Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

Quick take: backstory on a ‘need to know’ basis

I was teaching in Manzanita, a sweet coastal town when I mentioned that  backstory in Act 1 should be dispersed on a ‘need to know’ basis. I also told the writers gathered how I read and analyze the openings of at least two novels every day. It’s part of my ongoing skill-building and awareness that […]

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The first duty of the novelist is to entertain.

The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for alone. ~Donna Tartt

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December

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Emma Donoghue on writing:

Writing stories is my way of scratching that itch; my escape from the claustrophobia of individuality. It lets me, at least for a while, live more than one life, walk more than one path. Reading, of course, can do the same.

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Still time to sign up for Fiction Masters workshop in Manzanita

Folks, there are several spaces available for Fiction Masters workshop in lovely Manzanita. Great way to spend a Saturday at the coast with like-minded writers. Here are the details: Fiction Mastery Crafting a novel is a long, difficult slog even for the most experienced writers. So many decisions and choices, so much fine tuning and […]

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Word of the day: Sternenzelt

Sternenzelt: literally “star tent”; an expanse of star-filled sky stretched out above an observer; the celestial canopy in all its sheltering, shattering extent. (German) And for more info on seeing the night sky check out this site. From Robert McMarfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) keep writing, keep dreaming, keep collecting language

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Books…..

Books are many things: lullabies for the weary. ointment for the wounded. armour for the fearful, and nests to those in need of home. Glenda Millard, The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk

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NaNoWriMo Week 2: How’s your ANTAGONIST coming along?

Well, I made it through the election, champagne and all. I’ve been working with a historical fiction writer, writing a short book about resonance (More on this soon), chopped and simmered another batch of soup–Italian wedding, picked more late-harvest tomatoes, visited an art show that has stayed within me, walked amid the golden colors of […]

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NaNoWriMo Writers: plotting suggestions

A few suggestions: Don’t edit–this is a first-draft mad dash. Remember your story is essentially a problem that needs solving. Not your problem, the protagonist’s problem. Keep asking yourself ‘what’s the worst thing that can happen next?’ Remember you’re sending your protagonist into new emotional and physical territory. Start at least one subplot. This subplot should […]

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November

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