Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Quick Take: Write from emotion and imagination

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jun• 11•17

Below me the Pacific is roaring into shore in shades of silver and indigo and white, gulls are whining and whirling in a pale sky, the air cool and deep ocean perfumed. I’ve left the Portland area for a few days to escape the pollen zone and spend time with my family. My headaches are gone and my vision no longer bleary. This day:  Laughter, jigsaw puzzle, sand, potato chips, a seascape rich and dazzling and Barbies scattered across the living room floor. A pigeon is building a nest in the corner of the balcony and kites are aloft in the wind.

And speaking of potato chips: I cannot stop turning the pages of Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It’s the first in his series about Miriam Black, and it’s a dark, wild ride. The kind where every character is in danger and I’m deliciously nervous.

Years ago I came across this advice from Sandra Brown that I need to pass along because sometimes we need to smash down writing myths. I’ve been pummeling this tired chestnut for years.: “The worst piece of advice I was ever given was to write about what I know. I took stock of what I knew and, from a creative standpoint, none of it was very stimulating. Nor did it have much potential for being engaging and entertaining to a reading audience. I have no personal knowledge of, or experience with, paramilitary hate groups, or heart transplantation, or escapees from a maximum security prisons, or what it’s like to be profoundly deaf. But I’ve written about all these topics, and the books became bestsellers.
I figure that if something interests me, there’s a reasonably good chance that it’s going to interest the reader, too. As I approach the keyboard each day, I remind myself to have a good time—as good a time as one can have doing the hardest work there is.”

 

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2 Comments

  1. ellen says:

    Awesome reminder. Enjoy the coast!

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Thanks for reading. It was a sweet little getaway. Love the air and the endlessness of the ocean….so restorative.

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