Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

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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A Guide to Using Semi-Colons

In my work I see writers struggle with certain punctuation marks again and again. The culprits are semi-colons :, em dashes—, and the ubiquitous comma ,. Like me don’t you wonder who the heck came up with all these rules? But all grousing aside, they’re brilliant little traffic signs and help move readers through text. […]

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Fiction is About the Cost of Things

Fiction is about the cost of things. The plot should always somehow scar or wound the protagonist and put something valuable at risk. Protagonists suffer. Period. Paying heavy costs make characters relatable. I swear by these statements. Use them to guide your storytelling because it creates stakes, motivation, and tension. Fictional characters take more risks […]

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Yoga for Writers

I don’t know about you, but I spend time every day trying to undo the effects of sitting in front of a computer. Always stretching and bending and taking breaks. Here’s a yoga routine suggested by one of my medical providers from Yoga With Adriene.

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