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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Monday, November 21, 2005

Years Pass...timelines, details and AHA! moments

I had a problem in Heart Quest with timeline. I've been moving along the timeline fairly rapidly because I know people want Tinne Holly's story and that can't happen very quickly after Heart Duel. So, HeartMate opens at the round year of 400 years after colonization, and Heart Quest is now at 405.

But when first writing Heart Quest I didn't KNOW how much time had passed in the story and some of the scenes were written as if only a couple of months passed, but most were written as if a year and a season had passed. So when I came up to a point where I ran into a scene that was on the shorter timeline I sometimes had problems.


Like when I have a house being restored in Heart Choice that should not still be empty after a year and a season in Heart Quest. Why is it empty? Restoration is going slowly? The owner had a sentimental attachment to it? There's a BAD ROOM in it? Violent death had taken place there? All ok, but not great reasons. I actually went back and forth as to whether I should adjust the timeline backward, but then that would mean a baby was not born yet and I have it on stage a few times. Nope, no going back.

The blank page helped me. I just picked up off the hook I'd left the night before and started writing. I put in that the restoration was going slowly, then decided that wasn't a good opening hook and I needed something faster, and opened a bit earlier in the scene. And with the first words, hit an "AHA!" moment.

I realized I'd had something (as usual) set up in Heart Choice that I could work off of in Heart Quest.

The nobles with great Flair (psi power) live in Residences (mostly looking like great manors or castles on Earth -- hey, it's my world!) http://www.accessromance.com/scrapbook/index.php SCROLL DOWN AND CLICK CLIVEDEN, or go HERE: http://robindowens.com/worlds/worlds_heartchoice.htm#pictures. These Residences are sentient houses. They are alive -- characters can address them and get the library (computer info) but they also have personalities of their own. Well, in Heart Choice I have this house that is becoming sentient. So why is it still empty? Because it is taking time being "born." Easy...just a few sentences here and there, and the matter is explained and my readers will never know the struggle I went through.

And yes, writers pay attention to details, especially when Years Pass.

May all your details be easily included today,


Anonymous a reader said...

Restorations, if done properly can take a long time, especially if you want to be authentic, faithfully matching the new with the old: fittings, moldings, etc. etc. We worked in houses that took from 3 to 5 years at time - imagine how long it would take with a real mansion! even with lots of money you have to get the right craftsmen, material and on and on....
I do not know about sentient but there are houses with atmosphere; even I, with no ESP at all, can feel it at times. Very unnerving!
Looking forward to this one fun house - does it have a name or a new family?

4:50 PM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Well, things can go a little faster with magic/Flair...but thanks for the ideas. Heart Quest is rough draft stage and I could probably work something in when editing.

In Heart Choice it is Kalmi Lobelia's house and seen in several scenes near the end of the book -- later in that book and in Heart Quest -- I call it the turquoise house (and now have learned how to spell turquoise). As with all "characters" it may or may not turn up in the future...


9:33 AM  
Anonymous a reader said...

did you know that the turquoise is the only precious stone that "dies"?

1:48 PM  

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