Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

“Think of everything that happens at the very beginning of a story: The reader makes decisions about the story. They haven’t yet committed to completing it and they are feeling their way around how much they want to commit. Your reader is not a penniless and weary traveler who will be happy to take any […]

Read the rest of this entry »

We live by stories

We tell stories. We tell stories to pass the time, to leave the world for awhile, or go more deeply into it. We tell stories to heal the pain of living. ~Niall Williams

Read the rest of this entry »

Wishing you a lovely day of gratitude

I hope kindness, laughter, and comfort is found at your table today. And I hope the many words you’ve harvested find a home in your readers’ hearts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read the rest of this entry »

Living the Writing & Reading Life

The light is changing day by day, hour by hour. Through the rain-streaked glass, this morning’s sky features silvery tones and mystery. The National Book Awards were revealed Wednesday and it’s an exciting lineup. Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book has been on my radar for a while so this recognition has nudged me to pick […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Take: Writing fiction is like adoption

This morning’s sunrise was a lovely lavender-pink and the sky is the palest blue. The a.m. newscast featured images of the flooding in northern Washington and British Columbia–the aftermath of the ‘atmospheric river’ that has drenched this region. More results of climate change that so desperately needs addressing. But I’ll stop preaching because I’ve got […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Writers ‘bring yourself again to the bare room’

“Begin with bleakness. Bring yourself to the bare room. Voices will assail you, reminding you how many times you’ve been hit on the head, hard, reminding you of the bad genes, the narrow valley in Bohemia where your ancestors left their lives as factory hands, as milk maids, with their natural and legitimate children in […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Thresholds and Turning Points =Escalation & No Turning Back

Outside my window the massive Douglas firs are swaying in the wind. We’ve got a ‘pineapple express’ blasting through the region. It’s a weather system, or atmospheric river, churning in from the south Pacific bringing warm temperatures and downpours to the already rain-soaked Pacific Northwest. In fact, there are now flooding and mudslides happening with […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Take: What’s the Worst Thing That Can Happen Next in my Novel?

Here’s an easy-to-use technique especially helpful for anyone writing a first draft. I’m looking at you NaNoWriMos. Fiction is many things, with carefully placed underpinnings that form the structure and happenings–from bumping into an old friend to dodging-bullets-exploits–written in scenes. Scenes are where change happens.  Fiction is a log of sorts depicting changes occurring as […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Cheryl Strayed on Grit, Healing, and the Writing Life

I’ve used the word grit more in the past  few years than I have in my lifetime. And, alas, in the past few months I’ve needed so much grit and resiliency that I’ve had to dip deep into my reserves.  I dare not run low. If you’re also needing more steel in your backbone, read […]

Read the rest of this entry »