Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

In Case You Missed It

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jun• 17•15

keypad, goldenGathering of writerly tidbits from the internets

Did you miss BEA this year? Think inspiring writers need to attend? Think again…here’s agent Janet  Reid ‘splaining things. 

Last month I attended a luncheon at the Pennwriters Writing Conference. Lucky me, it was the amazing Jane Friedman talking about using social media to sell books. She’s a whiz at all things publishing and social media. You might want to download one of her weekly goal sheets. They’re perfect for the writing life. You’ll find it at her post on list making and the creative process.

At the conference I also listened to Ridley Pearson’s keynote talk. He’s so funny and humble and real that I wish you could have all been there. The man is hard working, has a pass to get into Disney parks after hours, and is part of the band The Rock Bottom Remainders.  If he comes to your town, I recommend going to his reading-book signing or attending the conference he’s speaking at.

If you’ve never read the blog at Tor I also want to recommend it. Some funny, insightful posts on writing, plotting, the limits of fantasy, and publishing. You’ll find really fun reviews of the Game of Thrones fantasy series and television series.Ghost Hand

Author of the Ghost Hand series, Ripley Patton purveyor of myth, is an inspiring  source for all things fantasy and offers a terrific list of book recommendations. You can sign up for it here.   I believe you’ll appreciate this post on Writing for the Joy of it.  (I know, Ripley and Ridley—aren’t names fun?)



All the Light 2       I  enjoy reading author interviews,  don’t you?  Here’s one at  powells.com with Anthony Doerr  talking about how he writes and how he puzzled together his latest novel. You can find the whole interview here. And if you haven’t read All the Light We Cannot See (winner of the Pulitzer) I highly recommend it. Texured, layered, thoughtful, full of heart.Jill Owens the Powells’ interviewer asked him about the genesis for this novel set during World War II.  

Anthony Doerr: “The easy answer is: It was 2004. I had finished the novel About Grace. Back when they didn’t email you the covers, I was in Princeton for a year, and they wanted me to come up to New York to see the designs. I had been scratching around for a new idea. I was riding into Penn Station, I think it was, and we were going through the tunnels underground. The guy in the seat right in front of me was on a 2004 cell phone and lost his call. He got angry, physically angry. He was rapping his phone with his knuckles.

I had my notebook with me. I was writing stuff down about how we’ve forgotten what a miracle it is to be able to speak with someone. Here I am in Hawaii using light waves to talk to you in Portland. That’s a miracle! That was not available to humans for the entire history of our species. That night I started thinking about different ways to remind the reader about how radio was so strange. To hear the voice of a stranger in your house that you couldn’t see was a total miracle in the ’20s and ’30s. I started trying to evoke that.

I had a boy trapped somewhere and a girl reading a story to him. I didn’t even know what story it was. I didn’t know the circumstances of his entrapment, anything like that. But that was the genesis, I guess. In those early paragraphs, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re just fumbling along in the dark.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

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