Tuesday, December 18, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

Conflicts. Stories are all about em. But an early writing seminar I attended claimed there's one conflict romances can't have--the romance itself.

I still don't understand that. I think it's something to do with, "They want each other. So she'll have him, and he'll have her." End of story. Or rather, no story.

But there is one thing I do understand. The main question in romance is "Why can't we be together?"

It took me years to codify, but there are four groups of reasons. You're welcome to comment if I've missed one.

Why can't we be together?

  • Her problem.
  • His problem.
  • A couple problem.
  • A problem outside the couple.

How about some simple examples?

Why can't we be together?

Her problem: She was burned by Mr. Wrong cheating on her, so she doesn't trust Mr. Right when he comes along.

His problem: He's from the rough side of town and doesn't think he's good enough for a classy woman like her.

A couple problem: They're pretending to be married, but they aren't.

A problem outside the couple: Her father follows him around with a shotgun.

These are pretty stock situations, You'd have to dress them up with something new to actually use them. (For example, with the couple problem: They're pretending to be married, but they aren't. The only person who knows is their mutual best friend Frieda who is also the only person who believes these two are perfect for each other. Every chance she can, Frieda snarks at the "married" couple, how romantic they look together, how the husband got her ring exactly right, how the wife actually thinks his jokes are funny, etc.)

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

photo credit:
USPS Ford Cargo
Neither Rain Nor Sleet...--originally posted July 22, 2015.

Working on an edit deadline, I decided to wait until I had the time to properly put together a post for today. I even had a topic, I just wanted to have a clear schedule to find the right words.

Then I got sick. Not bad, but my throat and stomach are not very happy with me right now and I'm soooo sleepy.

But as any entertainer knows, the Post Must Go On. Or, as is inscribed in the James Farley Post Office in New York City (and it turns out is a lot older than that):
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

(From Wikipedia)
It reminds me of the book I'm releasing in September. A complete re-edit of the first novel I completed, Hot Chips and Sand rose out of my struggle to be both mother and successful career woman. Its a romantic comedy, but in it, I explore what it means to be a professional.

Some things have changed in the years since I first wrote the book. We no longer have stewardesses and the pile of greenbar reports I had my heroine tumble off the desk to distract the hero are so last century. But one thing that hasn't changed is the struggle to be professional in one's career. Is it dress for success? Being hungry to reach the top? Working eighty hour weeks?

I don't know. That's the lovely thing about a novel: I get to explore many of these from different points of view. But as far as being sick and still having to work, my hero sums it up nicely. "The client says, 'How are you today'? And you say, 'Not so good. But what can I do for you anyway?'"

Neither rain nor snow nor throat of sore can keep me from my appointed posts :)

More on Hot Chips and Sand coming soon, but I'm thrilled to share this gorgeous cover by EJR Digital Art!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

1T Status Update

Happy December!

Winding down the semester means winding up the projects. I'm hip-deep in schoolwork, good for my website, bad for writing.

I've been mentally working on Soul Mates, however. Some juicy twists coming. Once this semester ends, I'll have several weeks of straight writing. I'm also going to ask when second round edits for Night's Kiss are coming. Hopefully they won't collide with New Years.

If you haven't seen it, there's a special currently going on Hunt Mates. "Tired of the same old paranormal story? Love magic and mystery, humor and heart, steamy shifters and witty wizards? Give Hunt Mates a try." Check it out at your favorite store.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

4T Olio-Deep POV demystified--straight from the editor's mouth

Deep Point Of View is in, writing-wise. Are you sure your writing is making the grade? Dig into the root of the matter with Stacy Joy's second post on Demystifying Deep POV. Don't miss this one!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

3T Writing Tidbit

A conundrum for you:

Filter words. These are the words like "feeling" "seeing" "listening" which we're told distance the reader from being deep inside the point of view character's experience. They should be cut or rewritten. For example:

Filtered I heard the dog running through the dry grass and turned.
Good My ears pricked eagerly at the sound of the dog running through the dry grass, and I turned.
Better The joyous whisk of the dog's paws through the dry grass turned me.

Filtered I saw the monster coming.
Good My breath quickened at the sight of the approaching monster.
Better The monster! My heart leaped into my throat.

But here's the thing. When I describe what I'm doing, that's all physical. It's the exact words like feeling, seeing, and listening which take me inside my own head. Which to me seems contrary to the point of being paradoxical. Or maybe I'm not seeing it correctly.

Can anybody (hi, Helen :) ) help me out?

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. This is another of those posts.

Fairy Pools - Isle of Skye
Magic Happens When You Open Your Door and Let the Adventure Begin -- Guest Leigh Morgan--originally posted June 25, 2015.

You don’t have to travel out your door for magic to enter your bones and change the way you see the world, but it’s easier to do if you’ve got a wandering soul. I love to travel and would do more if time and resources allowed. That’s not technically true—if resources allowed, I’d find the time.

Getting a new perspective, quite literally by changing what we see, is just one of the things that makes travel a creative endeavor. Minds open. Art happens. And, sometimes a lit bit of something wonderful touches us and stays in our hearts and our minds forever. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

Good storytelling grabs me and scuttles me away to a different time, place, world that is not mine, but one where I love vacationing for a while. Great storytelling is like travel. It opens the mind, the heart, and leaves me moved in some elemental way. In Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “It’s a dangerous business...going out your door. You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

This summer I’ll be swept off to Scotland and I can’t wait.

Part of this trip is research for a series of novels I’m writing that are set in Scotland. They will be connected by setting and by Clan affiliation. I’ll be on the Isle of Skye, paying special attention to Clan Donald and Clan Macleod. I love research, especially the hands-on kind, so this will be an adventure for me. My daughter will also be in Scotland for most of the summer on an archeological dig on the Ness of Brodgar on Orkney. Had she not traveled to Orkney with us in 2009, she may not have even known about the excavation, much less have the opportunity to be a part of it.

See, travel is magic.

When we stayed on Orkney in 2009, we noticed that one of the farms across the Ness from us had tape marking off sections of land, some of which had clearly been dug by archeological experts. Being an inquisitive type (feel free to read: busybody) I asked the farmer what was going on. Apparently the farmer, who was more than happy to talk to us, had hired someone new to plow his field that spring. The gentleman he hired brought out equipment that dug deeper than usual and struck what is now being excavated—a huge Neolithic Temple complex on the Ness.

Ness of Brodgar excavation
How cool is that? The farmer wasn’t so thrilled then, but I bet he is now when he rents his house to tourists at greatly increased prices. We all got caught up in the story and now, six years later, our daughter gets to be part of history. Pure, unadulterated magic. And I get to write about it. Here’s a link to a National Geographic article about the dig, if you’re interested.


You don’t have to travel far for inspiration to crash into you and open your eyes to something wonderful. A song on the radio I couldn’t get out of my head was the igniting force behind my novel, Second Chances. A documentary on ancient Viking swords spurred the storyline in the third Warrior Chronicles book, Defending Destiny. Here’s a link to that documentary. Exceptionally cool stuff and the sword maker is from Wisconsin. Double dose of awesome there. A trip to our local Renaissance Faire with some costuming friends was the impetus for a scene in my Shute Pond novella, Midday Masquerade. And on my morning walk past a swampy marsh, I thought of a short murder mystery where I could off one of our town officials who is currently giving us grief—on paper folks, but it’ll still be satisfying. (Please feel free to imagine me grinning. I am.)

Going on adventures, large and small, near or far, sparks creativity, rekindles the spirit and lifts emotion like little else I’ve found. I’d love to hear about your adventures. Do they help get your creative juices flowing? Do you have a fantasy or dream adventure you’d like to take? If finances were no obstacle, where would you go, and what would you hope to experience?

image011 image013

We’re spoiled here in southeastern Wisconsin. We have numerous state and county parks. We have the world’s largest Celtic Festival and the world’s largest Music Festival at our lovely lakefront in Milwaukee. There’s music in the park most nights during the week and myriad ethnic festivals, block parties and street dances. Our Renaissance Faire is no more than ten minutes from my house. There is always an adventure waiting to happen in the summer, so finding one is easy.

I hope that whatever your dream adventure is, you’re able to experience it. I hope that the experience exceeds your expectations. I hope that you find a bit of magic in every story you read and every tale you tell. For me, that’s living the dream.

I’m giving away an e-book of your choice. Simply share an adventure you’ve taken or dream of taking. Mary will select the winner and I’ll forward your choice in the format you chose via e-mail. The covers are on the bottom, and if I’ve done my job correctly, there are links so you can read the blurbs.

I can’t wait to read your comments. Maybe I can even weave a few into a story.

Happy Summer...Let the Adventures Begin!

Leigh Morgan


Thursday, November 1, 2018

4T Olio--How to write a character that will make your editor cheer

Direct from the awesome editor of New York Times and USA Today bestselling books. Stacy Dawn tackles the mystery of deep point of view in a reveal-all that's a must-read. Check it out here.