Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

The Writer’s Way: Perfecting Character Reactions

Overcast here this morning, the plum trees are blossoming in pale pink splendor,  and the few tulips that the voles didn’t eat are ready to bloom. I’m not above staging an all-out war on rodents, but I might need to plant tulip bulbs in pots from now on. I’ve been working on manuscripts lately where […]

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March

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Read Poetry Every Day

Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime shape.  It keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your ear, your tongue, your hand. And, above all, poetry is compacted metaphor or simile. Such metaphors, […]

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The Writer’s Way: Stocking your writer’s notebook

Before I went to sleep last night I paged through  my latest writer’s notebook.  The two tools that inspire me most are reading widely and analytically, and keeping a notebook. Writers need tools for flat and unenthused times, need word collections to spark fresh phrasing, and a place to secure inspirations and notes.  My writer’s […]

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February

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Don’t Name Your Kids After Fictional Characters

As a Game of Thrones fan, (more the books than the HBO series) I could have warned parents not to name their daughters Daenerys. Unlike many people, she was my least favorite character, but there was also a great deal of foreshadowing from the get-go indicating she was damaged, unstable, and blood-thirsty. And, of course, […]

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Write with your eyes like painters, with your ears like musicians, with your feet like dancers. You are the truthsayer with quill and torch. Write with your tongues on fire. ~ Gloria Anzaldua

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The Writer’s Way: A secret to creating characters: Enduring Traits

A  rainy week in the Pacific Northwest with snow on the way (hooray!) and I’m starting slow today, drinking my morning Earl Grey tea. In my book Bullies, Bastards, & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction I dove deep into the topic of character traits. I explained that main characters will possess […]

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For Portland-area writers: join me at a Power Writing class

It’s still foggy here this morning and I enjoy gazing out at the contrast of the fog muffled against the tall Douglas firs that line this property. I’ve got ongoing editing projects and my own projects so yesterday when I was driving to meet a client for lunch I was ‘writing’ in my head. Later […]

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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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