Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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November

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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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Merriam Webster adds 455 New Words

English, the ultimate mongrel language, is always evolving. And word geek that I am, whenever new words are added to the dictionary I’m fascinated and excited. How about you? For example joining the party: whataboutism, amirite, digital nomad, and dad bod.   Many words reflect contemporary circumstances such as long COVID, super-spreader, and vaccine passport. There’s also […]

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