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, June 25, 2009

Know Your Critiquers

You need to know the preferences of your critiquers. I sent the new proposal notes for Out of Balance to a few and got back very detailed questions from my mentor. My mentor doesn't write fantasy, but she does read my work. I have finally learned that she will want all the incredibly minor details of how this works and where does magic come from and everything.

So. This is good and bad. It makes me think through everything, but thinking through everything takes a lot of time and most of that stuff won't be in the books. On the other hand, I'll have everything covered.

I had one critiquer who had a problem with a heroine kicking her husband under the table. Spousal abuse! That became "nudged." Later in that (unpublished historical), my heroine lost her very controlled temper (her character arc was that she was too buttoned down) and slapped the hero's face. This scene was very difficult for my critiquer. For me, not so much, and of course there was guilt and consequences, but that wasn't enough for my beta reader.

So it goes. You need to know what their limitations are. Obviously, pay attention to their comments, consider them, and write the books the way they should be written.

But it's always easier to know when you're stepping on a hot button BEFOREHAND. ;)

That's my advice for today. May you enjoy the evening.


Anonymous Peggy said...

This is the best advice I've ever seen regarding soliciting comments on your work. It encapsulates very neatly why I dislike posting excerpts for comment by random strangers.

Thank you for posting this.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone has individual triggers - what to one person may be an entertaining scene may cause abuse flashbacks in another person. Unfortunately, if you make everyone happy, then the main character would never do anything interesting, and there would be no story.
Balance is a difficult achievement.

10:54 AM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

Thank you, Peggy, and Mare, you are quite right.

All writers, the more you "work" on your manuscript to fit critiquers, the more you can polish/sand your voice right out of your work, and what will sell your stories is your voice!


8:32 PM  

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