Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” ~ Jean-Baptiste Massieu

Never has there been a more important time, year, season to focus on gratitude and extend it whenever possible. Wishing all a day of peace, hope, and thankfulness.   Vincent van Gogh – The Harvest – Van Gogh Museum

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From an Editor’s Desk: Follow Their Eyes

With the holidays upon us, I’m especially grateful  for all the good things and people in my life, the small joys that bring so much simple pleasure. A walk with a friend, an engrossing novel, spring blooms, autumn leaves, watching seasons change, the first sip of tea in the morning, dinner simmering in the kitchen. […]

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Character arcs happen mostly in action

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Historical Accuracy and other Peeves: Skip the hugs and kisses.

With apologies–an early draft to this article was mistakenly published before it was completed. Updated November 17. Obviously I’m not alone in declaring this a humbling, angst-filled, anxiety-inducing year. Did I mention fattening?  Like many millions around the world, I’m following the COVID numbers with growing horror and paranoia. I’ve been wearing a mask and […]

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November

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From an editor’s desk: Accuracy and how not to screw up sight lines, fisticuffs, and body blows

I taught virtual workshops last month and before teaching one on editing, I was asked to comment on typical mistakes, red flags, and screw-ups that are easily noticed in manuscripts. I’m going to list them here, starting with something that drives me kind of batty. File it under A for Accuracy. Forget Hollywood, John Wick, […]

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October

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Mood meets dark night of the soul

There are still fires burning in beautiful Oregon and 5 million acres in the West have been incinerated. My house is no longer in an evacuation zone for which I’m grateful. However, the air is still hazardous and I’d really just like to step outside. Hoping it’s sometime soon. One technique that  all writers need […]

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More tips on introducing secondary characters

A bit cooler today I’m happy to report, but more blistering temperatures on the way. Awhile ago I posted this example of introducing an unforgettable  secondary character from the great Leif Enger’s novel Virgil Wander. You can find my column here in case you missed it. I’m going to talk about it during my virtual […]

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The magic of characters–including co-stars

Long after the intricacies of a fictional plot fade from a reader’s memory, the characters linger with an almost physical presence, a twinkle of personality, unforgettable actions, and their happy or sad fates. Fictional characters whisper their secrets, allow us to witness their most intimate moments and sorrows, and trust us with their messy emotions, […]

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