Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Conferences & Workshops

Written By: Jessica Morrell

Join me in September for Virtual Workshops

Expect valuable, elucidating, and easy-to-digest information. Handouts  included.

September 12, Secrets of the Dark Arts

12:30- 2:30 Mountain Time

Write Now! Conference by Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths

Congratulations on completing your story. It’s an arduous, superhuman job that requires stamina, persistence, and problem-solving. Now let’s get down to the hard work of polishing and perfecting. Editing and revising is a long and involved process. You will likely spend more time rewriting and revising your book than it took to write it. This workshop will help you devise a system for revision and then dig in.

Like extracting revenge, self-editing requires an ability to see your work with a cold, distant eye. This means finding plot holes, questioning if every character and scene belongs, and whether your viewpoint is effective. This workshop will help you achieve editorial distance, and then teach ways to diagnose, improve, and create a strong second draft. We’ll define story arc and character arcs; learn how to shore up weak scenes, and outline a viable approach to revision based on three major steps from the macro to line editing.

Publishing Panel, September 12, 3;00

Link to register:  https://www.crowdcast.io/e/writenow2020/register

Captivating Costars: Why Secondary Characters Need More Love

 September  8, 12:30-1:30 PT, Chanticleer Authors Conference

Without captivating secondary characters a story doesn’t contain enough spice, drama or interest. Imaginatively-written supporting characters leave their own particular note in the reader’s memory; enliven and propel the scenes they appear in; and like leading characters, they breathe, hurt, and sizzle on the page. We’ll cover the differences among secondary characters, foils, minor characters, and walk-on characters.  We’ll also discuss if your story is overpopulated and some traditional roles for costars: best friend, side kick, family member, trusted confidant, professional sounding board, lover and spouse.  A wide variety of characters from well-known films and novels will supplement our understanding.

Wordcraft: Words Matter, Names Matter, Titles Matter, Wordnerds Jessica Morrell & Kiffer Brown Friday, September 11, 11 -12

Subplots: the stories within the story

When: September 18 9:30-12:30 Pacific Time

Where: Chanticleer Author Conference

Subplots are miniature stories woven into the main story, like threads woven into a tapestry, complete and intriguing in their own right, and serve to contrast, reinforce, or divert attention from the main plot. They are secondary actions in a story, complete and interesting in their own right. There may be more than one subplot, and sometimes as many as three, four, or even more running through a piece of fiction. While subplots can support the story line, they’re always less significant. Along with learning why fiction needs subplots, we’ll cover how to judge if your subplots are needed, if they work, and who ‘stars’ in subplots.

Between the Lines

Chanticleer Authors Conference, September 17, 9:30-12:30 PT

I’m really looking forward to this session based on my book Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction.

Readers want to be haunted by stories, characters and specific scenes that linger in their memories. While reading they want to be transported to another time and place. The best fiction does this; touching the deep layers in us. A writer achieves this effect by embedding dozens of techniques into his story to create a deep and simmering story world.  Yet, since some elements in fiction are suggested or remain invisible they’re difficult to analyze. Some techniques whisper. This workshop brings these fictional elements into the light to help you nuanced, layered, and compelling stories. We’ll especially focus on foreshadowing, backstory and flashbacks, how to layer in mood and tone, and how to use details to create an immersive, breathing story world.

Ask questions and register at the Chanticleer Author Conference site and WriteNow! Conference site


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  3. […] offers a wide variety of writing workshops and conferences around Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. There are day workshops to full weekend conferences, […]

  4. Grace says:

    I loved your lecture at Willamette Writers. Do you teach anywhere in PDX?

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Thanks so much. I teach my own series of workshops and classes. I took time off last year because of surgeries and moving, but am starting up again. My next workshop is Writing as Resistance. It’s happening on April 28, in Multnomah Village. I’d be happy to send you the information via an email.

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Actually the date is Saturday, April 29

  5. Kristina says:

    Will you bring doing more workshops towards the end of 2019 in Oregon?

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Thanks for your interest. I’m going to be teaching a class at Mt. Hood Community College beginning October 1–Power Writing. Will be teaching online classes and live classes starting in January. Will be posting them here.

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