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, October 11, 2006

Readers Missing Stuff

I just finished reading Nora Roberts' Dance of the Gods and the heroine of the second book in this trilogy is Blair, the demon (vampire) hunter from Chicago. She rides horses and I wondered how she learned. I'm sure Nora told us readers, probably in book one, Morrigan's Cross, but I don't recall. Or it can be assumed that Blair (the heroine) learned as part of her extensive training, there are still parts of this world that are more accessible by horseback.

The thing is, I missed it. And if the fact was mentioned in Dance of the Gods, I missed that, too.

Readers will miss details that might bother them. So the problem is to try and mention a fact a couple of times to remind the reader, but not blugeon them to death with it. And again this applies to motivation and suspension of disbelief (especially in fantasy). I completely believe that Blair can take down vampires because she's trained all her life to do so. Nora shows us some of her training in a past memory (flashback) that also relates to her problems with relationships. Double duty for that passage.

And, again, if the readers start wondering about facts, it pulls them out of the story and you may lose them now and forever...you know how I feel about that.

On the flip side, if I've done my best to give readers the facts-motivations and they miss them and that shows up in reviews, I wince and suck it up. They missed something I did my best to do.

For other readers of my books who DIDN'T miss what I said, the review will reflect poorly on the reviewer (as the above will reflect on me as soon as one of you says, "Oh, she said something about that on page something-or-other." But at least I'm warning you that I missed it).

So, as a writer and a reader be aware that you DO miss things. Critique buddies miss things (occasionally we go a round with someone's work -- where did you say that? says one -- and others jump in...oops). As a reviewer, please double check your facts.

May your prose be eloquent today.


Anonymous a reader said...

Yes, I know I miss things, and so I go back and re-read previous chapters or books. It is fun to refresh things if one likes the series; for example when I get a new Potter I read it and then start from book one again. Done the same for Celta - For other books I just read a line or two per page and that is enough!!!!

11:50 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Yes, I often reread series when a new one comes out.

8:37 AM  

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