Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

“The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant a seed and see what comes up. I think all writers […]

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In case you missed it: Ruth Reichl on M.F.K. Fisher

I discovered M.F.K. Fisher in my twenties, not from her many memoirs and books about food, but by reading Sister Age. It’s an odd little book. As the title suggests, it’s about aging and features essays of sorts about ghosts, elderly women on a sea voyage,  encountering death, and facing one’s later years. And, as […]

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….Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! From The New Colossus, Emma Lazurus. 1883 Happy July 4th out there to any citizen who holds this message dear.

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Quick take: Story=problem.

Fiction features a problem that needs solving and only the protagonist can solve it. In short stories the problem is often introduced by the inciting incident–an event that triggers or launches what follows. In longer fiction the inciting incident might lead to the problem. This event will disrupt the status quo, demand a response, and […]

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  Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home. ~ Anna Quindlen

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Are you using colors?

A pearly full moon is rising through a stand of tall Douglas firs tonight. It’s casting an enormous, mysterious glow through the upper branches.  I’m stepping out onto the porch at intervals to watch its progress, as  meanwhile the Big Dipper shines above the back door. What color is the moon in your part of […]

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Each person has a song….

Each person whoever was or or is or will be has a song. It isn’t a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our […]

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Why So Many Adults Love to Read YA

Summer might be only a week away, but temperatures are hitting near 100 today. I’m in a bit of trouble in the watering department because I’ve been buying more than my share of ‘rescue’ plants lately. A nearby Fred Meyers garden department marks them down and I’m lured to them like other people might be […]

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7 Tricks for Writing Terrifying Horror Fiction

For more on horror stories visit Writer’s Digest here. Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

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From The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

“This book is a train with many cars, moving clumsily along a track at night. One car contains a small supply of coal, which spills out into the passageway when an internal door is opened. You have to step over piles of slippery black grit to get through to the corridor. Another car contains grain, […]

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