A Writing Journey Series (Part 2)

A writing journey part 2

Part 2: Bringing Your Characters to Life

Pre-registration: September 26, 2022
Registration closes: October 3, 2022 at 11 p.m.
Class begins:  October 3, 2022
Pricing: $367, pre-registration price $317 ($50 discount)


Welcome to Part 2 of A Writing Journey Series – this class is all about Bringing Our Characters to Life.

You are invited to join a growing community of writers who are discovering the hidden secrets of creating great writing. In the process, not only will you learn more about yourself and your emotions, but your stories will also come alive, and you will write fewer drafts and bring joy back to your writing.

In Part 1, we covered our Emotional Center and how to access it with our writing, and now with Part 2 – this 6-week class, we will explore building Characters who will stay in your readers hearts long after they have finished reading the book.

There will be exercises as we build our scaffolding, but these aren’t just writing exercises. Each writer will take his own character, one at a time, and build him/her into something solid and so real that character will withstand the scrutiny of readers everywhere.

Have you ever…

• Found a book that you really, really loved? If so, have you gone back to read it to try and figure out what the writer did that made this book so memorable? You should, it is one of the best “teaching” lessons you can do for yourself.
• Can you name three of your favorite characters and what books they are from? And, then list why you like them? This is not just about what that character did, as much as it is about how the writer created that character and made that character memorable.

In this class, you will discover some simple processes in creating these characters. One thing, we will explore the inner workings of our own emotions, in order to create more human-type characters for the book. So, if you are writing a memoir, we have to open up our emotions to make ourselves believable, and if you are writing novels, that same opening works with our fictional characters.

We cannot write “real” characters in without feeling. And, the fact is, there is no feeling if we have no emotion. And, as we build our character, the environment is a big part of making that character believable.

My Story

I had been working on my writing for years. After earning my BA at Vermont College, I continued writing and working on the craft of writing. Then finally I applied to an MFA program and was accepted at Antioch University Los Angeles.

When I arrived on campus, I was such a novice. I had a completed manuscript in my hands as fragile as it was. I was so proud of myself for finishing it. I can’t even tell you how long I had worked on this, or how many revisions I had done. My professor read it and sent me home to rewrite it, saying it was more like a movie script, and he wanted me to write it as a novel. Whew!

That was the best thing that ever happened to me, thank you Leonard Chang, but I didn’t know it on that day. My heart fell to my feet. I was devastated, but I didn’t quit. Instead, I set out to figure it all out.

I decided to go for a dual concentration, both in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction, and then when I graduated, I stayed another term to get certified as a Creative Writing Instructor. That is what brings me to you today. I have been writing since I was about 14 years old, starting with a teen column in a Nevada newspaper, the Tonopah Times Bonanza, and went on from there, but I had never been taught what I am about to teach you.

My book, Song of the Earth, was/is about the US/Mexican border crisis. I had been living this at the time but had since moved to Missouri to care for my elderly parents and to finish my book there. When I got back to my parents’ home from LA and was trying to figure out how I was going to put this book together, I wrote something about the Border. Just two or three pages, and sent it off to a friend of mine, a Mexican diplomat, in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. I asked him for his opinion, and I certainly got it. He was livid! “Susan, my dear, this isn’t Mexico and the Border, you’ve missed the essence of it all.” And that was when I realized what this was all about. I was standing back, writing about it from a distance.

On that day, I fell off that perch I had considered a safe place to write from, where I could see and document things, but not get involved. I knew if I got too close to it, my emotions would get the best of me. So, I moved up closer, figuratively speaking, and wrote the story from the inside, from my heart. My life and my writing changed forever.

The writer’s struggle that hits so many of us, doesn’t have to be such a struggle. In this class, we will explore the Emotional Center where most of the great writing is ‘unearthed’.

Students will be guided to a deeper level of writing, one that will cut out several rewrites with techniques that will help them get to the meat of the material early on, instead of writing around and around the core of your work.

Remember, readers are smart. They need to be engaged on an emotional level.

The students will find this course filled with new and creative ways to open themselves to a deeper level. Remember: If you write or speak from your head, no one will hear you, but if you write or speak from your heart, the whole world will listen. Also remember, if you unlock the door to your emotions, you will then be writing from your heart.

"Susan Nunn, my editor, challenged me to dig deeper. All because she believed in me and my story and wanted me to be proud of every word. In the process, I began to believe in myself. She helped me tell this story with my heart leading the way. "
Rebecca Powers
Austin, Texas
“Susan does an amazing job of integrating readings, writing, guided imagery, meditations, interviews and group discussion into a deeply creative experience. This class will help you take your writing process to a new level.”
Marianne C.
“Susan Nunn is the kindest, hardest working editor who does so much more. Over Zoom calls, we worked my book page by page for as long as it took until I felt it was ready for publication. Since my book is about fire investigation true crime, Susan asked many questions about specific terms trying to make sure the general reader would understand my passages. She definitely goes above and beyond and is so knowledgeable. In short, Susan is a professional who is a total pleasure to work with. ”
Wayne M. Miller

Here's what you will experience in this course


Opens Oct. 3rd, 2022; First Q&A is scheduled for

The modules are set up for you to work on at your leisure.

Each week, on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. we will have a Q&A on Zoom with a short lecture covering some aspect of what the class is about and then it will be open to Q&A. Three of these time slots will be taken with workshops. These workshops are designed for you to build your characters so bring your characters or your thoughts of characters to class.

The first and the second module open simultaneously.

Our First Module is the Introduction to the Class, helping you get around, what to expect, and getting to know each other. It is a very easy platform to get around in.

This is a short review of Part 1: What Butler calls the Dreamspace, I call our Emotional Center. Where is this center located?

  • Why is it so hard for us to access?
  • How accessing this Emotional Center helps us build well-defined characters and brings our stories to life.
  • Then, how to access our emotional centers, so the characters we write can come alive. When I say come alive, I want each of you to discover the process of creating memorable characters. What a way for your writing to be known, when the reviews come in and they are talking about these awesome characters. Remember the characters are who carry the story forward.

Here we will introduce some memorable fiction characters that have lived in our hearts long after we finished the book. Name the book, the author and how that author instilled that character in your heart and memory.

Be sure to bring your favorite characters to class as well and tell us what the author did to bring them so alive in your heart.

This comes live on October 10, 2022 and on October 13th, we will have our second Q&A on Zoom.

In this module we will discuss How Science Connects the Heart, the Head and the Emotional Center. 

I have taught, in the past, that we need to get out of our heads, set them aside, so we can speak or write from a deeper space, so, why do we say, get out of our heads? What does this have to do with character development? You will see.
Let’s look at what Science says about our hearts. I’m not a scientist but am intrigued by their findings.

Gregg Braden says, “When we get a thought, we can only invite that thought into our lives when we breathe the power of emotion into it. If we don’t bring emotion into the thought, it is meaningless.”
Now, let’s start working on our characters. Next week we will be having our first workshop (instead of the Q&A). We will begin building the foundation of our characters. So, start thinking along those lines, but don’t put anything in like it is made of stone. This is just thinking about it this week.

This module opens on Oct. 17th. And, this is our first workshop (held during the Q&A timeslot) on Oct. 20th. Bring your Characters to class. We will be Building Our Character’s Foundation. At the end of our text in this module, please add: Like in each of us, it is sometimes hard to show emotion. It is the same with our characters. Still there is more to add. We want real characters. You will have downloadable forms to guide you in your foundation building.

Every character must have yearning. Robert Olin Butler says in his book, From Where You Dream, that fiction writers know two things for sure. That fiction is about human beings; that fiction is about human emotion, but what the two things they miss are (1) they always tell about emotion, but never bring emotion into the story and (2) that fiction is, inescapably, the art form of human yearning or you could use the word DESIRE.

Emotions and feelings, and how they affect our writing. Without emotion, we have no feeling. This is a huge problem with writing. The same goes with character development. These characters have got to experience emotion.

Our thoughts respond to the emotion we unleash on them, this creates feeling. If we apply this process to our characters, we can now see how our one-sided character can become whole and alive. Remember, readers are smart, and if we don’t draw them in with our writing and our ability to build awesome characters, then they will not continue to read.

Like in each of us, it is sometimes hard to show emotion. It is the same with our characters. Still there is more to add. We want real characters.

Starts on October 24th, 2022 and the 4th Q&A timeslot, which is actually the 2nd workshop, will be held on Nov. 3rd, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. Here we will be adding the Scaffolding of our Character. Remember, just like humans, or huge dams, everything has to be built from the ground up in order to build something sustainable. So last week we worked on the foundation.

This is our Scaffolding week.We will first work an exercise with the Glorious Onion and then we will be welcoming back our delightful fictional character, Sensei, who will be with us as I introduce you to a different practice. He cannot understand a word we say unless we are speaking or writing from our deepest emotional center. I call the practice “The Old Shed”. If you are writing memoir, you will be the character in question, but if you are writing a novel, you will visualize your character as the one visiting The Old Shed.

This opens on Oct. 31st , 2022. And, it will be the 5th Q&A (but actually it will be our 3rd workshop and will be held on November 3rd.

This will be our third and final workshop. We will be adding Awareness and personality (all of which comes forth to the reader, some of which we have built in earlier).

I am asking each of you to go through the Leaning Into Silence class before this final workshop. It is free to each of you who are enrolled, and I will send each an invitation to the class.

We are building Awareness – here we are going to use that technique to understand awareness, through hearing and listening. As writers we have to learn to “listen” to our characters and we have to build that same instinct into the characters. Then we will finish our creations!

This class opens on November 7th. Our final Q&A will be held on Thursday, November 10th at 10:00 a.m.

This module is the last of the class and it will be our last Q&A on Thursday. Let’s look at “who” we created. Tweak them if you feel it necessary. And, we will make sure this character is the one we want to present to our readers. Let’s look at the “Power of Awareness” through our characters’ eyes.

Remember, we don’t want just one-sided characters who feed into your plan, the box that you want them to fall into. We want our characters alive and by doing so, they may end up taking your story in a completely different direction than you had imagined. It may be fun to look at the story through their eyes.

First, we will write about our experiences with Sensei. How his inability to understand a word we say if it isn’t spoken or written from deep in our emotional center affected the way you looked at things. This causes us to be aware and to dig deeper into ourselves for the emotion that creates feeling, then we can build this into our character.

Using the same tool, we will then explore hearing and listening and give ourselves time to write about it, both from the writer’s pov, then from the character’s pov.

What Others Are Saying

Over and over again, Susan has demonstrated wisdom, patience, and creativity in her guidance of me during my entire writing practice. She always waited patiently and guided me at just the right moment, always understanding and respecting my writing style, my needs, and my goals. I’m very grateful I found her.
Pam Verner
Susan was so great to work with, knowledgeable, warm, kind, helpful and a lot of fun. She is great at steering an author in the right direction and offering sound advice while holding space for the writer’s creativity to shine forth.
Terra Lynn Joy
Susan is the one who gave me the final push I needed to make my dream of publishing my poetry collection a reality. She is a master of editing and publishing services and is incredibly dedicated to her craft – spending hours bringing your manuscript to life and ready to share with the world.
Grace Gegenheimer
Partnering with Susan to publish, The View from my Chair, was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Susan is an expert editor. She is also blessed with patience, the gift of encouragement and the stamina to go the distance on any project. Because Susan was willing to share her gifts and talents with me, the book we published is more than I could have ever imagined.
Judith Stein

It's more than a course, it's a community

My Goal

To see each of you write from deep in your emotional center, have it be the best you can do, and to be published. I hope that each of you have the same goals. And I am here to guide you each step of the way.

You will be welcomed into a like-minded, intimate group, all working towards one goal, that of making our writing the best it can be. This group, a mixture of three classes, all a part of A Writing Journey, Parts 1, 2, and 3 will stay active and attendees of each class (Parts 1, 2, and 3) will be able to join in as we go through the year, and move forward into the next year.

It will be set up as a Private Facebook Group, so you know your writing and your information will be safe. When I notice there are questions that need to be answered for all, not just the one asking, I will do Facebook Live to answer these questions.

All gatherings will be recorded so no one will miss anything.

  • 6 – Week Course, Hybrid Style: Online Classes to Work Through at your Leisure)
  • Several LIVE Lectures (All recorded for your convenience)
  • 6 – Weekly LIVE interactive group coaching sessions and Q&A (Recorded for your convenience)
  • 6 Short training videos (one for each session.)
  • Practices and Reflection Questions for each course session
  • Access to our private and interactive course website
  • Special Bonuses to add to your course experience  


For those who sign up during the 4-week pre-registration period, you will receive:


Leaning Into Silence – Building Unforgettable Scenes – (designed so you can take it at your leisure.) A simple but priceless technique.


BONUS #2: Upon finishing the class, you will receive three months FREE of our: 


This class meets weekly and is designed to help each of you finish your writing. If you want to continue beyond these free three (3) months, there will be a nominal monthly fee. 

$200 Value – FREE

If you sign up during the pre-registration period, the price includes THE BONUSES LISTED ABOVE DESIGNED ESPECIALLY FOR YOU.

We offer a 2-week money-back guarantee. 

That allows you time to get into the first three modules, and if this isn’t working for you, I am happy to return your funds. I am available throughout the program to answer your questions and help you through any issues. My goal is to teach the best possible techniques available and to bring JOY back into our writing.

If you have any questions, please email me:


Let’s look at this for a minute. Have you just finished reading a book, and as you close the book, you are thinking about the main character, but just a few hours later, that character has disappeared from your thoughts? You can’t remember his name or why you thought you liked him. If you have read a book you love, and can’t remember the main character, maybe a couple of years later, then the writer has failed that character. There is no doubt about it.

In this class, we will be building characters, including their moral compass. Many of the characters we see only have one side to them, the other side is never exposed. Characters like people have layers upon layers within them. It is like peeling an onion back to expose not just their past, but “what makes them tick to start with”. Look at this blooming onion, and just know how much there is to build that character from. The character might be a real badass, but is there a light deep within that may save him? Can you dig down and find it? What made your character so cold and unlikable? There is just so much. Think how people change through the years, your characters can change too, but it is a process, not just the flip of a switch.

When I was writing my novel, I put Jessie and Clay each on a barstool in my writing space. As I wrote I watched the reactions I felt they would have, to see if they were real. I spent a lot of time with those two and felt I knew them inside out and upside down and backward.

Think for a moment: Many of us have played with or watched our little siblings playing with paper dolls somewhere back in our past. The child envisioned that doll coming to life, and if you asked her, she would tell you all about her, but to us, she was just a paper doll. Those paper dolls are the perfect example. They are flat, just like so many of the characters in the books we read or in the book we are writing. The children have given them an entire life. They know where they are shopping, they have decided how to do their hair, who the boyfriend/girlfriend might be, it goes on forever. And, when they put them away, the personality the child has built into that paper doll does not disappear. When they get them out again, it continues from where it left off and the personality grows as the child grows. These changes can guide your story (if you are listening) into places you never imagined. And, just as they come alive, their environment comes alive as well.

This class will be inspiring to say the least. It will change the way you think about your characters…. and how you bring your characters onto the page.