Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

What’s Up Wednesday


WUWWreath2What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk that allows us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up.


I finished CHARM & STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn and I figured out the truth fairly soon into it, which made it even more heartbreaking. So good.


Still chopping filler words and cleaning things up with JULES. I’m slowly, but steadily making progress. Cutting filler always reminds me: HOLY CRAP, I AM SO WORDY.

My progress (in my goal of cutting 5,000 words): 3,053!


I love TV. As in, I could watch for hours and never get tired of it. The more drama-filled and angst-ridden, the better (here’s looking at you, American soaps and South Korean dramas).

Yes, these shows can be over-the-top – kidnappings, excessive weeping, fist fights, evil twins, returning from the dead, etc.


Turn on any random episode and you get sucked in, at least for a few minutes. And that’s because of compelling characters, tension, pacing, and stakes. All of which are important to writing.

That’s right, I watch TV to help me with my writing.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to leave the audience wanting more.

Example: The Vampire Diaries always ends with cliffhanger goodness. It kept me tuning in until my brain exploded in confusion over the million and one doppelgangers.

I try to end my chapters with the same sort of POW. Even without vampire brothers battling to the death (deathier death?), the small moments can make people want to turn the page. End the chapter with your MC agreeing to go somewhere ALONE with her bad boy love interest or when your MC realizes he’s being followed.

So, yeah…TV and writing. Connected!


Watching my lil’ bro in another play, this one at his college. It was a “night of comedy” and fun to watch.

Celebrating the one year anniversary of the day these two were adopted from the shelter:


Taking walks (when I’m not watching TV 🙂 ). While it was freezing in so much of the U.S. this week, Virginia’s weather was glorious. Don’t worry, the cold is scheduled to show up tomorrow, so no more bragging from me.




Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

31 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. Aww, I love the picture of your cats!

  2. I know what you mean about filler words – I cut several thousand from my last manuscript! Amazing how we can be oblivious to it when drafting!

  3. Walks are something I love to do too. I find it really helps me brainstorm. Love the pictures of your cats and I too enjoyed Charm & Strange. I liked Stephanie’s book 2 even better. Have you read that one?

  4. Oh geez, I’m laughing so hard at your descriptions of the Vampire Diaries. So true. I agree with what you said about TV. I love stories in all their many forms and there’s much to be learned from a good TV show (or even a bad one). Shows like The Good Wife amaze me with the caliber of writing and how they manage to keep things fresh and hook in the audience. Have fun with all that word chopping! I’m usually in the same wordy boat! Also, love the cat pic! Adorable! 🙂

  5. “Deathier death” bahahaha…yes! I find a lot of inspiration in TV shows and movies myself. I could watch hours of TV, which is probably terrible. Netflix and the whole binge-watching thing really does make that way too easy. Sounds like you’re trucking along at a steady pace with JULES. That’s awesome! I’m wordier than wordy myself, so I get the need to thin out the filler. Have a great week, Jennifer! 😀

    P.S. I ended up doing a WUW post after all. Sub shift cancelled lol.

  6. Nice cat photo 😉

    Chop those words, chop them!!!!

    Have a great week ^_^

  7. Hah! “Deathier Death” I love your sense of humor. I think I snort-laughed when I read that.

    And wait, we get to count TV as book research?!!! (“Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!”) Way too much Netflix going on at our house right now. But I really need to work on pacing and cliffhangers in my writing so I’m going to take your advice and watch mawr.

    Happy one year anniversary to your fur babies. One of those bellies needs scratching STAT.
    Hint: It’s the one on the right.

    And I’m super impressed with your JULES progress. Plugging away at those final tweaks is so necessary, but sometimes so hard to get through. *shoves ginger cookies through interwebs for sustenance*

    • OF COURSE TV counts as book research! I have made it so 🙂

      The furry boy on the right lounges around like that all the time and his belly just screams out “scratch me!”

      mmm, ginger cookies *loves*

  8. Exactly why I cannot watch most TV anymore unless I am able to binge on an entire season! The cliffhangers kill me. Your cats are beautiful 🙂

  9. I feel like I learn a lot from watching tv too! Haven, Fringe and Gilmore Girls are some of my favorites to enjoy/analyze. I even watch stuff I don’t like to figure out what I don’t like about it lol.

  10. The cats are adorable and look very comfortable in their adoptive home. Great excuse for watching TV. I have to remember that one.

  11. Cute cats. I don’t watch shows, but I love movies. I do pay attention to their story arcs.

  12. Haha, I always end up thinking I’m far too wordy when I edit! Good luck with your word-chopping, and enjoy the nice weather while you’ve got it, =)

  13. I enjoyed CHARM & STRANGE. Very well written, I thought.

    Here’s the dilemma about TV, at least to me: it certainly can be a good source of ideas for how to craft stories and develop characters. Yet writers of the Stephen King caliber say the best thing you can do for your writing is turn the TV off! In fact, King said this in ON WRITING. Let me quote (from pages 148-9 of my edition, talking about reading while exercising):

    “Most exercise facilities (at home as well as outside it) are now equipped with TVs, but TV–while working out or anywhere else–really is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs. If you feel you must have the news analyst blowhards on CNN while you exercise, or the stock market blowhards on MSNBC, or the sports blowhards on ESPN, it’s time for you to question how seriously you really are about becoming a writer. You must be prepared to do some serious turning toward the life of the imagination, and that means, I’m afraid, that Geraldo, Keith Obermann, and Jay Leno must go. Reading takes time, and the glass teat takes too much of it.

    “Once weaned from the ephemeral craving for TV, most people will find they enjoy the time they spend reading. I’d like to suggest that turning off that endlessly quacking box is apt to improve the quality of your life as well as the quality of your writing. And how much of a sacrifice are we talking about here? How many Frasier and ER reruns does it take to make one American life complete? How many Richard Simmons infomercials? How many whiteboy/fatboy Beltway insiders on CNN? Oh man, don’t get me started. Jerry-Springer-Dr.-Dre-Judge-Judy-Jerry-Falwaell-Donnie-and-Marie, I rest my case.”

    Now I’m not one to hold up one writer’s opinion as the last word, but King is a good writer and a phenomenally successful one, so his words do carry a certain weight. And yet, as he freely admits in the same book, his storytelling roots are in the classic black-and-white horror flicks of the 50s. Are those any better than some of today’s TV dramas?

    An interesting question, and one I’m not sure I know the answer to. 🙂

    Have a great week, Jennifer!

    • I get what King is saying, although his jump from exercise facilities to writing is a bit confusing. But TV is my time to unwind before bed, my little reward after a packed day of work and writing and lots of running around, so not gonna give it up 🙂

      • I think his point is that the time spent watching TV while exercising would be better spent reading while exercising (using an audio book if it’s not convenient to use paper). Again, *I’m* not saying TV’s bad for writers, but I think it’s an interesting argument.

      • Ah, okay, that makes sense 🙂 I admire people that can read (in any form) while exercising. When I was in college, I tried studying while on the treadmill and promptly fell off lol.

  14. First of all, that cat picture is hilarious! Your kitties seem like characters. Also, I totally agree with you about how helpful TV can be when working on your writing craft. It can be a quick dose of story arc, character development, dialogue, setting…everything. I love to see how they get in and out of scenes, because that can be so helpful for getting in and out of my own book scenes. (Exactly how much of a scene do I need to show each time? Answer: not as much as I usually put into my first draft! :-D)

    • Yep, those furry boys definitely have some personality 🙂

      I’m the queen of first draft info-dumping and pointless scenes, so TV is a great resource to help with pacing, both with individual chapters and with the overall arc.

  15. Loved this post and the comments! That book sounds good.

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