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  • R.L. Merrill

The Jinx, Steve, and Write What You Wish You Knew...



Let's talk about getting write-blocked. Like coming into your bedroom haven to get started writing for the evening, turning on your LED candles, dimming the lights, setting up your writing desk, turning on the mood music, leaving to get some water... And returning to find your son has spread all of his homework on your bed so he can groan about what he has to do. Then the dog comes barreling in to bark at a cat outside your window. And a cat climbs on top of your bookcase, knocking shit over. And the phone rings with a message from the kids' schools with reminders about Mariachi clubs. And...and...and...

I came in here with a purpose; to write this blog about writing what you wish you knew, and to introduce you to Steve. Those of you who follow me on Facebook have met Steve. Steve and I met in Grass Valley in February when I attended a #wordsonthepage retreat with fellow San Francisco RWA authors. We visited a super cool store called Cult of Gemini and it was love at first sight. I knew Steve would become the perfect writing partner. He came compete with a tag that shared his likes and dislikes, which has hidden itself away somewhere in my room sadly. Anyhow, Steve has been with me this year through many writing excursions and he's a wonderful muse. Do you have a writing buddy?

I also wanted to talk about Writing What You Wish You Knew. Everyone knows there is some level of research to be done on just about any writing projects you undertake, but that's one of my favorite, if sometimes frustrating, parts of this author-y gig. I am a lifelong learner, something I try to teach my students and my children to be. I see each day as a learning experience, and writing has been a wonderful way for my brain to shake its groove thing. Not only have I taken classes to become a better writer, but I also spend a lot of time researching things about my characters. For example, in my novella Blossomed, my main character Justin Rivers experienced a horrific accident and was left with Broca's Aphasia. I spent hours reading about Traumatic Brain Injury, Aphasia, and treatments available including watching videos of patients relearning how to speak. I watched Gabby Giffords singing as part of her speech therapy and was inspired. I also got to do a lot of research on Great Danes and whelping puppies for that story. The more interesting the research, sometimes the more I love the story. I'm currently working on the follow up to Blossomed (which has yet to be named) and in this story my characters will be meeting in a very unique experience. But I won't tell you anymore. What I CAN tell you is that I've enjoyed creating some of the side characters in this story, namely our heroine's brothers. Now, I am an only child, so this is where the Write What You Wish You Knew comes in.

I have very little experience with brothers other than having a 16 year-old guy move in next door to me just as I started high school. It just so happened that through him I met my husband! But he and his friends TORTURED me for the first two years of high school as I'm sure brothers are supposed to do. But through the stories I create, I get to pretend that I've had that experience and I love to see where it ends up. I use my stories to learn about things I find fascinating, whether it's aspects of the music business, how women survive giving birth to a stillborn child, or all the different ways a Traumatic Brain Injury can effect a person and how they can learn to adapt and survive. I read, I watch, I observe all I can. I've met fantastic people along the way, including a new person teaching me about a new thing that I'll tell you ALL ABOUT once this novella is finished and ready to go out into the world (April 1, 2018!)

I challenge all of you to go out and learn something new! Watch a video and teach yourself how to fix something in your house or a new dish to cook for your family (have fun with that, I don't cook because my family HATES my cooking). Read a book about marketing your new novel. Sign up for a community class or something online. I'm going to take Judy Blume's Master Class on writing next year and I can't WAIT to see what she has to learn us! My point is, if you're an author, don't limit yourself to writing what you know. You can expand yourself so much more if you write about what you wish you knew AND THEN LEARN ABOUT IT! Don't have brothers? Ask a friend, spend some time with a family you know and observe. Never whelp puppies? Talk to your vet, call up your mother in law... These are all things I do as part of research, but they also become part of my journey as a lifelong learner.

Okay, enough preaching, time to get writing. Thanks for listening and let me know something you've always wanted to learn about! Share with me things you'd love to see written about but no authors out there include them in their stories. You can always PM me on Facebook, leave a message here on my website contact page, or email me at rlmerrillauthor@gmail.com.

Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance!

#CultofGemini #novelresearch #lifelonglearner #sanfranciscoareaRWA #GabbyGiffords #traumaticbraininjury #JudyBlume #MasterClass #GreatDane

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