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 02, 2005

Story Background, Story Threads “False” Set Ups

I was listening to an audio of one of J.D. Robb’s "In Death" books and thinking about story threads. These books are futuristic thrillers/mysteries, so the mystery thread is definitely there and I was following the “catch the killer” thread. Eve Dallas (the cop heroine) was setting up a sting operation, but, you see, I’ve already read the book and know that this sting never goes down. The plot climaxes and ends in a different way, and I don’t think this sting thread was a false trail.

I think this is story background that works something like this – I, the author, know the sting isn’t going to happen, but my heroine is closing in on the bad guys, what would she be doing? Setting up a sting, so that’s what she has to do. So that thread is started but never comes to fruition (sorry for the mixed metaphors -- seed is planted and never comes to fruition...).

For instance, in my own work (Heart Duel), throughout I mention a charity ball. In backstory (stuff that happens before the story starts and readers are told of it), Holm and Lark meet at the planning of it when Holm escorts his mother. Holm insists on taking Lark to the ball. But this never happens because I have a turning point set up that destroys their plans.

After a certain point in time as I was writing, I knew that this particular set up wasn’t going to happen – but Holm would have invited Lark and Lark would have worried about it, so I HAD to include that. And, in fact, the ball DID proceed and Lark met with someone who’d just come from it, she and Holm just missed it. So this is off stage stuff that makes your story richer.

Hope that all makes sense.

May you weave all your threads well today.


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