Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'fiction techniques' Category

Thought for the day:

“I feel that you take from your life experiences, but to make it fiction, you take it to a deeper level. You transform the mundane disappointments or the joys to make it true storytelling. You have to go much farther. You have to be a kind of spy and listen carefully.” ~ Elizabeth Brundage

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Quick Take: Write What Scares You

Writing what scares you doesn’t require that you write a depressing memoir, lonely tale, or gore-soaked, zombie-slasher free-for-all. It does mean you’ll be revealing the inky, complex emotions and potholed messes that shape a life. It means you’ll be thinking about human foibles and not-so pleasant qualities.No matter your genre,  fear should have you peering […]

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Quick Take:

Everything your main characters do must have consequences. No, I’m not talking about tying their shoelaces or walking the dog. Well, unless they’re walking the pooch in a sketchy neighborhood, in the rain at 2 a.m., or as a hurricane is about to blast through…..A kiss needs to lead to something. A slap or lie […]

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Quick take: Complicated

Plan complicated quirks, flaws and weaknesses in your whole cast of fictional characters. But then make these quality have consequences. Santino, Sonny Corleone, the oldest son in The Godfather was impulsive and a hothead, but he was also a loving father and husband and believed in protecting women and children. When his pregnant sister Connie […]

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Slightly Crazy: Map Your Course to Survive NaNoWriMo

I’ve heard NaNoWriMo referred to as the writers’ version of running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; a tequila hangover, a 30-day migraine, and an icy plunge into Lake Michigan in January, except you can’t escape from the water. Then again some writers relish this annual mad dash. It teaches you to show up. it […]

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From Idea to Story workshop on November 8

     November 8, 9-4:30      Tabor Space, Portland,           Oregon         Writers have long grappled with the problem of taking a flash of inspiration through the marathon process of completing a finished work. That flash is your premise. But a premise on its own is flimsy, […]

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Avoiding the Perils of Expositional Dialogue

     There comes a time in many stories when a character must deliver needed information via dialogue. It’s called expositional dialogue—a conversation with a whole lot of facts or explaining going on. It provides the back story and details necessary to understand for the story. Trouble is, after not too long these dialogue exchanges […]

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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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Writing that, because of its elegance or verve, commands not only attention but a place in the reader’s memory. Writing that, because of its unique approach to subject matter, brings an emotional melding with the reader. Resonance is responsiveness. Resonance is communion. Resonance brings a writer/reader atonement—a harmony intellectually, or emotionally, or both. Peter Jacobi […]

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