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

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rules of Genre Writing

Writing has "rules." The breaking of these rules can mean a work is more literary than genre. And specific genre's have "rules," too: mystery, body by page 3; romance, the first man the heroine meets is the hero... Now most of these rules can be broken, especially after you know your craft. I can probably get away with (i.e. my editors will accept) breaking some rules that unpublished people can't. Nora Roberts can Do Anything She Wants -- why? because she has a huge following of readers, most of all because she is an excellent writer and knows her readers and rarely strikes a bad note.

One of the general rules of genre writing is "Don't Open With A Dream." Well, every few books, I have real problems with the first chapter. Sorceress of Faith was one of those. It would have been great if I could open on Lladrana as previously planned (see excerpt http://www.robindowens.com/reads/sorceress_of_faith.htm ) This would have worked, however I am writing Women's Epic Fantasy, so the main focus must be on Marian, and her story isn't as dramatic at this point as the hero's, Jaquar's.

And since I usually follow mythic structure and start in the "ordinary world" I needed a GOOD hook for Sorceress. So I started with a dream -- or a foreshadowing. After all, Marian HAS already heard the chants and chimes and gong that are projected into her past to Summon her into Lladrana.

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Naturally, when I get to the point in the book that was foreshadowed in the dream, it is MUCH nastier...

May all your hooks come easy today.

Love to all,
Robin

7 Comments:

Blogger Michele said...

Rules are everywhere, aren't they.

Loved the scene. Especially since I'm writing to let you know that I just finished Guardian of Honor.
Have to say, if this is a first book in the series, then the set up and introduction of the world building was much better than my other favorite series. (Heart)
Guardian was....a treat. Some of the descriptives were beautiful and inspired. There were a few that made me pause in appreciation, like the savoring of an exquisite line of poetry.
I look forward to your next story; in 2006 yes?
Your hero was introduced in the first book. Jonqal.. (I don't have name in front of me, so I know I spelled it wrong, sorry) I thought for sure the shadow monster was going to get him. So glad it didn't. How do you pronounce the little pink fairy's name again?..I mean, not her name, but what she is. Its a cool word.
I hope we will see her again?

Thank you again for writing another series that I eagerly look forward to following.
Warm regards,
M

7:50 PM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Thanks for the kind words! I DO hope I get better with every book, but always doubt. But this series has been in the back of my mind many, many years, so the unconscious has been working on it. ;)

Sinafin (sin-a-fin) is a feycoocu. Fay coo coo, and I TRIED to hyphenate it the first time I used it, both in Guardian and Sorceress. Alexa has a major secondary-character role in Sorceress and Sinafin is up to tricks again...

Love,
Robin

8:45 PM  
Blogger Toni Lea Andrews said...

Hey, I'm hooked. But then your books always do that to me.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

*grin*
Glad to hear we'll be seeing Sinafin again. That is a cheery thought.

Thanks for the pronounciation assist. I kept wanting to end the name as a cue, not coo. As I was reading, I waffled between the two.

Even though I didn't ask, thank you for the exciting news about Alexa. That's so awesome! I so enjoy stories that have familiar characters visiting and interacting throughout a series. I believe that it makes the "world" more real to the reader; gets us to care and become involved in the "world" where the stories take place.

My personal belief is that you lead the pack, so to speak, in this particular part of the genre. Few come close to you. You said, "but always doubt"; that ensures that you remain on your toes and not become complacent. I believe 'doubt' inspires you to question and not accept second best or the easier path.

Your blog of insights and tips always blows me away. It makes me a better reader. I don't think you can ever hear enough that I, and I'm sure many like me, appreciate and are grateful for your blog posts.

I may not always post comments, but I Do visit and read your blog.
Thanks!!!
M

6:04 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Thanks again, Michele, I wonder about the blog, whether it's too much all about me, but I DO try and yank the sucker back onto topic when I waver.

I believe in critique groups and first readers. I have both, and so far my books have been looked at by both before they go in.

Take care,
Robin

6:37 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

Wow, you are quick!
One final note..
Please DON'T stop talking about you.
It is NOT too much...I've not noticed any such thing.
You balance it fine.
I said you can "doubt", but NOT about your blog!!!
Stop that!!!! :-)
I visit lots of blogs, and believe me, you 'balance' better than most.
'nuf said.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Michele, I think I deleted your message accidently in the Ebooks topic when I was getting rid of a spammer. I will write more on Publishing Rights tomorrow, just for you ;)
Robin

6:22 PM  

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