Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'learning' Category

Join us in Portland on February 20

For Write, Rewrite, Repeat It’s a one-day conference jammed, and I mean jammed, with insights, tactics and genius ideas you can you use to catapult your writing career into a higher gear and greater visibility. Keynote speaker is Fonda Lee. Martial artist, inventive author, whip-smart and savvy marketer. She’ll be talking about The Strategic Author. […]

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Just say no

Most of us could not hack the lives of fictional protagonists because everything they do and everywhere they turn, events are designed to shriek denials, thwart desire, and erect roadblocks. Plots and scenes are built on forces and characters that stand in their way, blocking something they desperately wants or needs, delaying gratification. The results […]

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Quick take: Turn down the lights

Setting is a powerful device for creating tension in fiction. When you’re planning scenes where danger lurks, here’s the trick:  turn down the lights. Link moonless skies, gray curtains of rain, or gloomy weather to a deathbed vigil, a battle scene, or harrowing journey. Force characters to travel down lonely, lawless stretches of road.  If […]

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Start with the Tangible

I was corresponding with a client a few days ago about his opening paragraph. In it there was a sentence bloated with abstract terms that just sort of hunkered or sprawled flattened on the page. Instead of abstractions, here’s a foundation from where  you can begin most writing:  with the artifacts of everyday life. You […]

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In case you missed it….

     Writerly  gatherings from  the internets: 1. 20 Amazing Writing Residencies  You Should Apply for is here.  (This list is from 2014, but the residencies are still viable.) 2. Sadly, the final Scratch magazine is online. The topic, fittingly, is The End. Sigh. 3.  How to Master Anything, at Any Age. The 9 concepts […]

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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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