Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Morgans Write

A lot of people wonder, why do writers write? Frankly, writers ask themselves that on a daily basis. The Morgans are no exception. So we thought today would be a good time to discuss why we think we write, when there’s a million and a half other things we should be doing (like laundry and ski-joring). If you ever wanted to get into the head of an author, this is your chance times two.

Jmo: For me writing is like an ongoing TV show in my head and I can’t stop watching. When a story is flowing I can’t wait for the next word to hit the screen. Even though it’s all coming from my head, I honestly have no clue what is going to happen from one minute to the next. Sure, I think I had some idea where the plot is taking me, but the characters have ideas of their own and throw me for a loop every time I write.

Morgan O: I'm a visual person, so I can see Jmo's point about the TV show, but I'm deeper into the characters in another way I guess. I don't always see the action, but I feel it. That's probably how I can get so deep into third person, I put myself in my character's body and then act out the scene as if I'm them, looking out through their eyes. What are they feeling, thinking, hearing, smelling, or tasting? These are the things I reach for when writing. Anything to avoid cleaning house!

Jmo: First person is easier for me, because I like to tell the story from one person’s perspective. I think it helps draw a reader into the story. In the majority of my books, the main character talks to the reader. When someone reads my books, I’d like them to feel like they’re reading a letter from a friend, someone they can identify with on an emotional level to a certain degree. That isn’t to say, I don’t like a third person narrative. As a writer, third person frees you to explore the psyches of all your characters and get into their motivations, even the baddies. So, it’s like letting your multiple personalities out to play.

Morgan O: First person has to be done just right, and I have to admit you've got the touch. I haven't been brave enough yet. Besides, I like to peek out of other people's eyes. Learning how to focus and drill down into a person's thoughts has been a very interesting journey. It also lets me weave a truly wicked plot. I guess the description I like best is stolen from Mel Brooks, Spaceballs I think, Unbeknownst to [so and so], but knownst to us... That saying lets my inner imp out to wreak havoc on perfectly unsuspecting characters.

Jmo: Inner imp. I like it! There are times my writing is like that. Because my characters say and do things I would never do in my life. I’m not crazy. I’m just exercising my Inner Imp. Don’t think it would work as a defense in a court of law, but for writing it is perfect.

Morgan O: The hard part is stepping away from the computer, for me at least. I love the world inside my head. It was a great comfort to me the year the husband and I were split because he was working in Alaska while I was working Colorado and the kid was finishing Middle School. The writing filled many lonely hours and my characters became very close friends. I love visiting with them and catching up on what they're doing. Sometimes I have to make myself throw a boulder in their happy paths.

Jmo: True, writing is a lonely occupation. You have to have a solitary mind to be a writer. When I was a kid, stories were always my best friends, whether I was reading them or making them up, using my toys as the characters. Growing up, pictures replaced the toys in my storytelling. It would take years for the words to take over the visual images I used to tell the stories in my head but the images are still there. I’ve just found a way to translate them into words.

Morgan O: I almost agree with your comment about a solitary mind. Almost. For me, I've found that I must have a community around me for my writing to be any good. By this, I mean like minded individuals. They may not write, or even read, what I write, but the very fact they understand the process makes their support and even critical opinions invaluable. I couldn't have improved as much as I have in the last three years by taking classes. I'm hands-on and working with very supportive crit partners has value I can't begin to put a price tag on.

Jmo: That is so true. A talented author can’t get very far without someone to rein their imaginations, and more importantly, egos in. Every time I put my name on a book, there are three or four more names that belong right there along side mine. If you’re an author and can’t say that, you’re either very good or deluding yourself. Care to guess which?

Morgan O: I’m very good! LOL. Seriously, so, really, what it boils down to is each writer is crazy in their own special way, which is why no two people will ever write the same story, even when given the same information.

Jmo: As I’ve gotten a little older—not old, just older—I think I write because the dreams of my youth have either become truth or changed in their perspective. When I was younger, the stories were about the future, wild and insane in their scope and depths. Now, the depth comes from the life I’ve led and the experiences that have shaped the person I am today and not the person I thought I’d be. Could I have been a published author, twenty years ago or even ten years ago? I REALLY don’t think so. For one thing, the inspiration for everything I write wasn’t in my life and I was too plain na├»ve to realize the stories aren’t in my head screaming to get out. I’m screaming at them to get out so I can think.

Morgan O: And I think that sums it up. Long live insane writers and the editors who deal with them.

Oh, and let’s not forget, long live Anne McCaffrey.


Savannah Chase said...

I agree, what a great blog, you guys summed it up pretty well...Writing is a crazy thing on its own.....but when you are passionate about it, you cant help's just your love...your addiciton....

Jasmine Haynes said...

I second Savannah's comment, great blog! And I have to agree, writing is not a solitary project. I've always got other people to thank for helping me bring it all together, to point out things I missed. A lot of times, I know it in my head, but forget to put it down on the page. Being a writer is about daydreaming and people living inside my head and dying to take over (yep, i hear voices!), but being an author is about making it cohesive for someone else to really get it.

And both the Morgans do a really great job of that! Thanks for yet another very thoughful blog.

Jasmine Haynes
The Fortune Hunter, in stores NOW Don’t miss my November contest!

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Thank you, Savannah and Jasmine! As usual, Jmo pokes me into a comment and then the next thing you know, we have a blog.

I just have to say, I went on a Jennifer Skully reading frenzy last week *blush* when I should have been working. Great reads!

Coming later this week we have an interview with Queen of the Highland Historicals, Jackie Ivie. She's a hoot and I can tell you I've been in a hotel room with her... and a dozen other Alaska writers. If you ever get the chance to meet her, you MUST take the time to do so. Really great person.

Thanks so much for stopping by to read our blatherings!

Collette Thomas said...

I enjoyed reading through this blog. I think one reason I write is I love creating worlds that I alone can in some way control. I enjoy developing characters who after a while take on personalities that define them. Who compel me to learn what motivates them to do what they do. And of course I love to write to create a type of "life" puzzle that in the end is solved as well as makes some sense. Because as we all know reality in and of itself at times makes no sense.

Marie Roy
Canterville at Loose Id

Jasmine Haynes said...

Jennifer Skully thanks you so much, Morgan. We're (the royal WE) are so glad you enjoyed.

And I look forward to the Jackie Ivie interview! The two Morgans always ask great questions!

Jasmine Haynes
The Fortune Hunter, in stores NOW Don’t miss my November contest!

Jenna Leigh said...

JMo, you are old, but you're goooood. Morgan O, loved Halo, it was great!

Cool blog yall, but seriously, what the hell is ski-joring? And also that laundry thing, someone explain that one to me too. *winks*

Morgan, I love when people make references to the white fluffy stuff like it actually does fall out of the sky. Aahh, yeah, that's funny, I don't care who ya are. *snickers*

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Welcome Marie, and always happy to hear from Jenna!

Jmo and I have been plotting tonight... Jackie Ivie's interview will be posted this Saturday and we just wrote up a bunch of questions for Skylar Sinclair. Now we need an Editor or Agent... who has one they want to share with us? Jasmine? Jenna? Marie? Think you can talk yours to open up to the Diaries?