Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

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 […]

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The deepest satisfaction of fiction comes from the encounter between the reader’s imagination and the writer’s creation. It is a fluid, delicate and personal relationship that occurs in an evanescent space.  ~ Janna Malamud Smith

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Quick Take: Use Your Pain

After my first book Writing Out the Storm was published, I got a phone call from an executive at iVillage. It was a high-profile site and the biggest women’s web site in the world at the time. I was hired to be the writing expert and teach hundreds of writers. The gig included live online […]

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To Outline or Not to Outline that is the Question

Story offers enduring emotions and shared experiences. Storytelling in all its forms is a mysterious unfolding along with a whole bag of magician’s tricks used by the writer. But to perfect your story, be it a novel or screen play or memoir, you need to apply the logic that comes with plotting and planning. Now, […]

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Quick Take: What do your characters notice?

I’m working on a two-part column about voice in fiction. I’m hoping to help writers master voice and get closer to their characters. Which got me thinking–what people notice tells us a lot about them. When my father visits the Northwest from the upper Midwest he notices that there are a lot of SUVs  and […]

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