Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Archive for the 'Writing techniques' Category

Quick Take: beware of thumbnail sketches

Avoid thumbnail sketches  or police blotter descriptions  whenever a new character steps into your book. (The suspect was a Latino male, 6 feet, medium build, scar on left cheek, tattoo of snake on right shoulder,  wearing black jacket, jeans and sneakers)This technique tends to feel contrived especially if used too often. A character doesn’t need […]

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I’m speaking at the June 3 Willamette Writers meeting, Portland

I’ll be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Willamette Writers on Tuesday, June 3.  Doors open at 6:30 and I’ll start yakking around 7:00.  Free to members, $5 for nonmembers. My topic: Risky Business or how to create compelling, larger-than-life surrogate warriors, bad ass anti-heroes, believable antagonists, and quirky, memorable cast members for your […]

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Quick Take: Climax = Convergence

The climax in fiction is the mountain top, the battle, the declaration of love—where the story has been heading all along, when the protagonist’s goal is achieved or denied, and the future is established. The major problem in the story is resolved and the scene contains intense emotions. It’s also the final turning point and […]

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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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