Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jan• 23•14

“When I start I have a pretty well developed idea what the book is about and how it ought to go, because generally I’ve been thinking about it and making notes for months if not years. Generally I have the ending in mind, usually the last paragraph almost verbatim. I begin at the beginning and stay close to the track, if it’s a track and not a whalepath. If it turns out I’m in the open sea, my compass is my narrative instinct, with an assist by that astrolabe, theme. The destination, where it is, is as I said, already defined. If I go astray it’s not a long excursus, good for getting to know the ocean if not the world. The original idea, altered but recognizable, on the whole remains.” Bernard Malamud

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