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 services and support to entrepreneurs. Because your success is my success.

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News, Notes & Quotes

  • WHAT DO THE WONDERUL WIZARD OF OZ, PERELANDRA, and JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL have in common?

    Their respective authors—L. Frank Baum, C.S. Lewis, and Susanna Clarke—each cooked up an entire world where their characters could play out their dramatic lives.

    (For OZ, Baum created a land divided into four segments and separated it from our world with the impassable Deadly Desert. In PERELANDRA, Lewis set a battle between good and evil on a Edenic planet not far from ours. And in JONATHAN STRANGE, Clarke layered a fictional tradition of “English magic” onto a [mostly] historical 18th century England.)

    This task—creating a fictional world with rules and people and a past—is called “worldbuilding.” A well-constructed fictional world includes, among other things, a distinctive landscape, a logical infrastructure, and consistent laws—natural, magical (where needed), and legislative.

    WRITING PROMPT: Conjure up a city of any sort. Sketch (or bullet point) a megalopolis or an intentional community or, heck, make like Kubla Khan and create yourself a stately pleasure-dome.

    Questions like these might help you think through the details:

    • What is the best thing about your city? The worst?
    • What do the folks of your fair city do to earn a wage?
    • Do they live well? Or are they living on the edge?
    • Are they divided into tribes? Factions? Castes?
    • What type of government lays down the law?
    • Has there ever been an insurrection? Should there be?

    Got it? Good! Now, get up close and personal with one of your citizens. Establish a goal for him—one your city impedes. For instance: Are ramps obsolete? Put your character in a wheelchair and give him a life-or-death mission (on the other side of town, of course). Is artistic expression illegal? Provide him with an unstoppable creative gift. Is education taboo? Let his hunger for knowledge entice him into a fictional world’s worth of trouble.

    Whatever the issue, use it to pit your character’s will against your city’s structure. And write until you discover what happens next.

    a7f604a669d5124c563006f046942956This prompt was inspired by The Emperor, tarot’s archetypal worldbuilder, shown here as Caesar, from The Golden Tarot (with permission of U.S. Games Systems). Associated with structure and governance, the tarot Emperor is firmly in charge. A gone-wrong emperor is willful and vengeful. He sacrifices his people’s well-being to satisfy his ego. A healthy emperor may care for the well-being of those in his rule, but, at best, he provides for the good of the many while sacrificing the good of the few.

  • JOAN MANSSON’S been busy! She’s published both her beautifully illustrated FINDING YOURSELF THROUGH COLLAGE and her charming LITTLE BOOK OF REIKI this month. Way to go, Joan!

    * * *

    MAXINE WEINTRAUB has assembled a lifetime of personal stories in her collection THE MAYONNAISE JAR. Friends and family will be delighted with her humorous, appreciative take on these special moments in her life.

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    Big shout out, too, to ALAN ZEMEL on receiving his Tai Chi teaching certificate from the Institute of Integral Quigong and Tai Chi!

  • HERE IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, IT’S FALL, the season of harvest, which rolls steadily into winter, the season of hunkering down, of mending nets, of dreaming in the dark. And what if, under the spell of that winter, in all that dark, during all those long, quiet hours, a dream should catch fire in the belly of the dreamer? Then, like a three- or four-months ripening womb, what was once just a glimmer will start to show in spring, that season of surging rivers, of buds swelling on what were just skeletal branches the day before.

    But if that dream happens to be a big writing project? A novel? A memoir? A collection of short stories? Then be prepared: That quickening may take a while. The writing life has its own seasons—among them, a dark incubation, a time when a project may seem to have gone retrograde, to have lost its purchase. That season is the writer’s winter, the quiet dark in which a writing dream twists and threatens to slip between the fingers of our unconscious.

    In her essay Angst and the Second Book,from her collection THE OPPOSITE OF FATE, Amy Tan writes about the lengthy gestation of her second novel, THE KITCHEN GOD’S WIFE, during just such a writer’s winter.

    Each morning . . . I would dutifully sit at my desk, turn on the computer, and stare at the blank screen. . . . I wrote with persistence, telling myself that no matter how bad the story was, I should simply go on like a rat in a maze. . . . And so I started to write . . . about a woman who was cleaning a house. . . . After thirty pages, the house was tidy, and I had found a character I liked. I abandoned all the pages about the tidy house. I kept the character and took her along with me to another house. I wrote and then rewrote, six times, another thirty pages, and found a question in her heart. I abandoned the pages and kept the question. . . . I wrote and rewrote one hundred fifty pages and then found myself at a crisis point. The woman had turned sour on me. . . . I felt like the rat who had taken the wrong turn at the beginning and had scrambled all this way only to reach a dead end.

    Tan goes on to talk about many other dead ends she found on her eventual way to THE KITCHEN GOD’S WIFE. She counts seven attempts. Among other morals we could take from the essay is this: A big writing project can take a long time to ripen. During this time, it may look like nothing (or less than nothing!) is happening, but on the inside, things are shifting, developing, taking shape. Given enough time and space, the big writing dream may well grow into something recognizable.

    WRITING PROMPT: During these dark months, take time to slip beneath the holiday glitz and glitter and listen to the fluttering hopes of stories that might want to dream themselves awake in spring. Prepare the soil for those that will settle and take root. Listen in the dark for their tiny voices. Jot down what you hear. Keep your notes safe in the quiet of your own heart, until you feel one or more of them stir. Then fertilize, water, and make space for them to grow.

    6a00d8341cfb6453ef0134864fecba970c-500pi

    This writing prompt was inspired by The Empress of the tarot deck (shown here as The Gardener, from Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot). Tarot’s Empress is associated with fecundity, fruitfulness, harvest, and pregnancies of every kind—and with the patience and nurturance it takes to bring those pregnancies to term.

     

  • CHICK O’BRIEN wrote to say that his book, DEIRDRE A WOMAN FROM CLARE, which he describes as “a love story wrapped around a mystery,” and which is set in Ireland in 1915, is soon to become a movie! Alexander Lenzi will produce. Congrats, Chick!

    * * *

    JOYCE SWEENEY, award-winning YA author, has a book of poems in the oven. Her latest poetry collection, WAKE UP, will be available in February, through Finishing Line Press. Awesome news, Pard!

» 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: 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)


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, founder, Wellblends; author, YOUR LIFE IS MEDICINE: Ayurveda for Yogis

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


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)


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


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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