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

  • BETTER THAN A THOUSAND DAYS OF DILIGENT STUDY is one day with a great teacher. So says an old Japanese proverb. But you won’t even need a whole day for this exercise! You might, however, want to set aside an hour or two … perhaps with a cup of tea at your side. You’ll also want to gather some supplies: paper, a pen, and something to bookmark passages—highlighter? sticky notes? We’re going old-school, here!

    WRITING PROMPT
    First, choose your “teacher.” This would be a writer whose style you really admire. Grab several examples of her work—articles, books, essays, stories, poems, depending on her genre—to have at hand. Next, take your time browsing through the pieces you’ve chosen. Be on the lookout for passages (lines? paragraphs? stanzas?) that are particularly pleasing to you, and bookmark them in some way.

    After you’ve made it through your stack, revisit the passages you’ve marked. Now, grab that pen and a piece of paper, and simply, but with Zen-like attention, copy one (or more) of the passages exactly. This will give you almost a literal feel for the way the author puts together a paragraph (or composes a stanza or delivers a punchline). As you write, notice which parts of the passage give you particular pleasure to copy.

    Once you’ve completed your copy-catting, take a few moments to name (in writing—bullet list, anybody?) what you think the writer is doing particularly well in that passage. Then, imagine how you might benefit from (further) developing the skill(s) the author demonstrates there.

    FOR EXAMPLE
    I picked a passage from the first chapter of Julie Compton’s Rescuing Olivia (used with permission) which I particularly admire.

    “Mr. Mayfield?”

    [Olivia’s] father looked up over the top of the reading glasses as if he was surprised to see Anders still in the room.

    “Did I do something to offend you, sir? Is there a reason you don’t want me to see her?”

    The man leaned back into his chair and sighed. “Olivia’s mother and I think that you have done quite enough for her, Andy. I’m sure the two of you have had a hell of a time together—God knows I cringe to think of the details—but it’s time for her to come home and be with family. If she’s lucky, that is.”

    For a moment, Anders stood speechless, staring at him and trying to process the meaning of what he’d just said. What he’d just accused him of. If Anders had been a different sort of man, more like Lenny, he would have considered taking a swing at the guy. But if he’d been more like Lenny, he would never have been standing there discussing Olivia with her father. Olivia would never have been in his life.

    “Are you saying you think I caused the accident? That it was my fault?”

    Her father had turned his attention back to his damn papers, and he answered this time without even looking up. “You were driving the motorcycle, weren’t you?”

    As I was copying out this passage (long hand!), I noticed how much I enjoyed the “For a moment …” paragraph. I love the way it takes me winging out of the immediate moment into the consideration of Lenny, a character I’ve yet to meet, but now am eager to. I also like how subtly Compton slips in backstory here—not only doesn’t it slow the scene, but somehow it creates suspense. I’d really like to make backstory do double-duty in my own work—and be able to tuck it in as seamlessly as Compton does!

    UM … AND THEN?
    Once I’ve completed this exercise, I trust my inner writer to take what it likes and leave the rest. But at times, it seems I assimilate the techniques I’ve identified and admired in an author’s work, with little further attention beyond the mere doing of the exercise. Evidently, in the words of my pal Kathleen (quoting a Zen master!), “The work will teach you how to do it.”

    This post was inspired by the Hierophant, the teacher of the tarot deck. The Hierophant, who knows what’s worked in the past, suggests you learn from those who have been successful. In this way, you stand on a sturdy foundation as you prepare to make your own creative mark. Or, as my friend Daily Tarot Girl Kate said about the Hierophant, recently, “There’s something to be said for learning from people who have walked the path before you and using their way of doing things to save yourself time and energy.”

    Here, the Hierophant is represented by Hermione, as “The Scholar,” from nasubionna’s Harry Potter Tarot (used with permission). Hermione is a character who studies conventional ways and wisdom—before putting her own brilliant spin on what she’s learned.

  • ELIZABETH SIMS’ recently published CRIMES IN A SECOND LANGUAGE starts when protagonist Elnice Coker and her husband Arthur, retired schoolteachers, move from Indiana to the Hollywood Hills in a last-ditch attempt at novelty and happiness … and then the (fabulous!) wild ride begins! Mystery readers, get on board. You’ll be glad you did!

    * * *

    KRISTEN SCHEIDER, founder of Wellblends, has a new book out. YOUR LIFE IS MEDICINE: AYURVEDA FOR YOGIS, for which the late Dr. Wayne Dyer was consultant editor, is for anyone seeking a more balanced, healthful life. Check it out!

    * * *

    SHERRY TURNER’S long-awaited memoir about her time spent care-giving for her beloved mother-in-law, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, titled, LIFE WITH MOLLIE, BUT REALLY IT’S ALL ABOUT ME, is now available.

    * * *

    LAURA BOLDIN FOURNIER’S first picture book was published late last year. Big congrats, Laura, on AN ORANGUTAN’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and on your profile on Inky Girl!

    * * *

    My good pal (and brilliant writer) MARY K SWANSON (nope, no period after the “K”) is in mid-portfolio-site creation. But OMG, even as a WIP, it’s GORGEOUS. Take a look at her Writing Dreamer site.

  • 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.

    * * *

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

» 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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