Guiding you along the writer's path

Editing

A developmental editor helps writers hone their work-in-progress. For voice, heart, vision, yes!—and for style, organization, and clarity, too. Have a draft of a memoir or novel? Establishing your on-line presence? My feedback can pave the way toward your publishing and solopreneurial goals.

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Coaching

A writing coach is a literary fairy godmother. She can charm your plot or transform your writing practice! I've earned my wand helping castles-full of writers abracadabra great ideas into golden sheaves of pages. Whether you're creating book pages or web pages, I can help you, too.

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I'm Jamie

From the moment I facilitated my first writer’s group, I’ve been on a mission: to help other writers make their mark. Now, in addition to my work with fiction writers and memoirists, I also provide editing and writing services to entrepreneurs. Because your success is my success.

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News, Notes & Quotes

  • swords02.jpegWE’VE ALL BEEN THERE. That moment when we have to make a decision—even though the choices facing us are bleak. We may try to forestall the inevitable, blindfolding ourselves to the necessity of choosing one not-so-good option over another. But eventually, the tide of urgency rises behind us and forces us to the keen sword-edge of decision.

    Today, take pen (or keyboard) in hand and write about such a difficult decision-making moment. But first, you’ll have to make a choice . . .

    Option A) Tell a tale from true life, detailing exactly what happened when you were faced with a plate of unpalatable choices. What were the circumstances? What was at stake? What was the worst (and best) that could come of any of the choices? Which did you pick? HOW did you pick? What happened next?

    (Of course, you can drama-up the story. String out the suspense! Double up the consequences! Heck, go ahead and make your decision-making self a hero. Because you probably were. It’s tough to act when no action looks good.)

    Option B) Create a character faced with an impossible decision. (Okay, maybe not SOPHIE’S CHOICE-impossible . . . but difficult, nonetheless.) Erect escalating tiers of stakes that force the character to the point of choice—and be sure to show the (excruciating!) risks inherent in her options. But what if your character bails? What if she is so completely paralyzed by choice that she puts her fate in the toss of a coin? Or in the pulling of straws? Or in a round of eenie-meenie-miny-moe? Welp. Then let the penny drop. Let the eenie-meenie begin. And when all is said and done, make her deal with the consequences of her (default) choice.

  • THE STORYTELLERS OF TOMORROW Florida High School Creative Writing Contest

    CW_word_0is presented by the Ringling College of Art + Design. The Ringling College BFA in Creative writing was created to support, empower, and honor young writers. Now, the creative writing department of Ringling is inviting Florida high school students to submit unpublished, original stories of up to 2,000 words for this inaugural Storytellers of Tomorrow Contest. The deadline is February 29th, so skateboard those entries right in! Click HERE for the full scoop.

    This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you by Ryan G. Van Cleave, Creative Writing BFA Coordinator, Ringling College of Art and Design and author of THE WEEKEND BOOK PROPOSAL (Writers Digest), MEMOIR WRITING FOR DUMMIES (John Wiley & Sons), and more!

  • COMIC BOOKS. COINS. HAND GUNS. Thimbles. Breyer horses. Romantic conquests. Shoes. Recipes. Baseball cards. Tombstone rubbings. Tarot decks. hqdefault-300x225 copy

    Q. What do all these have in common?
    A. Someone, somewhere, collects them. (And may occasionally engage in some pretty edgy behaviors in the pursuit.)

    Try this: Make a list of collectibles. Then, building on your own experience as a collector, or your observations of a collector in your world, write about a situation (fictional or non) in which a collector of one of the categories on your list goes out on a limb, putting himself—or his loved ones—in jeopardy to acquire a new piece for his collection.

    Does he cross the line into hoarding? Mortgage his house or skip the rent to make his purchase? Get out of his depth at an auction? List things that could go wrong. Then put a desired object just out of his reach—and go from there.

  • HERE’S A SECRET. Peter Elbow, author and professor of writing, is a crazy genius. dvd_jacket_301The spine of my worn, torn copy of his WRITING WITH POWER is cracked at Chapter 9, “Metaphors for Priming the Pump,” from frequent consultation. In that chapter, Elbow lists wild ways to help you get at a topic.

    These include (but are not limited to!), “Questions to help you write a self-evaluation,” “Questions to help you write about a place,” and “Suggestions to help you write about a problem or dilemma.”

    Just to give you an example, let’s hop to “Suggestions to help you write about a problem or dilemma,” and see what we can make happen.

    1. To start I’m going to name a dilemma. (If you’re playing along, go ahead and jot down a problem facing either you or your character.)
    2. Dilemma: My unshaded front yard receives unwavering Florida sun. I dislike too much sun. Therefore, I dislike—and neglect—my yard.
    3. Now, I’m going to consult Elbow’s write-about-a-problem list. (If you’re still playing, consider these suggestions to apply to your stated problem.)
      1. The problem is that God is angry. At whom? Why? What did that person do to make God angry?
      2. Assume the problem is a problem of numbers. Try performing the following operations on it: addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, percentages, moving a decimal place.
      3. Assume the problem is sabotage.
    4. I’ve picked an approach: Assume the problem is sabotage. (Because, of course!)
    5. I’m going to write my little heart out about my too-hot-to-bear yard, as if it were an issue of sabotage, and see where it takes me. (Still playing? Pick a suggestion, apply it to your dilemma, and write your little heart out with me!)

    The sun beats down on my tiny plot of green. Only it’s not green. It’s brown. Baked. Rimmed with twigs and sticks that used to be shrubs—and punctuated by a few upright posts that once were magnolia trees. Clearly, my yard has been sabotaged. I believe someone comes every night and pours acid into the soil. But why? What have I done to deserve this? I’m such a good neighbor! I pick up bits of paper left behind by the recycling guys. I pat all the dogs and coo at the babies. I even pay my HOA bill on time.

    Still, it’s obvious. I have an enemy. And a clever one. One who knows that all I want is green and quiet and shade to meet me when I walk out my front door. One who wants me to be miserable for some reason. One who wants me to put my house on the market and move out . . . so they can move in?

    Yes, that’s it! One of my neighbors covets my little sun-baked house and yard. But who could it be? Lorraine, three doors down? I’ve noticed her squinting proprietarily at my place when she walks to the mailbox. Her son recently lost his apartment. Could Lorraine have her eye on my house for Matthew?

    Or maybe it’s Kevin. A) Kevin hates cats—and I feed the ferals in our ‘hood. B) Kevin’s own house is lopsided. (And who knows what else is wrong with it.) Maybe Kevin wants to walk away from his crooked little abode and set up housekeeping in mine, which, while unfortunate in its orientation to the sun, does at least sit evenly on its haunches.

    Oh! No! I’ve got it! It’s Angela!! I wouldn’t buy Girl Scout cookies from her bratty little Missy, and this is payback! Plus, my kitchen is twice the size of hers, so if she forces me out, she’ll have room to set up her own cookie-baking operation (or meth lab; I have my suspicions about Angela) and give the Scouts a run for their money!

    * * *

    So. How did that go for you?

    For my part, while I have yet to resolve my desert-yard problem, I did have a lot of fun. And I could imagine continuing forward from here with A) a mystery about a woman who is actually the target of neighborhood sabotage, or B) a drama about a woman drifting into clinical paranoia, or C) a psychological thriller about a woman who is both clinically paranoid AND the target of sabotage!

    The larger point, however, is that I wrote something quite different than I usually would have (if I’d written at all!) because I was dragged so far from my typical literary course by Elbow’s suggestion my brain had to leap a hundred hurdles-worth of synapses just to begin.

    For that, and so much more, I am grateful to Peter Elbow, whose own struggles with writing resulted in him finding around-the-back hacks to get (more! fresher!) words on the page every time.

» News Archive

Jamie Morris is an outstanding resource for writers who want to reach the pinnacle of success. She’s a warm, encouraging angel on your shoulder, but she’s also got the skills, experience, and good judgment to help you vanquish your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. If you’re a writer with serious ambitions, work with Jamie. Elizabeth SimsYOU'VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams (Writers Digest)

Hey, J. Just wanted to say "THANKS!" for the coaching session today. It was amazingly productive. I now have actionable clarity for revising one novel that's been giving me grief, and finishing another that had stalled in the middle. Pretty good work for one hour, no?

Jamie! You're so wonderful! Our time together is so magical. Thank you for reigniting my passion and gifting me focus and insights. I'm thrilled about the new direction for my book. You're all things goodness. So profoundly grateful for you and the forces that guided us together for this. —Kristen Schneider, Ayurveda Clinician, founder of Wellblends

Jamie, you are so special to me and the most amazing person to come across my path at this particular time. It feels like a spiritual connection, and I do believe you are this story’s fairy godmother, as you are not only making sense of what’s already been done, but giving a new perspective on what is yet to be. Big Shared World is already better thanks to your involvement. I am better because of you. Wow! Colleen Waterston, BigSharedWorld.com

Jamie, I owe you ten bucks, but I really owe you so much more! You’ve pushed me to uncover truth in my writing. I've learned so much about writing, so much about myself. Thanks for the opportunity. I look forward to more. —Liz Rash, memoirist

Working with Jamie Morris is a writer’s wet dream. She is incredibly professional, with a strict adherence to deadlines—and she’s got a keen eye and is full of tremendous big-picture insight and ideas. She sees the opportunities in brainstorming and works in a direction that truly meets project goals. At the end of it all, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy after getting your authentic voice and vision in the world. Did I mention she is tons of fun, too? She brings her personality and spirit to the work, and infuses the process with joy. If you want to take your work to the next level, then call Jamie immediately. And it will be our little secret if you feel all flush with the warm glow of big dreams realized, afterward. Because, you know, you will. —Theresa Pridemore, creator, THE PORTLAND TAROT

Jamie: I am so freaking in love with you, this process, and my book! People dread asking me how I am because I tell them in nauseating detail how much I love my book and my writing coach and what we are up to! I feel like I won the lottery! Cara Gubbins, PhD, THE DOLPHINS OF HILTON HEAD (University of South Carolina Press); EVERYDAY WOMEN CREATING EXTRAORDINARY LIVES (JADA Press)

Get your happy dance on, Jamie! I got an agent!!! I'm so excited. Get ready to grace my acknowledgement page!!! You were so integral in helping me with my character arcs in FORETOLD—and with the underlying theme! Remember when we met in downtown Mount Dora? That session was so good. Our ideas totally merged, and magic happened! —Melissa Abrehamsen, FORETOLD (represented by Siobhan McBride of Serendipity Literary Agency)

Running a soul-centered business doesn’t come easy. Unless you have Jamie Morris at your side. Her coaching is soul-to-soul. She offers resources and stories to help navigate one’s journey. Jamie’s enthusiasm and spot-on intuition enhance her talents as a writer and editor. She’s a natural cheerleader of bloggers and businesses, and a magician who performs stellar work on any written endeavor. Tabitha Dial, MFA, author, poet; Tarot and Tea Leaf Readings by Tabitha

I must report on the truly remarkable day that Jamie Morris created for LifeArt Studio, called “Your Creativity is in the Cards.” I’m tellin’ you, it was A-MAZING. Guided by Tarot expert and workshop leader, the inimitable Jamie, we each created something new, a result of the encouraging and provocative prompts she gave us. If you missed the experience with Jamie Morris, I’m really sorry. I so wish I could give that experience to all LifeArt followers. —Lezlie Laws, LifeArt Studio
 
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