Tag Archive | Writing Life

In Which I Make a Few Announcements

Pre-order Midnight In Your Arms in Paperback!

Dear Reader–

I’m excited to announce that for those of you who have no plans to jump on the digital bandwagon just yet, the paperback edition of Midnight In Your arms will follow the digital release by less than a month! That’s right–MIYA will come out in print on November 27th 2012, hot on the heels of the initial e-book release date of October 30th, so there are two exciting months in a row for me! It’s kind of nice, splitting it up like that–it gives me to things to which I can look forward!

That means that I will to do some giveaways in both digital and print formats, along with a few other seasonal/themed goodies, so watch out for that on Twitter, Facebook, my HarperCollins Microsite, Goodreads, and right here on the official website! What else will I be giving away? Good question! I was thinking I would give away some little luxuries that, for me, always make the dreary stretch of time between Halloween and Christmas just a little more glamourous and luxuriant. I want to give my fans some little gifts that make them feel pampered–like gourmet tea in seasonal flavours, themed nail polish sets, decadent chocolate made right here in the Purdy’s factory. Little things that go hand in hand with romance! What do you think?

In other news, it’s time to submit this year’s crop of novels and novellas to the RWA Rita and Golden Heart Awards. Will you be submitting? I know I will–this is my very first time, and I’m a little nervous! I wish all of you the very best with your submissions, and I hope you win! You deserve it.

Love,

Morgan

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In Which I Return To The Schoolroom In Order To Better Understand An Elusive Character

Dear Reader,

Do you ever get the feeling a character isn’t telling you everything there is to know about him or herself?

I’ve been getting this feeling a lot lately, and it makes writing very difficult for an author trying to finish a story by a certain date. Of course, I can always just push through, and discover my characters as I go along—but that’s a pastime best left to the reader side of the equation. No one wants to read a novel written by an author who clearly doesn’t know her own characters well enough to have coffee with them, let alone write an entire 400 page opus about their lives. Reader, have you ever encountered a book like that? I certainly have, often enough to know that I NEVER want to write one!

So what is a writer to do when she has shy and unforthcoming characters who want to shuffle their feet and button their lips when it is most crucial that they reveal themselves in every stunning particular?

Well, I’ve come up with a theory I’m going to call Dear Writer: You Know More Than You Realize! In Fact, You Know EVERYTHING.

Because it’s true, isn’t it? As much as we feel like the characters we write exist outside of ourselves, in our more logical moments we writers have to admit that they don’t. Our characters come from within us, inspired and influenced by the world around us, which we filter back inside of ourselves to produce characters that are well-realized, dead-ringers for actual living and breathing specimens of humanity. Therefore, there is NOTHING we don’t know about our characters. All we have to do is find the right tool to drag the information up out of the recesses of our minds and hearts, rather like those crochet-hook type implements the ancient Egyptians used to poke up post-mortal noses in order to trawl for the brains of the dead. Gross? Maybe. But very similar to the delicacy and precision with which characterization must be handled.

So what sort of crochet-hook type brain-trawler have I been using to help me realize that I know everything about my character? It’s simple, Dear Reader: I’ve gone back to the schoolroom. Remember all of those brightly-coloured Xerox-copied worksheets your grade-school teachers used to pass around for homework and in-class assignments? Ever feel nostalgic about filling them in, with the clock ticking peacefully and your classmates scribbling stealthy notes about who likes who, with check-boxes labeled Yes, No, Maybe So? I certainly do. So I’ve started doing worksheets again, my friends. Characterization worksheets that help me dredge up every last morsel of information I don’t think I know about my characters’ motivations, back-stories, flaws and virtues, physical characteristics and mannerisms—you get the picture. And guess what? The Worksheet System really works! AND it’s fun!

Here are some of the ones I’ve been using, rummaged up on the internet:

Anne Olwin’s Character Development Sheet

The Writer’s Craft Character Development Worksheet by Sherry Wilson

The EPIGUIDE.COM Character Chart for Fiction Writers by Kira Lerner and Toni Walker

I hope the writers among you find these worksheets as fun and helpful as I have—and that you rest assured that you really DO know everything about your characters—even though I am sure they will still manage to surprise you in new and innovative ways, just to keep you dancing on your toes.

As for you readers, I hope the books you read are written by writers who know that they know everything about their characters—and consistently prove it, without tedious information dumps left in steaming, impenetrable piles about the place. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Happy reading and writing!

Love, Morgan.

In Which I Get The Call

Dear Reader,

It happened. It finally happened. I recently sold my first romance novella to Avon Impulse. It’s called Midnight In Your Arms, and will be coming out in time to chill your bones for Halloween 2012!

When I say that it’s my first romance novella, it really is true—I’ve never written a romance novella before. I’ve written two and a half romance novels, however. But that’s another story. Before Avon Impulse started putting out stand-alone novellas, and Harlequin did the same with their Briefs and Bites series, I wouldn’t have known what to do with a romance novella  had I written one. For some reason, even though there are now places for them to go, I still didn’t write one until just under three weeks ago. Let me tell you, I’m sure glad I did! It’s been like an instant gratification party around here ever since. I wrote the story over the space of about 30 hours on May 29th-30th. I sent it in on May 30th about an hour before midnight, using the electronic submission process Avon has now—and a week later, I woke up to an email from Chelsey Emmelhainz at Harper Collins asking me to please call her because she loves my novella and wants to make an offer on it! Her exact words? “I loved it and would like to make an offer on it!” A dozen little words that were music to my ears! Or rather, beautiful paintings for my eyes, since I was reading them :^}

As soon as I swallowed my heart several dozen times, I did just that—and we had a lovely conversation, in which we discussed releasing the novella as a stand-alone book, when I had thought it would be part of a collection, because I had written it in response to a call for submissions for a themed anthology. But Avon liked it enough to release it on its own! So it was even more exciting than I thought—because now I get my own cover, with my own name on it, and all of that lovely, self-important stuff that writers dream about.

I called my husband right away, and told him, and he was so excited! It’s wonderful to have support at home, and I’m really lucky. When he got home from work that night, he brought take-out from our favourite restaurant that is now very far away ever since we moved out of the city, so it was a special treat indeed. I love having someone to share all the special moments with—and isn’t that what writing romance is all about? Bringing two people together who weren’t quite complete living apart. Giving them each someone to love them and support them, cherishing their dreams as if they are their own. That’s what I want to do with each pair of lovers in every book I write. That’s what I want to do with Midnight In Your Arms, which, no matter what happens in my career, will always be my First—and as we all know, your First matters!

And now I will go, because I am elbows deep in edits, trying to make a stable time loop make sense.

You’ll understand when you read it.

Love, Morgan.