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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Take Care with Minor Characters, part 2

In fiction there’s a hierarchy when it comes to characters: the protagonist, antagonist, secondary characters, minor, walk-on, and stock characters. Let’s focus more on minor characters, shall we? Writers who neglect minor characters are neglecting an essential ingredient, like omitting garlic or oregano from pasta sauce. Minor characters, like secondary characters operate in a strictly […]

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Fiction is about the most interesting events in your protagonist’s life

If your story is not the most dramatic, intense, and difficult circumstances in your protagonist’s life, why then are you writing it?

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Quick Take: Tough Choices

People are defined by their choices. This applies to poker players and politicians, world leaders and criminals, parents and coaches. Fictional characters are also defined by the choices they make. Choices start off a story because a character needs to respond to the inciting incident and first plot point. In Act two when the protagonist’s […]

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Act one: Disturb the equilibrium

If you don’t understand the underpinnings of fiction, you’ll likely  suffer and bumble when you try to create it. Without some knowledge of the why, when and how things work, your story has little chance of success. Writing something as complicated as a novel without a plan is like building a house without an architectural […]

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Inner Logic in Fiction

Does this happen to you? You’re reading along in a novel written by one of your favorite authors and you feel yourself somehow slipping out of the story. Maybe the pace is too slow, or you’re losing interest, or maybe you’re realizing that things aren’t making sense. Or, you’re stopped, puzzled or bothered by an […]

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