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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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Disappearance of Characters

I admit it. When I was writing Heart Choice, the FamCat, Drina, disappeared for long periods of time. Now, I know that much of my following is there to see the Fams and enjoy them, and Drina was a real piece of work – a Queen Of The Universe cat. So I had to go back and put her in, or give her reasons for not being in a scene that I'd written and had no part for her. I think I was successful on both counts.

But disappearing characters – along with vanishing plot points – is something to be very careful of. It can pull the reader from the book, which is the worst thing that can happen, because if a reader puts down the book, they might not get back to it, might recall the next time they're in the bookstore and a new book of mine is out that they never finished the last. If they start thinking of wasted money, I am DOOMED. Then someone has to prompt them to buy the book, and who knows if that will happen? And yes, I know I've said this before. But THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE, so I will repeat it. Probably at least once a month.

So when I notice a disappearing Fam, I put at the top of my ms chapter or scene "INSERT DRINA" Then I do or I give a reason why Drina isn't there. She spent a while pouting in Heart Choice, and given her character that was fine.

May your scenes contain all the characters you need today.


Blogger moonhart said...


I like to use a cast of thousands. Though I try not to just be including interesting characters for no reason. But, I can't have them all come along for the journey like Dorothy. If they are in a scene to fulfill a certain purpose, I can let them go.

I know that I have 3 groups of characters doing different things and each group needs to be tracked so I don't lose one.

I so wish I knew what I was doing. Some days I feel like a fraud because I am clueless. I tell the characters to go away but they won't. At least they haven't all been bugging me for their own stories...yet.


A nice simple category length novel would have been so much less complicated.

Happy Birthday!!!!


10:26 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Well, I keep MEANING to narrow down my cast, but it keeps growing and growing...I really think that I might go overboard.

Good luck on your tracking!

5:02 PM  

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