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, July 09, 2005

Writers and Readers = Art/Reader Feedback RULE OF 3

I got my first reader feedback for Heart Choice at amazon yesterday. "I really enjoyed this book. This has the quality and the intensity that she hasn't matched since Heart Mate..”

Of course I pay attention to feedback, whether in email or online. The most luscious is the "I love the books" the sighs are "write faster." Some readers ask questions, and if I feel of a mind, I answer. Some readers offer suggestions – "Heart" book titles, plot lines, what should happen...and I listen to those, too, and file them away.

I consider all my books to have intense moments and comic relief moments. That's how I like to write. Of the Heart books, I would have said that Heart Thief had my most alienated and tortured hero, was my darkest in some ways. Heart Duel would have been the lightest in tone until the end. Naturally I hope I’m getting better...

So I think about this comment and wonder and I just don't get it. Huh.

Obviously the reader is seeing something in my books that I am not noticing. Or is BRINGING
something to the books I don't know about, or TAKING something unique to her from my books. And that's pretty cool. I truly believe that what I put out as a book is something that the reader also experiences in unique ways. People will see different things, enjoy different moments. Like my style or not. But reading shouldn't be a static experience, but an interaction between the writer and the reader.

And that's what I love about being published. Yes, I would still write if I weren't published or would never be published again, but having people hold the book in their hands and minds and react and enjoy or object to my storylines is just incredible to me. WE make the book what it is.

And that's my philosophy for today. I've been thinking a lot about the philosophy of creators since I watched Firefly and listened to the commentary of Joss Whedon on Objects in Space (I borrowed it from a friend but have since bought my own set new). When he spoke about what he was doing in that episode, I thought, "Yeah, so?" Then I worried that I didn't get it. I'm not sure if I did get his point.

Since I think about what he was saying – objects in space – pretty often, it is commonplace to me, or if I missed the point altogether. So, he put that episode out and had a point he wanted to make. I have themes I like to explore, but I don't think I want people to see just one thing in my books.

Huh. (And that’s the rule of three...if you want to emphasize a word or phrase, use it three times).

Love to all,


Blogger Michele said...

I love your insights that you are sharing. It is appreciated!
Might I ask a rather humungo favor? Ironic that when I came to your blog, your focus was on "Feedback". I was dropping by to ask if you could, if you weren't too busy, or its against your personal perameters,to glance at my blog today? I did a short paranormal blurb and I was curious as to how an established author would view it. Just that "little' bit took about 2 hours. Time slipped by quick and I ended up with an even greater respect for the time you and your fellow OOTB's put into your craft.
If you do, please note the written part in question is towards the middle of page. Thanks!
If not, I understand. But thanks too for considering my request.
Happy Saturday!

10:02 AM  
Blogger moonhart said...


Of course every reader brings something unique to any story. Like an author's voice, the story is filtered through the reader's "eyes" of experience.

I *very* much felt Mitchella's inner conflict. Yes, I have the blessing of children, but I have had the option of any more children taken from me due to illness at 42. It was a life and death decision, and happened very quickly because it was very aggressive. There was no choice in the decision, and I hated feeling vulnerable and out of control.

Of course, I survived, but the loss of that option changed how I define myself as female. I still needed to mourn, accept and finally, move on.

Another reader, might not relate to that challenge on such an intimate and intense level as I did.

For me, Mitchella's challenge was far greater than Straif's and I wanted to slap him a number of times throughout the book. ;)

You create characters but each reader adds a certain shading to them in the reading.

A wonderful thing, really.


11:48 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

Thank you!!!!!!!
You made me think with your last question....I wonder if neighborhood Halloween parties held there for years might have played a role? I vaguely remember attending the last one ever held there.....interesting thought.
Other than that, no one remembers anything out of the ordinary.
Provoking questions though.
Thanks again!

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Another point of view... said...

A woman is more than a "breeding" cow; therefore the inferiority problem that Michelle seems to have, and feels to be obligated to appologize and/or to compensate for I do not understand. Straif seems on this context just your usual male chauvinist pig, even though he is shown as good looking, rich and sexy.
Moonhart, there are more than enough people in this world and there is more to a person than the physical!... Or I hope so.

2:30 PM  
Blogger moonhart said...

As I interpret the book...

Part of the poignacy is that on Celta, procreation *is* highly valued because it a relatively new society still struggling on a planet that is mostly unexplored and not totally welcoming. Humans have a toe-hold and a precarious one at that since so much of the world is unexplored.

Yes, there is more to a person than the physical. Without a doubt. In fact, I have found in the shift from mother to crone that much of my energies now go into creating things other than children,(though I do consider my books children on some level.);)

I understand the circle of life much better now. I have achieved wisdom and am stronger for it.


3:01 PM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Ok, for me (and since I am only 1/2 of the dynamics here, the writer), Mitchella was more hurt because of her family than anything else. Yes, she knew men didn't always want to commit because she was sterile, but she also knew she'd find someone to love her as she was. But EVERYONE else in her family was fertile and having children and that made her an outsider to the people she loved most.

As for Straif, what I wanted to come across was that a person with an obsession has blinders on, they won't consider other ideas unless something shakes them to the core. So naturally, in pursuing that obsession, he was a self-absorbed book...of course, I haven't read the book recently....


8:38 AM  

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