Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

The Writer’s Way: you need to care deeply about your protagonist

It’s impossible to write about a main character you don’t care about. And care deeply. When I say care, you can actually pity the poor sod {Quoyle in The Shipping News}, or disagree with his morality as when you write an anti-hero like Scarlett O’Hara or Tyrion Lannister of the Game of Thrones series.    […]

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The Writer’s Way: Your Ideas Won’t Always Work Out

Story ideas often come to writers as a fleeting spark of an idea or feeling. Maybe it comes from meeting an interesting stranger. Maybe it comes from a childhood memory or looking back at a life-altering trip. Or perhaps you’re trying to rewrite a difficult situation you’ve always wished you’d handled better. Maybe you spot […]

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A new year, a new word

Fresh beginnings are so promising aren’t they? The new, unknown and possible all before us. An empty road leading toward the future. Or like an untrammeled wilderness in the cold, an empty sky, a blank page. If January 1 is your blank book, what do you intend to fill it with and how will you […]

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January

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Mix Familiar and New to Create Language

Science fiction and fantasy writers are often burdened with inventing a vocabulary for their story world that deepens and explains an alternate reality. Because a crucial part of any culture is its language. They’re called constructed languages.  The best methods of using language to authenticate your fiction often lies in blending the familiar and new, […]

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Writing a Story No one has Read Before

I listen to a range of podcasts, but keep coming back to two fiction series from The New Yorker. These podcasts feature readings of short stories and include conversations with the fiction editor, Deborah Treisman. In one podcast an author, but not the author of the story, chooses and reads a story from their archives […]

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How would I write this?

It’s been said that writers live twice–once in the moment, and again while writing about what happened. I’ve been pondering this since yesterday afternoon. A “pineapple express” weather system arrived this week bringing warmer temperatures and heavy rains coming from the Hawaiian Islands. It had rained and rained the past few days, but then I […]

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Tuesdays and Productivity

Tuesdays are one of my favorite days of the week. The weekend is in the rear view mirror, I feel in gear and focused, and accomplishing everything on my to-do list seems possible. That is, if I don’t think too hard about what needs to be completed before Christmas. As 2019 closes I’m pondering what […]

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Sarah Water’s 10 Rules for Writers

The Guardian’s Rules for Writers is a great resource. Here’s the link to Sarah Water’s ) rules. I especially liked her advice in number 9. “Pace is crucial. Fine writing isn’t enough. Writing students can be great at producing a single page of well-crafted prose; what they sometimes  lack is the ability to take the […]

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December

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