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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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Worldbuilding -- Stopping a Scene

Taking time out from my writing to blog what just happened. I sat down to write a hopefully touching scene where my heroine Dufleur Thyme arrives at her former Residence (which was "blown up by her father experimenting with time").

As I wrote, I learned more about the Thymes (worldbuilding) than I knew before -- and all this stuff SERIOUSLY SLOWED the scene and drained the power from it. (I'll post it raw, below). So I'll keep ONLY what I need for this scene and put the rest somewhere else, since I think all the information is important for the book, except one bit which might be an in-joke.

If the information WASN'T going to be paid off in the story (i.e. the bit about the cabin), I would include it in my notes, but not in the book at all.

So here it is, something completely raw from my fingers...again, a reminder that ** means I'm not happy with word choice.

It was late, but the weather was clear – and bitterly cold. As soon as she stepped into the entryway of D'Winterberry's Residence – the embattled Residence – Dufleur teleported to another. On the far edges of Noble country, the ruins of T'Thyme Residence showed as broken columns and piles of brick and stone in the dark. As broken as her heart at the sight of her lost home.

Her hands fisted. Despite what the rest of the nobles thought, her father would never have put the Residence or the rest of them in danger if he'd had known his experiments were dangerous**. Never. He always did his trickiest** work in a cabin in the Hard Rock Mountains – a place they'd had to sell after he died. A place that had now had four owners and was currently vacant, called Time Passes. Dufleur had a suspicion that the time currents around their own cabin which had been used by Thymes for centuries and rebuilt every generation, had warped. No doubt it would take her or her descendants, should she have any gifted in great Time Flair, to put right. No one had asked her, though. (note, 2nd people asked her mother w/out Dufleur's knowledge, but mother never passed on the request). She smiled at the thought that GraceLord Agave had purchased the place and had not been able to mitigate whatever was wrong. Well, Time Flair was only a sideline for that Family after all, and they hadn't been working it for four and a quarter centuries.

She walked up to a ragged column that came to her chin. The last time she'd seen it, it had been a dingy gray, now it was as white as she remembered from her childhood, when the Residence had been pristine. She touched gloved fingertips to it and found the color came from rime, not the scouring of weather which had cleansed it.

Tears froze on her cheeks. A Residence established in the first years of the colonists had long become sentient, a member of the Family. Her father wouldn't have endangered** it. Or her. Or her mother.

So I also learned something about my world -- it takes over a century for a house to become a sentient Residence (I'm thinking between one and two, since the Turquoise House you've seen in Heart Choice and is in Heart Quest, is Becoming). But as you can see, I lost most of the emotional punch of the scene with extraneous information that must be cut.

May your scenes be emotionally fulfilling today.


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