Between the Lines: Mastering the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing

Between the Lines: Mastering the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing

By: Jessica Page Morrell

There is a line which prospective authors like to toe.  That line is the line between reading too much about writing and not doing any writing, and doing too much writing without truly knowing what it is that they are doing.  Everytime I read a book about writing, I feel as if I’ve fallen off of some cliff that is that line and have plunged into the land of the people who read about how to write but never do any actual writing.  (Unless, of course, you count a blog post.  I don’t.)

There are many who would not recommend reading any books on writing, but merely using what talent you have and practicing until you are good enough to be published.  I’m not one of those people.  I believe that if you can learn something about writing and hone your skill a little between practicing, you should.  After all, if a book like this one will save you several rewrites, that’s that much more time you’ll have to write the sequel to your novel.

On to the book itself.  I’ve read several books on writing.  I’ll save you the list, albeit a short one, and suffice to say that some are a complete waste of time.  This book, Between the Lines, is not one of those.  In fact, if I were asked which of the books on writing I’ve read is the best, this would be it.  Morrell doesn’t mince words and tell you about the process of writing.  If you’re looking for methods and places of writing, this isn’t your book.  What you do get with this book, however, is a very indepth look at the elements that make a regular old novel into a great novel.  Even a bestseller.

Throughout the book, Morrell breaks down those elements and pairs them with specific examples that illustrate why they work and where.  I found that she didn’t preach or lecture about the elements either.  Each of the chapters/elements is given in very plain and understandable language and the author doesn’t assume that the reader is a complete idiot.  With each of the elements, I found myself thinking to my current work in progress and, in nearly every case, finding something (or several somethings.) came to mind immediately that could benefit from that element.

Overall, this is a very powerful book for anyone who writes, whether it be fiction or not.  As I said, I would recommend this book over any of the other writing books that I have read so far.  If you’re a budding author, I suggest you find yourself a copy of this book and give it at least one read.  Pick it up at your local library, B&N, or Amazon.  I think you’ll thank yourself, and I guarantee that if you use the advice given, your future editor will likely thank you as well.


  1. Many thanks for your kind words. When I was writing this book, my lovely and oh-so smart editor helped me delete about half of what I wanted to include. Some of the deletions hurt, but I’m still really proud of this book and I’m so grateful that you found it helpful. Keep in touch, Jessica

  2. Shane Ede says

    All deserved. Your book was truly one of the best books on writing I’ve ever read and has changed how I read things and write things.


  1. […] bells, she “Between the Lines: Mastering the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing“, which I deemed to be the best book on writing that I’ve ever […]

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