Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell


Written By: Jessica Morrell

Jessica P. Morrell is an author, developmental editor, and writing instructor. Previously she’s  founded and coordinated writing conferences, worked as a copywriter, columnist and feature writer, taught cooking classes, owned a catering business, reviewed restautrants, and was restaurant consultant, handed out food samples, developed recipes for a food chain, worked in a deli and cleaned houses.

Constantly inspired, she’s a word nerd who is always scavenging for baubles and jewels, fascinated with the history of English, a lovely and potent mongrel language. Jessica sits around and thinks about story craft a lot. Actually she’s not always sitting. 

As an editor she helps writers reimagine their stories, avouches for a firm inner rationale, nudges them toward creating emotional resonance, and deep dramatic entanglements. She believes in everyday magic and artful living, and hikes in the old growth forests and along mountain-fed rivers of the Pacific Northwest.  Since moving to Oregon in 1991 to her delight, she’s been surrounded by writers.

Even when she’s seen a movie previously, or she’s driving listening to NPR, or her sleep is shortened by genius chimeras, she cannot help but analyze every writer’s techniques.  She reads all kinds of fiction, nonfiction, columns, essays, and news. This dates back to childhood when she could be found reading the cereal box at breakfast. She’s been weaning herself from an unhealthy fascination with post-apocalyptic tales and is planning to update her go-bag.  With new fiction horizons she’s become fond of stories with a lifelike, witty voice {because all writing begins with voice} that make her think deeper.

Jessica plants trees, grows flowers, tomatoes, vegetables, and herbs. While reading is her lifeline, as a former food professional she appreciates the heft of a good chef’s knife, buys from local farmers, and believes cooking is the perfect accompanient to writing.

Jessica also believes in writing what scares you and is currently working on a book that is daunting and more than a little terrifying. Her bucket list needs attention since Covid kept her homebound and she always watches the sky.