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.

My Photo
Location: Denver, United States

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

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Typos in a Book

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingNO ONE WANTS TYPOS IN A BOOK.

Not the author, not the copy editor (whose job it is to find them), not the editor, not the typesetter, not the publisher.

We all try to avoid minor errors that would Stop A Reader, try and make it as clean as possible. Most reviewers and writers know this. However sentences get cut or moved around and something gets lost. Or added. And typos and punctuation errors are made despite the author's eyes (at least 3 times in the process), the copy editor and the editor. The typesetter (if there still is one) does not read the pages for typos, but can make them through human error.

A couple of years ago I heard on a readers loop that a certain publisher (don't recall which) produced too many books with typos. So it can be a real cause for concern occasionally. And I would say the publisher didn't hire the right people.

But everyone strives to keep typos out of a book, and those are definitely errors that fall into the "fell between the cracks of the process" category. So accept that there will be typos. If you mention this in a review, you mark yourself as very new to the business.

May your fingers go correctly onto all the keys today.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New Blog Look

Refresh your view and take a look!

The book covers and I experimented with about 5 different new backgrounds (which I think I tried out when I first customized this one) and tried this one. Let me know if you like it. I like the old one, too. When I like a rug or a piece of furniture, I tend to stay with it forever, so I don't mind changing back.

May your perspective change today and add to your writing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fun Lines

We all have them. We all try and keep them in by any rationalization possible (thus my request for validation of “in-jokes”). Sometimes they gotta go. They don’t fit. Or when you revise they don’t fit. Or they really don’t add anything to the plot.

You can keep a couple, rationalize that they add character development or texture to a story, or make a person smile so add a touch of humor when needed. But these are things to be very, very wary of.

Lines that might pull people out of the story, saying “how silly” or “I bet the author is feeling very clever about that bit” and you all know how I feel about Readers Being Pulled Out of a Story.

Alexa, my over-the-top character in the Summoning series, usually gets the good lines. She has two I couldn’t bear to cut in Protector of the Faith, even when my mentor warned me of the second. Just Could Not Do It.

Since my editor didn’t object they got to stay.

When your editor objects, you cut the bit and put it on your website.

May a wonderfully fun line come to you today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Daily Stories 2

Yesterday’s and today’s blog was prompted by my morning bus ride to the day job. There was a high school girl angled close to her friend, telling a story with great verve and enthusiasm. And making me cringe. There was not one sentence that didn’t include “like.” I hated feeling old and crotchety and thinking about young people and language. So I thought in terms of storytelling and writing only. How much better her story would have been without “like.”

We all have words we prefer to use. I try and kill every “that” I find. I just learned (after more than a decade of critiquing with him) that my critique buddy Steven doesn’t believe that “very” should ever be on the page. I told him I have been known to use “very, very.” In dialogue, he asked, since that would make sense. Nope, I said, in description.

Something interrupted us at the time and I haven’t given it much thought, but I think I use “very, very” as INTERNAL dialogue. So maybe that counts, too.

I usually have a few favorite words in each story that must be cut. (And I’ve been very aware of every “that” I’ve used in this blog. One “rule” I’ve heard for which/that is to never use which if “that” can be used. I don’t know if it’s a good rule, or where it came from, but I usually follow it). My friend, Sharon Mignerey doesn’t like “it” and avoics the word as much as possible.

I don’t like “seem” either. I try very, very hard not to use seem. And isn’t it lucky Steven isn’t here. Now that he mentioned it, I do recall all those little crossed out “very”s in my mss.

So check your ms for words used too often or are indistinct. And to circle around to where I started, if I’d written the dialogue that I’d heard from the girl on the bus, perhaps only two “likes” might have made it.

May you, like, enjoy that writing you do today very, very much.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Everyone's A Storyteller - Daily Stories 1

Everyone is a storyteller. We like to share our experiences – what happened at the conference, our meeting with the editor or agent, the demonic porno tv at a hotel (see Deidre’s blog).

Some people are better storytellers than others. Some writers are better at oral stories than others. Some writers are better at writing and telling stories than others. Some oral storytellers are better than writers. Some oral storytellers don’t care for writing. Which are you?

Remember a new concept or twist, a wonderful story telling voice, is the most important part of writing.

May your story take wing today.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Do “Made Up” Words Add to the Flavor or Detract?

I go back and forth on this as a reader and a writer. Lately I’ve been making up words less and less. Once again, you can get hit from both sides on this issue in my genre. SF/F people may think made up words are too cute, regular romance readers may think them too hard.

I recently shared a forum where another writer (a friendly acquaintance who I thought had read my books but obviously hadn’t) went off on a long post about making up words. If the Powers That Be are “translating” the words for readers, they should also translate MotherDam to Grandmother, etc. She has a point. But I, as a reader AND writer, like to have a little different flavor. Something that makes me feel good and smart when it’s obvious, but I “translate” it myself. I think it should reflect the world, the culture, the story.

I’ve made hideous mistakes in this that I would prefer to correct, and I think I’d open HeartMate and the backstory a little differently with all the GreatHouses etc. But that’s past and not something I can fix now.

On the other hand, I can spell out my swear words. Of COURSE people swear, and I don’t feel right about the four letter “f” word (cats, of course think that’s FOOD), so I made up fligger. Everyone can figure that one out. I occasionally say it myself (I swear all the time and talk to myself, too).

I was thinking back to a very old crit I had of Heart Thief. I used “softchair.” Cut this, a guy said, what else would they be, and a stupid word. Ok. Softchair never made it. Comfortchair (which I think I used in HeartMate) is still there. Now the chair floats (it might have always floated and I never said). To digress, it’s also odd how a person’s perspective colors their world and their words, made up or not. What else would soft chair be? I looked around my house. I do not have one cushioned chair. They are all wood. I now have an exercise ball chair, but that’s it. I have no softchairs.

So make up your mind, and whatever you think you need to add flavor, cut in half or 3/4.

May your writing amuse you today.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I was listening to a tape I ordered from the conference yesterday and it was the agents panel (for the agents on the panel you can check out RMFW.org) and it made me think about Heart Match. I want it to be better, as I want all my books to be better, and I want it to be unique and add something more about Celta – which I also like to do. Right now I have the social season, which readers haven’t seen, and some workings of the art world and how Saille can use his Flair to match people. But I wanted more. What makes Heart Match unique in the series?

Dufleur Thyme and her time experiments. She isn’t experimenting as often as she likes, for reasons that should be obvious to those reading my first chapter in the back of Heart Quest. So I’ve decided that she should experience the Winds Of Time more often during the book – in different ways. At least every third chapter, perhaps as often as every chapter. Just a paragraph or two that might be intriguing. That should also deepen her character or our insight into her character.

I really want this book to be good.

May your twist your story deeper today.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

One Page Synopsis

Well, the two 1-page synopses for Luna books 5 and 6 are done and will be hauled to critique today. I'm not totally satisfied, so my group will help me out.

There are several ways to structure a one page synopsis and looking over my notes (RMFW discussed this on loop in 1999 and I saved stuff), I think it depends on your genre.

Leslie O'Kane gave excellent advice on doing the mystery: (paraphrasing) a word about the protagonist, the suspects and motivations, climax and wrap-up.

For Romance or Romantic Suspense, I like:

HERO'S INNER CONFLICT, HEROINE'S INNER CONFLICT (which can both lead to attractive qualities and the ultimate conflict between them; I start with who needs to grow the most), OUTER CONFLICT (PLOT), BLACK MOMENT, RESOLUTION (character growth, what they learned from each other and a LOVING relationship) -- this was my response.

But for Luna, my new editor definitely wanted "to see where the story is going." So I went for the TV Guide Blurb thing. The beginning-middle-end sort: Logline, setup with main character, present situation, inciting incident; overview of the challenges in mid-book; summation of the climax and ending.

I'm not completely happy with them, thus taking them to critique, but they DO tell the story.

May you enjoy the details today.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Finding Problems -- Master Documents

Master Documents (links of individual files) are easier to work with in Word Perfect than in Word (as usual). All my pantzer scenes go into chronological chapters, and when I finish the last chapter, I link all the chapters, expand, delete the subdivisions and there’s the book. Rough Draft 1.

I probably tinker with Rough Draft 1 three or four times before it is Rough Draft Final.

At times throughout the book, I may do master documents of what I have so far just to see how many pages I have, or correct something globally.

When I got the line edits of Protector of the Flight, there were a couple of places where Things Did Not Make Sense. So I went back to the individual Chapters (which I keep Forever). I saw where I’d moved text or deleted something. One 3 line portion got moved, the other problem sentences got cut (that is the easiest way to fix a problem. Cut it.)

So this blog is in the general topic of Keep Everything and Back Everything Up. I could have just cut what Didn’t Make Sense, but I wanted to know WHY things didn’t make sense, what I had before, if it needed to go back into the book. This time the answer was no.

May you find everything you need smoothly today.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Ever read the back cover copy or an ad for a book and wait MONTHS to read the book, and all the while, you thought how interesting it would be and spun stories in your head, and, of course, it wasn’t like you thought it would be at all?

Of course it wasn’t. What you were telling yourself was the story YOU would make from the same premise, which, unless your world-idea matches the author’s closely, didn’t happen.

Sometimes the story can be better, surprising you, delighting you.

Or maybe you read a premise and you think, well, this will be like another author’s book I like. (I read a light vampire book last week that was fun but didn’t grab me – AND WE WRITERS ALWAYS HATE THAT PHRASE “DIDN’T GRAB ME,” “DIDN’T **LOVE** IT” I shouldn’t say it, but I am mentioning no names, so the author won’t writhe should she happen to see this blog, which she probably won’t). Anyway this book fell flat, and I decided that the author’s voice just wasn’t developed enough to be unique. Have we talked about voice?

Anyway I believe the above instances are two of the reasons for poor reviews/ratings on amazon.com and other readers’ sites. This is one of my rationalizations. The book didn’t live up to expectations.

So that’s something you have to deal with – other’s expectations of your work – always.

And like children, books should not be judged solely on the readers’ expectations. (I hope I don’t ignite a web-firestorm here, but I don’t think this blog is big enough to do that). I KNOW MY READERS, KNOW MANY OF THEIR EXPECTATIONS AND WILL NEVER VIOLATE SOME OF THE UNBROKEN RULES – KILLING A FAM ANIMAL COMPANION AT ANY POINT (though that would have made writing Heart Quest easier and more suspenseful had I done it off stage in the backstory). I WILL NEVER BETRAY MY ROMANCE READERS WITH AN UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER STORY.

But I hope to grow, and hope to change – some. I’ll always be a romantic, so happily ever after comes easy for me. In most cases.

So let yourself grow, experiment – in other genres if need be – to keep yourself and your muse happy.

May you have an excellent twist in your story today.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Best heroine!

I can’t tell you how happy I was when I received the email that Guardian of Honor finaled in the Anne Bonney Readers Choice Awards.

First, Guardian of Honor hasn’t won any awards, which surprised me (and let’s face it, I like each of my books to win at least one award – that outer instead of inner validation thing). But maybe Guardian and Alexa is too close to my heart and I don’t see the book for what it is. Also, I think trade paperback made a difference, and I didn’t enter it in the PRISMS because I’d won in the PRISMS for the last two years and felt they’d already honored me.

But two things are really great about this news. THE ANNE BONNEY READERS CHOICE AWARD IS A READERS AWARD. So one of my judges was a reader. Lovely!

Secondly, the Anne Bonney Readers Choice Award doesn’t have the same general categories – historical, contemporary, futuristic/fantasy/paranormal. Their categories are:

Best Heroine
Best Hero
Best Chemistry
Most Emotional
Most Humerous

Guardian of Honor is up for BEST HEROINE!!!

To make that in a cross-genre contest is very, very special. I am thrilled.

The finalsts of Best Heroine are:

Best Heroine:
Bronwyn Jameson: The Rugged Loner Publisher: Silhouette Books
Jennifer St Giles: His Dark Desires Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Robin D Owens: Guardian of Honor Publisher: Luna Books

Note the group. A sexy contemporary western, a steamy historical, and me. And in most contests, my books go up against vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, and psychics and everything else, which is why winning in ANY paranormal contest other than the PRISMs or the PEARLS is such a crap shoot.

May your heroine be especially vivid today,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I lost my Luna editor. This can be a very iffy time in an author's life. I know my new editor is a very, very busy woman (now I have two very, very busy women as editors), and an excellent editor -- but still.

The more editors you lose, the harder it is to grow your career. Really. You have to learn to work with a new person, and hope that person likes your work. Usually it's your original editor who bought you in the first place. You hope the new person will promote you in house as much as your old editor.

So. Protector of the Flight is in production. I should see the last version (which I will probably hand off to my friend Rose Beetem for a line edit if there's time), then I have to get the proposal together for the last 3 books for the Luna contract and send it to my new editor. I tend to think it has to be even more perfect now. Sigh.

Getting to know your editor is VERY important.

May you think nothing of publication when you write today.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Off Work

Starting today I am taking time off the day job (without pay, that's what book money is for) to work on Heart Match. I do this occasionally, and it will be 2 weeks. I didn’t plan it well because it will be a long stretch when I return before I get paid again, but I want Heart Match done NOW.

So I get the time I’ve been longing for and I hope to do better at planning my day than I did before. Knowing that even a little money will be coming will help immensely, I think.

Letting you know that I’ve been writing and stockpiling my blogs and have almost the full two weeks. I will, of course, reply as I always do, but again, if I’m joyful one day and in the Slough of Despond the next, it doesn’t really mean I’m bipolar.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, and I have no doubt I’ll be writing about my writing days, too.

May your day be filled with lucious minutes of writing.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

One of the things that can happen to a writer, especially if you are an introvert and living alone for any reason, is isolation. You can hole up in your cave/office and not interact with people. Or interact with people only on the most superficial basis.

This includes email and blogs and surfing the net. When I received my first computer with a modem, it didn't include the writing software (word perfect) that I wanted and which I'd only stressed to the company three or four times. All my writing files were in word perfect and I didn't want lotus ware to mess with them.

So I surfed the net, doing "research." It was a heady experience. Soon I found myself on a Malaysian South Seas treasure hunting site (for sunken ships). Incredible. I went everywhere, downloaded fun programs. Hooray! I was connected!

When I logged off I realized I hadn't actually CONNECTED with any living being.

So, make sure you see people, interact with them, especially friends and family. Call and hear living voices (and, yes, I am going to brunch this morning with my old group).

BTW, at the top there's one of the things I got from that Malaysian site. I'm hoping someone will know the artist. It's the basis of the jade baton in Guardian of Honor, and was used by the artist for the sword on that book.

May you enjoy the company of others today (and no one says you can't use this later in a story...)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Just Write/Inner Critic

Sorry for the late post, but I had one of those household emergencies that had to be dealt with and which makes you want to take the day off instead of trying to write/writing just to pamper yourself. Being the only responsible member of the household (cats are completely unaware of the emergency), when something goes wrong, I must fix it.

Anyway, I started writing and Good Stuff -- inner motivation -- appeared and about 3-4 paragraphs in my inner negative critic popped up with all the old carps "isn't this going on too long?" "Haven't you said this a million times before?" "You're gonna BORE the SOCKS off your READERS." (Ok, my feet are cold and are making themselves heard, too).

So I reminded myself, and decided to remind YOU, to just write! Especially a first draft.

Maybe all those things my critic says is true, but since I haven't read the entire durn ms. for a while, I'm not sure.

Just Write. Revise later.

Inner Negative Critic is only allowed out on the revising stage.

Inner Negative Critic is NOT allowed to stop your flow of original writing.

Inner Negative Critic is NOT allowed to stop your flow of original writing.

Inner Negative Critic is NOT allowed to stop your flow of original writing.

Got that? I hope I did, too, so I'll go back to the writing and even if the conversation with self goes on for five pages it will stay. Now. To be revised later and all the good kernels saved and summarized.

May you have no trouble quashing that nasty inner negative critic today.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fun or Obligation

I don't know whether I told you, but I my work cube is two over than before and close to the door. I like it better. It's closer to the kitchen but farther from the bathroom. The floor is a lot busier than the place I'd left.

Anyway, I'd put in the hours to take comp time today, then heard that one of the guy's birthdays -- a friend -- will be celebrated at 2:30. Wrecked my plans of course, but I can't miss this. I'd hurt feelings and miss cake. So I'm going in late and leaving a little early. A bath awaits.

So should I consider this fun or obligation? I think both. And what would your characters do in the same circumstances. A small test of personality I think.

And that leads me to recall (Free Your Artist) that it's time I work on the website for October. Halloween. I used to give away a copy of Christine Feehan's Dark Prince for years. But I'm not so sure. Think I'll take a look at Chapter 2-3 of Heart Quest, come up with a quote and dig around my goodie bag.

May your characters reveal unique personalities today.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Zanth Gets a Cover Quote!

I can't take credit for this brilliant idea, this was Linnea Sinclair's. She has cats (furzels) in her upcoming book, Games of Command and said wouldn't it be fun to have a quote about the book from my most beloved Fam (Familiar) in the Heart series, Zanth -- and a quote from me, too. Zanth's made it. In case you can't read it, it says
Excellent, strong feline compainions. Four paws up! -- Zanth, Hero of HeartMate by Robin D. Owens

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And here's the full cover.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I loved this book and have since I read it as an ebook (the middle and end have changed drastically, so if you bought it before, BUY IT AGAIN).

May you get ideas from your animal companions today.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I just received my Berkley contract from my agent and I wanted to say a couple of things.

First, if you have an agent, your contracts will go to them and then to you. Your agent should check the appropriate paragraphs -- rights, payment, amounts.


I am a paralegal in my day job and I'm going to do a line-by-line comparison with my old contract. Mistakes get made. Things change for the better (bigger authors get changes that go into the boilerplate and filter down to us).

I know I won't understand every word or concept. But I WILL read it and make sure something that I'm not expecting is not in it. If I have questions, I'll ask my agent. I've done this before. When I was on my own and my 2nd book contract was supposed to be the same as my first book and wasn't, I called my editor and the contract department and got it changed (and waited for the new copy).

Over the last year Berkley has gone to a 3 payment arrangement instead of 2. Upon signing the contract, upon acceptance of the manuscript, AND UPON PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK. This is non-negotiable for writers like me. Take it or leave it.

So I'll expect to see that in the contract, and the fact that my agent negotiated payment upon shipping the book, not the street date.

You are the one signing the contract. Know what it says.

May legal matters be far from your mind (unless you're writing something of that sort) today...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Website Update

YES! This was the first time I haven't updated my website monthly since March 2001, I think, and it felt odd. I like Access Romance, my hosting site, and the people there, but they prefer the update to them by the 15th of the previous month, and I completely understand, but usually I'm not that organized.

The Free Your Artist exercises are about using the body as art -- dance, tatts, painting...

MY PRIZE THIS MONTH IS A COPY OF "WHY PAINT CATS." Which I love and gave me the idea for kitten Greyku's demand she be tinted.

I don't have any new excerpts up because despite the fact that there's a short excerpt in the beginning of Heart Quest, I'm still messing with it, and as for Protector of the Flight -- I'm thinking that I'll put a "prequel" scene up that didn't made it into the book (ok, the editors did the same flip-flop as with Sorceress -- Start it on Lladrana, No start it on Earth. On the other hand, maybe I SHOULD start with the actual chapter...so I'm doing a flip-flop, too.

The Worlds Page Under HeartMate has T'Ash's interview if you haven't seen it on Amazon.

That's all I can think of right now, esp with Diva whining for breakfast.

May your writing world shine today.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Writers Conferences

RMFW DID recharge and re-energize me, which is what a Writers Convention should do. Sharing stories is the BEST thing about writing, and I just wish (as always) that I'd been more prepared and less stressed before I attended.

May your writing make you smile today.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

RMFW Conference 2

Well, I'm back at home. A very full weekend. I spent most of yesterday at a speaking engagement at a local Zonta meeting held at a country club. I sold a fair amount of books – but not as many as if I'd been a mystery writer or a straight romance writer. I bobbled the speech a little, but kept it short and told one of my stories – about the cover reissue of HeartMate.

A couple of consequences: RMFW has a simile contest and for years my crit group has gotten together and made up similies during lunch. Catie Murphy was part of this the last couple of years. Anyway, again, during the last couple of years we have been **ahem** creative in attributing our similies to other individuals such as, **cough, cough** Francine Mathews.

Anyway, when I walked into the awards ceremony last night, I was snagged by the panel of judge, Alice Kober, and told that 20 similies carried my name. Most with different handwriting. Many were award winning material. (Steven Moores is really the most brilliant at this contest). I was asked if I'd "be a good sport" and accept the valuable prize. I agreed.

I won a rodent harness. Complete with a small stuffed orange hippo with blue spots. The harness is stretchy, sort of like a bungee cord. A good time was had by all, and my critique group – who loves to write similies, but hates to troup up to the stage and demonstrate things like rodent harnesses in front of 200 people – were all very pleased.

This morning, I was complimented on my sparkling personality by a woman in the ladies room, and how she enjoyed events where I was. Huh. I told her she didn't see me up in my room, stretched out on my bed thinking, "Oh, time to go downstairs and be charming again..."

So my image is pretty good in general, but I was more distracted and stressed than usual and made a couple of mistakes that made me displeased with myself. I also had my standard conference meltdown yesterday afternoon, and since this is becoming a habit, I need to figure out what the cause is and take steps to prevent it. Esp before World Con in November. I think the key is more sleep. And hot tubs. And maybe meditation time. My personalized meditation tape had broken and when I returned, I had a new CD in my mailbox, so I intend to take up the program again.

So, for the bit on writing and publishing – sometimes being an author is exhausting and all you want to be is a writer in a quiet office.

May your writing please you today.

P.S. – Did I tell you that when I went out for a rare drink during the banquet, someone switched my key lime pie for cheesecake?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

RMFW Conference

Just a note. I'm home to feed the cats and pick up books for a speaking engagement at Pinehurst Country Club today. I wiah that I hadn't signed up to do that because I'd rather be at the RMFW conference, where I can usually be myself instead of Author.

Freewriting seminar went well enough that I think I'll propose it to RWA. They have a habit of shooting my seminars down (will never forget all the work I put into Is Writing Software Right For You), and I proposed Organization for the Pantzer last year. We'll see if it flies.

A lot of agents and editors here. Small friendly convention. Lots to see and learn and old friends to catch up with.

My agent is here and wants to meet with me. That always sounds to me if there's bad news....

I may be on late tomorrow as I didn't think there was any reason to take my laptop with me and won't be getting back home until tomorrow afternoon.

Da*n it, where's that superglue?

May the writing horizons open up to you today.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Slave to Sensation

What a title, what a world!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
(Berkley Sensation, September 5, 2006)

Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind—and none of the heart…

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

May sensation drip into your story today,

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One Scene Twice with 2 Different Viewpoints

It’s not often an editor allows this to come out in a book. I can remember being a newbie (lo those many years ago) and one of my published friends got her copy edits back with a note to cut one of these – the heroine experienced it, then the hero. And usually that’s correct.

A few years ago, I listened to an audio book by a somewhat famous writer who once told the same scene from FOUR points of view – hero, heroine, witness and news broadcaster. This was not like the literary Japanese movie which explored a murder from 7 (?) points of view (I saw that movie, thought it was extraordinary and interesting, but can’t recall the name). Nothing new was learned from this rehash. The writer I listened to was egregiously padding the book for wordcount. That was the last time I ever read that person’s work.

Last night I was re-reading Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard, and she did this, AND IT WORKED. And it needed to be there. Probably. The hero and heroine were COMPLETELY misunderstanding what the other was feeling and neither was telegraphing their emotions to the other. Maybe she could have gotten by with only the hero’s POV and more reaction from the heroine, but one of the heroine’s character arcs is that she’d completely barricaded herself from showing emotion…

Anyway, unless you are a NYT Bestselling author, or exploring a theme like that Japanese movie, I doubt you’d get away with it.

And, if a scene isn’t working for you, you might consider writing it in more than one POV and finding which is the best for your story. Extra work, but worth it.

May all your POVs be solid today.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Series Threads

With regard to Heart Quest, one of my readers said that there are surprises to the end. True. I have a few series threads going – most notibly the disinheritance that happened in book three (Heart Duel) which has continuing Bad Ramifications/Consequences. These threads, like other subplots and returning characters (who MUST have a part to play or they don’t get back onstage), should progress incrementally through every book. And sometimes everything doesn’t quite dovetail as the other plotpoints are wrapped up (the mystery/suspense, the love story).

I don’t sit down and graph my plot and subplots, but I do spend considerable time thinking about them. How should I drop this bit? Lay this trail? Finish this off? The scenes get moved around. What would add more tension to THIS particular story? When would it be the worst possible time? When would something GOOD happen?

And since they ARE threads, sometimes my critique buddies say “What is this doing here? It isn’t moving the plot forward.” My only answer is “I need it for the next book.” Or “It has to be there from the last book.” Some grumbling.

Or “Cut, cut, cut” Then “Woops! I see what you were setting up here, ignore previous.” And there are the in jokes we talked about earlier. The hat in the Luna series, beloved of all guys, hated by all women, must get a mention….

Heart Quest was one of those books where I did some hard thinking. Pieces got moved around. I thought and thought whether to end the book as I did, and I don’t consider it necessarily good technique, the way I ended it. But the fact was, I couldn’t break the (hopefully) suspense and climx of the last part of the book with a series thread bit. The timing was just plain off. My fault, but one last bit of a series thread HAD to be done in this book to set up for one down the line and I handled it the best way I know how. Now.

So it was another one of those “I wish I could have handled this better” moments.

May all your threads lay straight today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Heart Quest is OUT

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Nervous this morning, as usual. Like I said before, there are those who will think this is the best story and best book I've written (and I like to think I'm getting better in technique I think), and some who will hate it, and some who will think it's merely ok. Contests, Reviews, Mail is subjective. And you can please some of the people all of the time and some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, I'm nervous. I comfort myself with the fact that my editor thought this one was the best (so of course what I'm working on now...well, at least I have a blackmailing cat in it, and I think in Heart Fate one of the cats has got too go -- become a dog -- too many cats, though Heart Quest has a fox my mentor thinks sounds like a British butler).

I guess I should actually send an email out to my puny (and usually ignored) mailing list and let them know.

And this is just too long for a nervous-nelly all about me. Sorry.

No, it doesn't get any easier. ANYTHING about the writing. But it can stay as fascinating.

May your writing day have surprising, fascinating moments.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fan Mail - Fraud

First, I usually know when a book is out when I start getting email...then I start seeing what reviews are coming up...

So far, I've had good feedback (2) and good reviews (3).

And since I'm struggling with Heart Match (current title) it makes me feel like a fraud, like I probably won't be able to pull it off again.

I know this is common with writers, but it's one of those emotional, not rational things. Sigh.

May your confidence in your writing be at an all time high today.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

"Intrigue and danger in this fascinating tale!" Heart Quest OUT TUESDAY - 1st Review

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I haven't done a lot of advertising for this one, so you all have been spared. If you like my work, PLEASE BUY!

Many thanks,

and OF COURSE I put up a good review...

"Intrigue and danger in this fascinating tale!"

Robin D. Owens has yet again written a book that was so phenomenal that it took my breath away! She has once again returned to my beloved Celta and has given us another glimpse into her fascinating world.

This is Trif Clover's story. Trif wants to know her HeartMate in the most impatient way so she fashions a heart charm and decides to go about trying it on various single Celtan's doors.

Black Ilex Winterberry knows that Trif is his HeartMate but there are two things wrong with that scenario. One is that Ilex is a tiny bit clairvoyant and has seen his death many times. Two is that he is much older that Trif but still he can't help but look out for her so he moves into the same apartment complex where she lives.

Ilex is investigating several very strange murders that seem to have been committed by more than one person and on single people with Fams and with uncontrolled flair. Now all he needs to do is put the pieces of the puzzle together and find out why they are being murdered and by whom. First he must convince Trif that it is not safe to wander around Celta looking for her HeartMate. This does not set well with Trif at all. Then Trif unexpectedly receives here very own Fam cat named Greyku. Greyku, of course, is as personable as all of the other delightful Fams that Robin has created in her Heart books. I personally believe that Greyku stole the whole story!

What a job Robin D. Owens' books are to read! Here is another winner to add to my keeper shelf. As always, I eagerly look forward to another book from Robin D. Owens!

Reviewed by Kathy Boswell
Posted August 29, 2006

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bedtime Stories

When I was a child my father and mother would read bedtime stories to me. I think they also told them to me (my Mom makes up small running stories all the time), and I recall Dad telling me the myths of the Greek Gods.

I'm sure that's what started me on the road to reading. They both loved reading and they both loved stories.

Over the last few years, I've developed a modest audio library and I sometimes like to put the tape or CDs on (on a timer) before I go to bed. These are all of stories I've heard before and laying there in the dark, I can anticipate favorite parts, or snooze off at least favorite parts.

So people are still telling me stories. I like the ones the best where a male-female team work for all the male-female voices. I think Kiss Me While I Sleep by Linda Howard is the best example of that.

May your writing remind you of your favorite reading today.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I have a few traditions around this time of year -- I go to the Taste of Colorado, I try to keep the holiday weekend for writing, I prepare for any seminar I might be giving at RMFW, and gear up for that conference.

And I play "The End Of August" by Yanni -- and have for the last few days. This came to pass when my first contract paralegal job came to an end -- and it was the end of August. I remember looking east from a high rise, watching the dust blow (bad duststorms that year), wondering at my future (I hadn't decided, then, to become a full time contractor).

So traditions can be personal, familial, regional, cultural -- religious, spiritual. But I think that all NEED traditions.

A friend of mine was asked to make her book a "Christmas" book. Well, she's writing Christian romance, so you know that it would be a HUGE theme (and a HUGE difference in the book). Not something you can throw in like a little candle lighting...

So decide what traditions your characters might follow, and whether you'll show them. Or whether they break with tradition, and how they feel about that.

May tradition soothe you today.

Out of the Blogosphere
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >>]