Author Spotlight: Ellie Gordon

How does inspiration strike you?

While I can’t answer how, it usually strikes me mid-sentence. I have to be writing. If I find myself at a loss of what to do or where to go next, I’ll just veer off in any direction. Doesn’t matter where it’s leading or if it has anything to do with what I’m actually attempting to write, but if my body is at a total standstill, usually my mind is too. 

Why do you write?

I don’t know what else to do with my hands. 

Is there a certain process you go through while writing?

I like structure and formula, actually. Freytag’s triangle, three-act, five key turning points, save the cat, kishōtenketsu, you name it! Some might find that ironic because my mind more closely resembles an industrial paper shredder, where fully-formed thoughts get destroyed and mixed up with a million other remnants of once-fully-formed thoughts. 

Usually, no matter the size of a story, I start with a loose outline, or--at the very least--the question: What does this character want, and why can’t they have it? From there, I start writing and hope the first good sentence will lead to a second better one.

Where do you find magic in everyday life?

I’m not sure if I find magic anymore, or at least often, but I know it’s there, so I improvise. I make a facsimile out of things like crimped straws, bullwhip kelp, a piano’s sustain pedal, peacoat pockets, and whole jars of kimchi. If I’m lucky, smashing these things together will create the sparks that light the way to something real.

A portrait image of Ellie Gordon, a pale person with glasses and short brown hair.

Ellie Gordon is a nonbinary writer from the Pacific Northwest. Their work can be found with Jellyfish Review, Ligeia Magazine, Rejection Letters, and others. They tweet inconsistently at @autonomousbagel.