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Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing
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Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  223 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Effective storytelling stems from many elements, the most crucial of which are unseen or blended in so unobtrusively that they are difficult to spot and analyze. Still, they are necessary to the wholeness and coherence of a story–to create a work that lingers and resonates in the reader's imagination.In "Between the Lines," author and writing instructor Jessica Page Morrel ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by Writers Digest Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30)
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This is a good guide, don't get me wrong, but I'll be honest - a lot of this felt more instructive on elements that I already knew, and it didn't engage or inspire me in the same way as some writing guides I've perused with respect to working with my own WIPs. I usually like a lot of Writer's Digest guides, but this one seemed bogged down in the narrative and not quite as practical for me personally as I would've liked. However, I'm not going to say that it isn't useful, because it delves into a ...more
May 27, 2012 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lunga recensione con stralci
Conclusioni: A mio avviso, questo manuale è davvero ben gestito. Mi è servito molto. Mi ha spiegato molto. Soprattutto la parte del tema e della premessa che, inizialmente, mi ha creato dubbi su alcuni miei lavori. Ma con calma e riflessione, sono saltati fuori. E' stato piacevole scoprire alcune tecniche per tenere viva la lettura e come migliorare la trama ponendo più attenzione alle scene.
Soprattutto, la lettura di questo man
Jennifer Worrell
Jun 14, 2016 Jennifer Worrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: craft
I'm enamored with books that blow you away with subtlety. They seem to have a much bigger impact on me.
Morrell knows her stuff. I read three of her craft books so far (Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction and Thanks, but This Isn't for Us: A (Sort Of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing Is Being Rejected) but so far this is my favorite. She guides you, in great detail, through some of the less talked about aspects of fiction writing. I took so many notes I mi
Jan 09, 2012 Athena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really think the importance of this book cannot be stated enough. It’s fantastic. A great teacher for beginners, but also a fabulous reminder to those who’ve been at writing for a while and sometimes forget the necessity of layering and subtext. What’s between the lines is often overlooked by writers in their own work – but a reader will know immediately that something is missing. If you’re a writer – do yourself a favor and get this book for your reference. You’ll go back to it again and agai ...more
T. Cannon
Nov 08, 2016 T. Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again, a superb book for any aspiring writer. I bought two copies over time when I thought I lost one! Should be considered part of any creative writing curriculum.
Dec 18, 2016 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 03, 2014 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, writing
This is one of the best writing books I've read. Unlike most books I've read which concerned solely storytelling, I liked how it covered both the elements of fiction , and writing itself. Good writing is subtle and unobtrusive. This book covers a good amount of territory from backstory, pacing, and tension, but I particularly enjoyed the chapters on imagery, sensory details, and subtlety. For my own purposes I have to remind myself "what effect am I going for?" not only in a scene, but also word ...more
Jul 18, 2014 Zora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lack of how-to writing books for intermediate writers, I think, and this one could be such a book, but when she runs out of more advanced (or "subtle" as the title has it) pointers about halfway through, she falls back to giving very simple advice that barely qualifies as advice at all (e.g., setting includes weather, and sun creates more optimism than rain--that's not really a big revelation to me). She does do a good job of taking more complicated writing advice from sources like McK ...more
Sherry Gorman
Aug 07, 2013 Sherry Gorman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met Jessica through a mutual author friend. My friend's words (paraphrased) were, "Jessica will take your work, rip it to shreds, and you'll never learn more from anyone else." My friend was right. Jessica is genius, and her book is nothing less. It is concise, but packed full of tips that keep me on my toes. In fact, in all my years of college, medical school and residency, I have never picked up a 'text' from which I learned so much. In fact, I went back through it a second time and created ...more
Mark Souza
Jun 07, 2011 Mark Souza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not often you find an insightful "How To" book on writing that is also an entertaining read. This, however, is a trademark of Jessica Page Morrell books. Ms. Morrell has been in the editing business for a long time and it shows. But she is also an entertaining and talented writer. Her passion for good writing shows on every page.

Each of the points she makes is backed up with real examples from some of the best authors in the business. Those example really drive the lessons home and show wh
Wesley Fox
Jul 14, 2014 Wesley Fox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Between the Lines is an excellent intermediate level book on the craft of writing. Morrell covers a lot of elements of fiction writing, explaining them in clear and concise language. For someone who is only a couple years into his writing career, I felt as if it was perfectly suited for my experience level. It is a little advanced for novice writers or those that have only written a few short stories. I'd recommend a few other books on writing before moving to this one.

I've read 5 or 6 books on
Nov 13, 2009 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Between the Lines, author and writing instructor Jessica Page Morrell shows you how to craft a unified and layered novel or short story by mastering subtle storytelling techniques, such as:

· Using emotional bombshells, surprises, and interruptions to intensify cliffhangers
· Enlarging your story world through the use of layered subplots
· Building suspense one scene at a time to maximize the emotional payoff
· Anchoring your premise to your protagonist’s character arc
· Transitioning into an
Apr 07, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that examines technical aspects of writing in a more in-depth fashion than many books about writing. Everyone will get something different out of this book--some chapters will seem review of fundamentals, others will give new insight--but Morrell does a very good job of giving clear examples and explaining how and why things work in writing. I found especially valuable the chapters on Epiphanies & Revelations, Flashbacks, and Subplots. Lots of stuff to mull over and try to ...more
Mike Klaassen
Apr 04, 2015 Mike Klaassen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fiction writers
Shelves: writing-fiction
This is an insightful, well written book about a wide range of fiction-writing topics. A must for any fiction writer's professional library. Chapters include: Art & Artifice: Keeping Readers Spellbound, Backstory, Cliffhangers & Thrusters, Epilogues, Epiphanies & Revelations, Flashbacks, Foreshadowing, Imagery & Other Charms, Pacing, Prologues, Sense of Place, Sensory Surround, Subplots, Subtlety, Suspense, Tension, Theme & Premise, and Transitions.
Carla Perry
Sep 20, 2012 Carla Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now, this was an amazing book that taught me ALL the stuff I should have studied BEFORE writing a novel. NOW I understand peripheral character development. NOW I understand subplots. I've been writing a novel entirely based on instinct, but this book is so clearly written and so complete in its offerings that it's as if I took a course in fiction writing. THANK YOU JESSICA! I took lots of notes as I read.
Jun 19, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
If you don't own any other how-to book on writing, buy this one. I've only had my copy for 2 weeks and it is already full of post-it notes and most of the text is highlighted by now. Definitely worth the money.

Just be sure not to try to incorporate EVERYTHING you read in here into your first draft - otherwise you'll never get it done! This book is more of a toolbox to use in your final drafts. Keep some of the tools on your desk, keep some in the box while you're writing.
Aug 10, 2016 L.M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book changed me forever. It literally put my writing and how I thought about writing on a different level. I loved how I could skip about the book as I needed for what I needed at the time and yet, this entire book works from start to finish for any writer at any level. It can serve as a teacher and mentor for the beginner, or a kind reminder for the seasoned author. I love this book and while I am willing to share it, it will never leave my home.
Oct 11, 2007 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still reading this but so far I really like it. The author discusses all the important elements you need to keep in mind while writing fiction, and she does so in a very conversational, easy-to-read way. I would say it's like a classroom in a book. Plus, she uses plenty of familiar examples from both books and movies to help convey her points. And I love the design of the book and pages -- really clever and unique.
Billie Milholland
Easy to read. A wide variety of practical examples from many different authors' works. Advice is more detailed than many may want at one time, but an excellent resource to return to. Her favourite writers are not mine, but that doesn't prejudice the usefulness of what she has to say. My copy is underlined all over the place and sticky tabs bristle out of the pages like porcupine quills.
Useful, low-intermediate guide on the nuts & bolts as well as philisophical nature of the craft.

Could be very useful to new writers but might convince them formula is the way to go and formula, unless handle very carefully will reduce their novel to a cliché in an ocean of clichés.

Valuable book, but one that needs to be approached with caution.

4 out of 5 stars.
Molly Owen
Mar 15, 2016 Molly Owen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-advice
This is one of the best books I've found on fiction writing. Covering so many of the basics in detail you'll find helpful whether you're a beginner or have a few projects under your belt. Don't tackle your next project until you've read this book.
Debra Daniels-zeller
This is a book I'll turn to for inspiration again and again. What makes readers turn pages? What makes them love and root for characters? Morels book is filled with useful information. This book is a keeper.
Dec 21, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book and a must-have for anyone who wants to make to be a writer. Practical and straightforward advice with clear examples, it gives you all the necessary tools to craft stories that not only appeal to the reader but also make them feel they live in your story.
Aug 18, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Reading this book is like taking a college course: full of things you should be writing notes about, topics to visit again and again until they are burned into your brain. If you master the material written here, you will be doing well in you writing.
Jan 12, 2010 Shane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jakob
Shelves: 2010-books-read
Excellent book for any writer. Well written, concise, and full of incredible information for anyone trying to tell a story or who want's to improve their writing overall.
Apr 23, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-nonfiction
I liked how she used classic and current books along with movies as examples. Very easy to read with great insights.
Jul 13, 2009 Danny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
A great book to help authors. It explains a lot on the mechanical aspects of writing, such as when to use and when to not use prologue and the effects it will have on your story.
Oct 12, 2013 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book with useful advice on many nontraditional topics, such as subtlety, epiphanies, backstory, foreshadowing, tension, theme, and subplots. Recommended for intermediate to advanced writers.
Aug 03, 2010 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Fantastic book on writing. Not for the novice, this is for when you've mastered the baby steps, and now want to write something people will want to read.
Feb 14, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, even if the author is a little picky, likes Alice Sebold (a writer I can't stand) and seems more interested in helping people craft popular paperbacks than make art.
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