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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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stories: What I Know And When I Know It

I don't know whether this interests readers, but it does for me as a writer -- what scenes come first, maybe even before a story idea, definitely before the plot and absolutely before the synopsis.

Yes, characters come first, but for me they aren't in a vacuum, they are acting in a scene.

And the Summoning series were some of those old "tell myself before I go to sleep stories" so I DID have scenes...usually skipped over whole parts of the story.

Take Calli's story (my current book Protector of the Flight): I KNOW I had the scene with Marrec and Lady Hallard on the terrace (all of that scene except for the addition of her previous volaran master) I had the Pairbonding ritual and knew that when they went up to bed, Marrec would be shy and Calli wild (because of the drug she took during the ritual). I also had some scenes that never made it into the book because I didn't have the overall series plot -- them finding the perfect home in the mountains in a very independent town, being accepted as leaders and bringing that part of the culture into trusting the rest of the people. Marrec teaching Calli to ground and control her Powers.

But I think that's all I had.

Sorceress of Faith was even sketchier (and I think I have notes on another Sorceress story that's a little similar but set in another world). I knew that when Marian arrived she would be fought over by the Sorcerers and Sorceresses and originally she went with Jaquar. But Jaquar hadn't lost his parents and wasn't so hurt and grieving.

For Guardian of Honor, I had the idea of the fenceposts falling, and how Alexa made new fenceposts and the boundary, those were the first ideas. (I actually found my ORIGINAL bits of this scene on my computer, transferred from handwritten). I was tired of people going to other dimensions and easily learning the language, so I made it so Alexa had the problem of NOT being good with languages, and when she spoke she sounded drunk. I knew she'd be travelling and meet Bastien. The idea of her grieving for her lost sister-like-friend/partner didn't happen until I had a loss of my own of a friend who worked in the cubicle next to me. The idea of Sinafin had lurked in my brain, but SINCE Alexa didn't know the language, I needed someone to tell her what was going on, and there my shapeshifter was.

As for the Heart books, I am Welsh and saw the burgeoning of all things Celtic, liked the idea of a pagan/Celtic world, had figured my historical romances weren't selling so I may as well write fantasy with romance which were definitely not selling much at the time. Then I sat down and wrote about T'Ash throwing his divination dice and it took off, especially when Zanth, the telepathic cat with attitude walked onto the page.

So that's me. Sometimes I can recall or pinpoint what comes first, sometimes things change, sometimes they come when I have to write the proposal, sometimes when I write the book.

May wonderful ideas come to you today.


Anonymous a reader said...

I love to get more background about anything in my favourite books. So Thank you for all the additional stories and info!
Was just looking at a picture of Clive Owens and I think he would look the part of hero in any of your Celta books apart from sharing a name with you. Alain Delon would be a wonderful Bastien, but now in his later life.
bbc.co.uk "Your name here" is an article about writers. You might find it interesting.
Ah, well I enjoy reading your books & blog, look forward to buying them when out & I use their backgrounds/themes/heros and so on, for my private fantasies: telling myself stories... mostly when I do the cleaning to make it less horrible. Thanks!!!!

10:09 AM  
Blogger Lael Johnson said...

Hi Robin,

Thanks for visiting my blog, regarding "Word Association" and Raleigh North Carolina.

I'm curious, what is the "Free Your Artist" page that you referred to? That sounds interesting.

Sincerely yours,

Lael Johnson
Creativity Coach, Writer and Beader

11:46 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Reader, I'm glad! Enjoy your own stories, you can skip all the boring bits.

Reader and Lael -- Both my Worlds page and my Free Your Artist page on my website are updated monthly. Worlds is usually updated for the current book, which is Protector of the Flight -- character interviews etc.

Free Your Artist is my "give back" to the web community. It has motivational quote, a couple of creative exercises and affirmation...

I hope you both continue to enjoy your OWN creativity.

2:24 PM  

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