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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Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Writing Rule of Romance -- I love you. -- Reader Rules

When I started writing romance I was told that the "I love you," by one of the protagonists must be as late in the book as possible, like the last line. You will see if you look at the Heart books that I try and do this. The couple might even HeartBond, but the words come late. Since I write in both points of view, sometimes the love isn't in doubt, but the words are not said, because admitting aloud to your partner that you love them is important.

I was taught this rule in critique group with a devastating example with my work Sapphires and Emeralds (which was marketed under Shades of Honor and didn't sell). My hero said "I love you" (he was telling the heroine what she wanted to hear but that didn't get on the page). A critique buddy said, "She's said she loves him. He's just admitted he loves her. This is a romance, I would stop reading right now."

I've seen this rule bent more and more often lately, and I think I'm in favor of it. It depends, of course, on inner and outer plot. If it's a romantic suspense it's more often bent because there is still peril to one or the other or both of the couple. If it's a wrenching emotional drama, the couple might admit their love but still have BIG, BIG internal problems between them that are still in doubt.

It depends on the writer, if he or she can convince you that the doubt is still there (I know, we all know there is a Happily Ever After in romance, but if you/we are enjoying the story, there's doubt).

But the above is a writer rule. READER RULES are those that if you break them you will lose readers, like killing your heroine in the romance at the end.

I think my buddy was right, it heightens the drama and the doubt if the hero and heroine don't admit their love until the very end of the book, it will keep some readers to the end. But in the hands of a good writer, that rule can be broken (as many which aren't READER RULES can).

May you completely forget about any rules today when you are writing.
Robin

3 Comments:

Anonymous readerdiane said...

Yeah, I just finished Protector of the Flight. It was great and I really enjoyed the book. I hope that you will be finishing the series.

Sometimes it seems that this series is the ugly stepsister. It is a great series and my daughter was drooling over the book, she had to wait until I was finished since I bought the book.

Truth to tell I like it better than the Heart series. I have a hard time keeping the characters straight in the Heart series. Maybe I need to re-read them in order. I don't have to do that with the Protector series.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous roslyn said...

I like reading stories where they admit their feelings for each other but for some reason or other, cannot get together. Or so they think. Of course, the ending MUST be of them getting together.

There's nothing more p a i n f u l than looking at someone and knowing he/she loves you but believes the two of you cannot be together. And there's nothing more gripping than reading of such a trial.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Diane, Thanks, actually I think The Summoning as the older sister of the Heart books, and you've given me an idea to put a 1 page Cast of Characters in the Heart books, and online, too.

Excellent point, Roslyn. I haven't done that much -- Heart Choice and Ilex in Heart Quest come to mind (hey, just got of bed here and can only think of my books, and not too well of them), and Tinne in Heart Fate (writing) now , has had to put his HeartMate behind him, and to make a good marriage he did.

Robin

8:26 AM  

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