Gemma-Rose (9) Talks about Novel Writing

The other evening Gemma-Rose asked me if I’d like to listen
to another chapter of the NaNoWriMo novel she is currently writing. I settled back on the sofa. She opened her
computer and started reading. 
“Do you like writing novels?” I asked, when she came to the end of the chapter.
“Oh, yes!”
We talked novel writing for a while and then I said, “How about
I interview you? I could make a video of you talking about novel writing.”
“Oh, yes!”
So yesterday afternoon, I got out the camera and set up the tripod,
and we had a chat about novel writing. And this is what I found out…
Gemma-Rose thinks…
  • Anyone can write a novel. She wrote her first novel when she was 7.
  • All you need is some inspiration, which isn’t a problem because…
  • …  if you read a lot of books you’ll have lots of writing
  • The best way to learn to spell is by writing.
  • Drawing characters and maps helps work out the plot.
  • Novel writing isn’t easy but it’s a lot of fun, so it’s
    worth doing.
  • Novel writing is enjoyable because you get to play with words, and invent characters and plots.
  • Younger people are inspired by what older people are doing. They like to follow the example of older siblings and parents.
  • And when you write novels you can read them out loud and share them, or listen to other people’s novels, and that is the best bit of all.

I divided Gemma-Rose’s interview into two parts. In the
first part we discuss novel writing in general, and her novel in particular.
The second part consists of Gemma-Rose reading the first chapter of her novel
out loud. She wants to put this video on her blog but I thought I would share it here too.
I hope you enjoy…

Gemma-Rose Talks about Novel Writing

Gemma-Rose Reads Rowan and the Forbidden Forest

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  1. Reply

    FABULOUS!! Gemma-Rose, you are an excellent writer….. are you sure you're only 9??!

    Sue, it was wonderful to hear both of you. Gemma-Rose has a beautiful imagination and she's a good story-teller. Her language… the words and phrases she uses… strike me as quite advanced for her age. I can tell she has read (and had read to her) lots of books. Amazing!

    I am planning to show this to my 7 year old granddaughter, who has loved to make up stories ever since she started talking. I think getting started on a novel might be our next project together (we love "doing projects together"). You are truly an inspiration.

    1. Reply


      Gemma-Rose tells me she is definitely nine! I sometimes forget my children's ages. I forget my own too. Most of the time I think I'm a lot younger than I actually am!

      It seems that the key to good writing is reading. As a child, I can remember wanting to write books just like my favourite ones. I think younger children have a great advantage. They are always running, trying to keep up with their older siblings. And no one tells them they aren't capable of doing it.

      I can just imagine you and your granddaughter 'doing projects together'. Oh yes! Help her write down all her wonderful stories. One day she just might be an author like you!

  2. Reply

    Wow! This is wonderful! Gemma-Rose is so precious, and so well-spoken. And..I can't wait to read her novel. It has all the elements of a great story. What is "justice cliff?" Sounds like that could be a rather dangerous place…for the unjust? I love the maps and drawings of the characters. If Gemma-Rose can write this well at nine, she should be a famous author by the time she's twenty-nine! Maybe another Jane Austen…but with delightful kingdoms and forests for her characters to play in. Gemma-Rose, you are awesome!

    Sue…I hope you novel is half as good 🙂 I haven't read any of it yet, but will asap. Of course, you could always read it on a video….lol ! I'm beginning to think none of you really live in Australia…Hah! I'm trying to figure out these accents. Gemma-Rose sounds rather British…something like Imogen. Sue, you have a very unique accent. It reminds me of someone else, but I can't recall who at the moment. You don't quite sound as British as your girls. You are very soft-spoken, which is nice. You also sound very kind and patient, but then I already knew that. I enjoyed this very much. Thanks for sharing…so precious. Hugs to all of you novelists!

    1. Reply


      I am beginning to think my daughters are going to out-write me. I can't keep up with them. Sophie has almost finished her novel. She has written well over 40 000 words already. ALL children are amazing. I think they just need lots of encouragement, an example to follow, and some people to share with.

      Gemma-Rose suggested I draw all my characters too. I told her I can't draw. She replied, "You'll get better if you practise, Mum." She is quite right!

      We were talking about accents after your comment. Imogen said she and Charlotte aren't allowed to have Australian accents. They are classical singers and their teacher won't let them pronounce their words with an accent. She is very fussy! But there's definitely a British influence there, stronger for some kids than others. Me? I'm all mixed up, I suppose. I sound like…. me!

      I shall pass the hugs onto all the novelists. Thank you for watching our latest video. We enjoyed sharing it with you!

  3. Reply

    Wow! Gemma-Rose is such an advanced writer for a 9 year old! There is no way on earth I could write that well at her age! Her story sounds lovely! I really wanted to know what happened next!
    I love the tone of both your voices, so sweet, soft, innocent and twinge of an English accent! Reminded me of your sister Vicki's voice!
    Keep on writing Gemma-Rose! In fact I am writing a novel of my own called Ripples of the Wind.

    God Bless

    1. Reply


      Gemma-Rose is much better at writing than I was when I was nine! She copies the older girls. I think her story is very good. Gemma-Rose is reading it to me a chapter at a time. She always ends a chapter at an exciting moment. Yes, I wonder what is going to happen next too.

      Are you writing your novel for NaNoWriMo? What is it about? I like the title! Perhaps when you create your blog, you can post some of your novel so we can read it.

      Thank you for watching our video!

    2. Reply


      No I am not writing my novel for NaNoWriMo, my novel is just like a practice if I ever do NaNoWriMo, which I am thinking about next year, because it looks fun! Plus I love to write!

      Ripples of the Wind is a Fictional, Fantasy, Adventure kind of novel, similar to Gemma-Rose's.
      Like Gemma-Rose, my favorite genre is fantasy. It is about a brother and sister called Jack (14) and Rebecca (13), who have just moved with their parents and maid, to this very old, very big, very mysterious house. Rebecca isn't too enthusiastic about the move because she misses her old friends, but Jack is bubbling with excitement and is eager to explore the house. Rebecca later on finds some very peculiar things going on in the house, but nothing could have prepared her for what crazy adventure she and Jack were going have.
      I won't spoil the whole for you in fact I have I have a lot more to write, but when I eventually set up a blog, I will be sure to post some of the story!

      God Bless

    3. Reply


      I love the sound of a 'very old, very big, very mysterious house'. I like the sound of a maid too! I can see you enjoy writing stories. Next year you will be able to do the adults' version of NaNoWriMo. Sophie will be able to do it too. She can't wait!

      I'm looking forward to reading some of your novel. God bless!

  4. Oh what a delightful way to end my day! I absolutely adore Gemma-Rose's story. She writes amazingly well! Such great vocabulary, descriptions, dialogue and action (lots of "showing not telling"). I especially liked the description of Miles the first time we meet him.
    What a credit to you, Sue, to unschooling, and of course Gemma-Rose's hard work!
    My children are doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. Their word count goals are rather more modest than your family's – 2,000 words for C(9) and 1,500 for J(8). I am very proud of them. J(8) in particular has astonished me. As far as I know he has never written more than a few lines of comic strip before, but every day he types wonderful language into the computer using his own spelling. After each writing session he hands me his computer and asks to correct his spelling, which is very easy to do – I can always work out what he means. Because of his difficulties reading, he mostly listens to audiobooks, and this shows in his lack of any punctuation! But he has asked me to sit down with him at some point and help him put some in.
    It is so interesting hearing people's voices for the first time when you have read their words so often. I am very much enjoying getting to know your family a little better in these videos. Thank you all!

    1. Reply


      I can't really take the credit for Gemma-Rose's writing abilities. I don't remember teaching her anything about writing! She just listened to our stories, I read to her and she reads a lot of books to herself. NaNoWriMo has been good. Writing novels is 'real work'. I think kids like the challenge of real work. As Gemma-Rose said, novel writing isn't easy but it's lots of fun. Kids aren't afraid of working hard if they are enjoying what they do.

      Thank you for listening to Gemma-Rose's story. I felt really inadequate after she read it out loud to me. I went away and pondered my own words. Hers seemed so much more lively!

      Oh I am so pleased to hear your children are doing NaNoWriMo too and enjoying the experience. Their word goals are also impressive. Gemma-Rose only wrote a couple of thousand words when she first did NaNo. She's been encouraged to do more because she wants to keep up with her sisters. Older siblings are a great motivator!

      J's story reminds me of a post I have in draft form. It is about my eldest son's writing. When he was J' s age or just a little younger, he spent hours on the typewriter composing fantastic stories in his own form of English! We have often discussed spelling, and have come to the conclusion it's not really that important. Someone can have perfect spelling and have nothing to write about. Another person can be bursting with words, wanting to share them all, but will not spell them properly. A lively imagination is a much better gift for a writer than technical skills.

      I wonder if you'll be hearing my real voice in your head when you read my posts, now that you've watched our video! It' funny how we imagine how someone sounds and usually we end up being totally wrong. I think you'd have a gentle voice. Perhaps you could make a video one day!

  5. Reply

    Soooo cute!! Yes, the story sounds very lively! Well done, Gemma-Rose!! I think children just have an open approach which can make things flow easier, especially when they aren't shaped from bad experience.
    You sound very friendly, Sue. It's funny but some how I expected your voice to be lower and was suprised your voice was so high 🙂

    1. Reply


      Gemma-Rose will be so pleased you shared her story. Thank you!

      It's funny how no one ever sounds like we expect them to. I have a high speaking voice but unfortunately I missed out on a lovely soprano voice like that of a couple of my daughters. I just can't reach those high notes! Now I have been brave enough to do a speaking video, I might do some more! Making videos is a lot of fun.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  6. Reply

    Fabulous Gemma-Rose! Thank you for sharing your story and knowledge of writing with us, my 3 girls really enjoyed hearing your story.
    Sue, you sound so young!

    1. Reply


      Thank you for sharing our video!

      It would be nice if I looked as young as I sound! Voices mustn't age like skin. Quite often when I answer the phone the caller says, "Can I speak to Mummy please?" So I try not to answer the phone which isn't difficult as all the girls race to answer it!

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