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, May 24, 2009

Agendas, Preaching & Polemics

Please don't.

Yes, your story should have a theme or themes, and moral codes, but don't rant at the reader.

If you offend your reader because h/she does not happen to agree with you, you will limit your readership.

Furthermore, I think it displays an unprofessionalism and a lack of good writing. Your story should speak for itself.

I was rereading a book that I'd recalled I'd liked (contemporary thriller with a romantic subplot), early in the series that I've kept up with, when I ran into a rant that offended me several ways

1) the author's political beliefs were different than my own and I'd previously liked the character who was ranting, so I lost respect for that character.

2) the author had the character give "examples" of why her view was right and "my" view was wrong that the author made up, which is, you know, cheating.

3) the author had set up that this person spoke in very short sentences, three at the max, that revealed nothing to the love interest. The love interest was determined to open the character up. Within a page or two the character goes into a long half-page political rant to the love interest (in a very public place) and the love interest does not react to how much the character has spoken or revealed.

Sloppy...which is what happens when you feel a burning need to rant about something in the book. Save the rants (and is this one?) if you must, for your blogs.

The book wasn't as well written as I recalled, either, with conversations between characters that seemed like info dumps (backstory information dumps) instead of real dialogue.

Yes, you can craft incredibly heartfelt and touching stories that illustrates the evils of whatever, but the key words are story and illustration. A good writer doesn't need to rant.

Like I said, I'd purchased the book because I remembered liking the characters and series set-up and recalled a very interesting plot twist. But I am unsure, now, whether I will ever re-read this book or keep it around. I'll keep it for about 6 months and if I don't feel like reading it again, it will go to the UBS or in my sacks to the charity who comes and picks up stuff.

Again, don't offend your readers.

May you enjoy the books you read today.

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Anonymous Peggy said...

It's a shame that the people who most need to read this message won't realize that they're the people who most need to read it.

The rest of us -- readers and writers -- appreciate it.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Nonny said...

There's one author I remember that would direct "theme messages" at the reader. Tense and story voice would slip. It was very jarring, and quite against all the writerly advice she gave.

I stopped reading her, because it was bad storytelling, and I didn't like what she had to say much of the time.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

It could be you were much younger at the time, and hadn't learn about as much about writing. You've grown in wisdom as a writer and know good writing from bad.

It'll be harder to impress you now, lol.


11:43 PM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

Thanks, Peggy, you're right Janice, and Nonny, exactly. You stop reading them.


6:50 AM  

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