On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Do you SEE or HEAR your Characters?

I think most writers SEE their characters, almost like a movie in their mind's eye, with color, three dimensions and audio. I SEE the cold rain with frinks. I SEE the sangvile coalesce from creeping mist and raise a threathening, red-eyed, horribly pleased stare, then spread itself thin like a cobweb between two buildings to wait for prey. Or I see the tomcat Zanth trotting in like a bulldog after a night of exploration, cheerful it's breakfast time and he gets to bully the cook.

But some writers don't. Some HEAR their characters -- the conversations, the whisk of their clothes as they move, the grunts of a fight, then fill in the rest. So, many times these authors don't listen to music when they write. I do. I've even started soundtracks for my stories to help me get in the mood -- themes for my hero and heroine. Someday I'll put these up on my website (another thing I need to do this weekend, update the site). Other than that, I usually listen to music on my computer now, even my laptop. For general background music, I listen to http://www.mysticradio.com I like "new age" music. I like "world music" and "music from the heart of space." I like really big sweeping movie music when I need to jumpstart/kickstart my writing.

It's early now, and I am listening to birdsong, geese honking as they fly overhead. A jet is going by, occasional tires swish down the street to my left (east). A person rolling a wagon down concrete (gardening) woke me. I live in the city, in a city neighborhood that has a sense of style, so the noises I hear are city noises. Do they work themselves into my story? You bet. USE EVERYTHING.

Love to all,


Blogger Sela Carsen said...

I got here doing some blog hopping (Sylvia Day to Liz Maverick to here) although your books are on my keeper shelf and I ought to have been here MUCH sooner!!

But you have no idea how this post rang bells for me -- I'm a "hearer." There is more than one post on my blog about how my characters sound and a very early one on why I can't listen to music while I write. How perfect are you?!

7:45 AM  
Blogger moonhart said...

Hi Robin,

I hear my charcters. My stories come to me very much like a script. First drafts are mostly dialogue written in a vaccum. Little to no description.

I blame this on years of community theatre when I was handed a script and given little real direction. From those lines (sometimes as little as ONE line of dialogue) I had to extrapolate...a character. Goal, motivation, conflict.

I've never lost those lessons and so now I depend upon them as a writer.

I also have a "sympathetic ear" towards accents. I "hear" the rhythm and cadence of a southern drawl, the fast clipped NY speech, the lilt of an irish brogue or the engaging charm of a frenchman learning english.

And no I cannot listen to music. Sigh. I think soundtracks are a great idea, but not for me.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Thanks Sela and Moonhart -- I'm not sure of the percentage of "listeners" to "seers" are, maybe I'll do another informal poll...


6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think maybe a mixture of both. I know I don't have anything playing when I'm writing.

9:25 PM  

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