Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

For NaNoWriMo Scribes

I’m always thinking in stories, aren’t you? Yesterday I visited a nearby farmer’s market, not imagining it would be overrun with merry kids in costumes. I’d just heard that there was a shortage of costumes because of global shipping slowdowns, but this wasn’t in evidence as the witches, superheroes, and ghouls dashed around accepting treats, […]

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Basics for a worthy protagonist {aimed at NaNoWriMo writers especially}

Thousands of writers around the world are getting ready to buckle in for NaNoWriMo, an accountability community and method for writing 50,000 words during the month of November. Fifty thousand words of a novel, that is. No matter your writing level, your story needs a kickass main character. Now, I don’t mean you need a […]

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End Strong

We’ve had early rains this autumn, but the colors splashed around are russet, lemon, gold and scarlet. I’ve officially turned into one of those cranks who complain about how fast time passes. Typically, October has found me gob smacked because once Halloween is over, the runaway slide toward the holidays seems to pick up speed.  […]

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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 prep: consider your story’s overall atmosphere

Yesterday there was a break in the rains and I managed more yard clean-up. I tossed out two large hanging plants with relief since I started watering them in May. Still more plants to care for, but they’re blooming away. I want to recommend another starting place for fiction: atmosphere. Now, I’m not suggesting you […]

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NaNoWriMo Prep: Getting to know your main characters, part 2

More rain around here, but I managed to get in a few walks over the weekend including trails at the Hoyt Arboretum, or Portland’s Museum of Trees. If I could offer a single piece of advice about creating characters it would be this: Take risks with your main characters. Make them stand out from the […]

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Prepping for NaNoWriMo–start with character…oh and food.

It’s raining here, but we’ve had the most glorious spate of Indian Summer weather and the amber, lemon, and copper colors continue to bejewel the trees. I’m cleaning up the yard, moving plants, and planting bulbs. And hallelujah, I’m back to cooking hearty food–soups, stews, and a big batch of Beef Bourguignon and mashed potatoes […]

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NaNoWriMo tip: Live your story

As a writer I need to have my story festering around in my head all the time, so that when I sit down to write its as though I’m writing from memory, rather than from imagination. ~ Ann Cleeves

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Winter is Coming so Move Forward

Yesterday was the full moon, also called the harvest moon. I haven’t seen the moon since Saturday because nearby wildfires, more accurately the smoke and ashes from them,  have shrouded the moon and stars.  Our region is grayed by a perpetual dusk, ash is falling eerily, and the air is nearly unbreathable. Gazing around the […]

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Advice for Wri Mos from Laini Taylor

Unstoppable. Machete-toting. Sounds good doesn’t it? And if you don’t make your word count one day do not panic. Just keep plugging away. Live that story in your head while you’re walking the dog or microwaving dinner. As you and Rufus the Border Collie head to the park, stride or swagger the way your protagonist […]

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