“I love fantasy, and I love Japan.” For this award-winning novelist, inspiration is everywhere

Bexx Matthews’ novel-in-progress, The Girl With White Hair.

For someone who likes to daydream so much, Bexx Matthews sure gets a lot done.

Case in point: when Bexx was just seven years old, she penned her first trilogy. Inspired by the personality quirks of her family’s three Rottweiler puppies, the stories she wrote made her realize that the only thing she liked more than daydreaming and imagining, was writing it all down.

More recent case in point: In October, Bexx cranked out 10,000 words in the ChapterBuzz 10K Social Writing Challenge—and won.

The Challenge, for the uninitiated, is a month-long writing marathon where novelists qualify for top awards by writing at least 10,000 words. (Incidentally, the next Challenge starts March 1st. You can—and should—join us! Learn more and get updates here)

But almost as impressive as her win was the dramatic fashion in which she completed the Challenge. “I’d written for hours on the last night, trying to hit that 10,000-word mark,” Bexx recalls. “I was so happy that I managed to get through and finish.”

Her hard work paid off. Bexx took home the Most Buzz Award, meaning that she attracted the most readers for her novel-in-progress, The Girl with White Hair, which tells the story of Tsukiko, the youngest girl in a long line of Japanese hunter/warriors, who seeks revenge against the Emperor for an attack on her clan. With such an exciting premise, it’s no wonder the book swiftly soared into the site’s Top 20.

The stories she wrote made her realize that the only thing she liked more than daydreaming and imagining, was writing it all down.

Now that The Girl with White Hair is officially an award-winning novel, will it be published anytime soon? Between university classes, learning to speak Japanese, and of course, long bouts of daydreaming, Bexx has a lot on her plate. But she still plans to finish her manuscript by September—so I’ll take that as a yes!

From filling up her workbook during class writing sessions in primary school (“I just couldn’t stop the words”) to her current focus on strong character development (“Characters live and grow alongside the person writing”) to how The Girl with White Hair is continually challenging her (“It’s a bit out of my comfort zone”), Bexx’s writing journey has led to plenty of personal and professional growth over the years.

But that journey hasn’t been without storm clouds. “I’ve had my fair share of struggles,” she reveals, “including a particularly bad episode of depression. I’ve had times where I hated everything I put on paper, and wondered if writing was something that I actually enjoyed.”

Fortunately, she managed to pull herself out of her funk by writing poetry and fan fiction. “I started a blog and gave myself no obligation to write on a daily basis,” she explains, instead writing only occasionally about “the little things that I really appreciated.”

Then, inspiration struck. “I love fantasy, and I love Japan,” she says. For The Girl with White Hair, “the initial idea was to have fun in a Japan-inspired fictional world. It’s totally different than what I would usually write.”

“Why should a chapter be tedious to write? Why shouldn’t every page be bursting with your own individual voice?”
—Bexx Matthews

Any advice for aspiring novelists?

“I feel as though anyone who has ever considered writing as a career has gone through this stage where they just become so focused on being a writer to prove to themselves that they have what it takes, and in the process, forget to enjoy themselves,” Bexx says. “Why should a chapter be tedious to write? Why shouldn’t every page be bursting with your own individual voice?”

I couldn’t agree more. Writing is to be enjoyed, and of course, it’s even more enjoyable when that hard work is rewarded.

“The morning I opened the e-mail informing me The Girl with White Hair had won the Most Buzz Award, I was half asleep and squinting to read the screen. There was this pause where I processed it, followed by the biggest flood of relief and sense of achievement.”

“Writing this novel,” she hastens to add, “really is a dream come true.”

Congratulations again on all your hard work, Bexx. Or as they’d say in Japan, omedeto gozaimasu!

Want to be an inspiration to other writers? Share this story on Facebook! You’ll also be supporting Bexx’s burgeoning career. Simply use the “Share this” buttons below, and while you’re at it, we’d love to hear your comments.

I’m Timothy Pike, book publisher and editor-in-chief of What Inspires Your Writing? I love discovering talented, up-and-coming writers from our community, and featuring them here. Get involved in our ChapterBuzz community, and the next article may just be about you!

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