WORK WITH SUZETTE IN PERSON IN 2023!!

Your Story Matters

What to Do with Your Darlings, aka Your Writing Leftovers

After Thanksgiving Day, my fridge is always teeming with leftovers, which, in my opinion, is one of the best parts of the season!

Constructing the perfect meal—or bite—from what didn't get eaten in the first place.

Often, that leftover meal or bite is even tastier than the original, don't you think?

It's not that different for writing.

Sometimes you hear these leftovers—those leftover precious phrases, scenes, and chapters you’ve lovingly crafted but that no longer serve your story—referred to as "darlings."

“Kill your darlings” has been a favorite phrase of writers for over a century. In his 1916 book On the Art of Writing, British writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch wrote:

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

While I prefer to use less violent language to describe...

Continue Reading...

5 Tips to a Successful NANOWRIMO for Memoir Writers

Last week I wrote about how National Novel Writing Month 2012 (NANOWRIMO) changed my life.

It can change yours too!

No, I didn't write a novel or a memoir in 30 days—in fact I ended up with a tangle of 50,000 words that were largely a stream of consciousness (see below for how you can avoid the same).

But I did develop the habit of putting my butt in the chair and writing—which is the big difference between wannabe writers from real writers.

Most of the LGBTQ+ folx & allies I work with have never written a book before, let alone taken on the challenge of writing a memoir.

NANOWRIMO is a great place to start.

Here's how you can have a successful NANOWRIMO & end up with 50,000 words that you can shape into a meaningful manuscript.

Step 1: Block Out Time

Block out time on your calendar every day to write and set a daily goal. 50,000 words divided by 30=1,667 words a day. The equivalent of 6 to 7 pages double-spaced every day.

If you know...

Continue Reading...

Two Ways to Handle Rejection for Writers

In 1978, I was a high school senior and an exchange student living in Knutsford England, and I wrote a personal essay for my hometown paper about my study abroad experience.

My first byline!

But it wasn’t until the Southampton Writers Conference in 2013, when I took the plunge and applied for Mary Karr’s memoir workshop that I finally—publicly—declared “I’m a writer.”

It took me 35 years after that first byline to COME OUT as a writer.

They don't call me a late-in-lifer for nothing!

When I soaked in Mary Karr’s wisdom as I sat around the table with 12 other writers, many of whom were much more accomplished than me, I realized how much I didn’t know AND I knew that I was in the right place.

The learning curve would be steep and I would get there someday. And someday has happened.

My coming out later-in-life memoir GRAVEYARD OF SAFE CHOICES will be published in Fall 2023.

More details to come! 

Now that I work with...

Continue Reading...

5 Tips for Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster of Writing a Book

You know the roller coaster I’m talking about right?

I wrote about how I felt riding the low point on the emotional roller coaster last week as the high from landing my book deal wore off and the work I have to do on my book—plus life—hit hard.

My clients hit some lows too:

  • "How can I draft a book proposal if I don't even know what my title is yet?"

  • "I'm overwhelmed so I'm not doing anything."

  • "How do YOU make time for writing?"

Here's what I told my writers & myself:

  1. The roller coaster is normal.

The Serenity Prayer that is often shared in 12 Step Meetings is a great guide for writers, even if you never intend to darken the door of a church: 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Accept the fact that the roller coaster will happen. Don't beat yourself up when it does. 

  1. Life happens and it's okay to take a break. 

You...

Continue Reading...
Close

Just fill out the details below and you'll be good to go. Please note, your information is safe with me, and welcome!