Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Jessica Page Morrell' Category

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, […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Interested in working with me?

Hey writers, I’m a developmental editor and have a rare opening coming up on my calendar, that is time to work on a new manuscript. If you’re interested drop me a line via my email at jessicapagemorrell at gmail dot com. Will be happy to explain the process, pricing, and edit a sample so you […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Write from your depths

Read the rest of this entry »

Jeanette Winterson on the power of language

For me, language is a freedom. As soon as you have found the words with which to express something, you are no longer incoherent, you are no longer trapped by your own emotions, by your own experiences; you can describe them, you can tell them, you can bring them out of yourself and give them […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Read poetry, read poetry, read poetry

Corn Picking, Afternoon Break I needed a heavy canvas jacket riding the cold red tractor, air like an ice cube on bare skin. Blue sky over the aspen grove I drove through on the way back to the field, throttle wide open, the empty wagon I pulled hitting all the bumps on the dirt road. […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Thesaurus

{creator unknown}

Read the rest of this entry »

Fiction = punishment

Fictional plots punish the protagonist. Again and again. Weaken him or her. Again and again. Force the protagonist into situations, alliances, and conflicts he or she would rather avoid. Plots are designed to whisper or shout ‘no’ or ‘get outta here,’ or ‘you’re not enough’ to the protagonist. These punishments are often tests. The outcome […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick take: Descriptions work best when they stir readers’ emotions

This one is haunting. From Dorothy Allison’s Bastard out of Carolina: I stopped. The music coming through the cottonwoods was gospel. Gut-shaking, deep-bellied, powerful voices rolled through the dried leaves and hot air. This was the real stuff. I could feel the whiskey edge, the grief and holding on, the dark night terror and determination of […]

Read the rest of this entry »