in the hospital. Living in Australia in Gold Coast in Aunt Gina’s apartment is not easy for them. They are tempted by the fun and easy lifestyle of the Gold Coast. Will they be able to handle the temptations put before them and the influences of the young people who have grown up in Australia? For those of you who have read African Hearts, you will be aware Justin and Kizza are orphans. Each of them struggle with their identity. Justin more than Kizza.

Our identity is important to us. Identity assures us of our existence, who our parents and grandparents are and where we got our hair colour, eye colour and body shape, what diseases run in our genes and the different parts of our character can be traced back to our forefathers. Identity is important to all of us.

Identity for Justin is important because his father was Marco, Gina’s brother who was of Italian descent. Marco married Ella who was German, so Justin’s identity is mixed up with Italian, German and Australian cultures. it’s no surprise Justin is confused about his heritage.

Identity for Kizza is different. She was born in Uganda of indigenous parents, so naturally her skin is dark. She was raised by elders of the village, Moses and Lulu, but who is Kizza really? What’s her identity? Who were her parents? Where did they live? Who were her grandparents? Kizza doesn’t know. She was raised in the culture of her parents, but still she has no identity as to who her parents were.

I’d like to refer to the movie, Lion, about the Indian boy who got separated from his brother and got on a train in the hope he would find his way home. Saroo was his name. This little boy, having grown up in a poor area of India had survival skills. He was lucky, he found his way to an orphanage and from there he was adopted by a couple in Melbourne where he lived with a loving family until adulthood. But Saroo knew he had another life, and he hungered to know where he came from. He spent twenty-five years searching, first for his mother. By searching in his free time with the help of Google maps he was able to finally reconnect with his mother. To date he is still searching for his father. Saroo is tenacious, he will find his father, I hope sooner rather than later.

Justin and Kizza’s parents are dead. How will they find out the important information about their genetic make up? The African Hearts sequel is about the search for identity. Are you comfortable with your identity, or are you searching for answers? Have you completed your search to find who you are? Did finding the answers help you to understand yourself? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a message.