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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Friday, September 18, 2009

A Terrible Book - Readers/Writers

I was speaking with my mother last night. Now, I never really spoke to her about my writing before I got my first contract because she didn't quite believe that I was ducking out of family stuff because I was writing. That's just how it was, and I am fine with that.

But since then I've occasionally spoken with her about the process. Last night when we had a communications problem, I realized I haven't talked as much about my work as I did to my old roomie who now understands POV.

I haven't bought a new book (hardback but on ebook), because of the price. I asked Mom if she'd read it. She had checked it out of the library and said it was a terrible book. When I asked why, she said it was horrible.

Now if you tell me a book is terrible/horrible, the first thing I think of is that the writing was bad and the plot didn't hang together or the characters did something really stupid. After flailing around for a couple of minutes, she gave me an example of something HORRIBLE happening in the book "and I don't know why people have to include such horrible things in books now."

I admit, what Mom said would go straight to my "horrible" meter, and most decent people's HORRIBLE meter. She repeated several times that it was horrible, and I have a feeling that the scenes were vivid enough for her to remember -- good for the writer. And that she wasn't going to be reading the series any more unless someone read them first and told her it was NOT horrible, horrific.

If she'd used horrific, I would have clued in, but why should she? The problem here is that I now (and have for a long time) consider the craft of a book first.

I think I was talking to a non-writer friend of mine a while back about another series and she warned me that (paraphrasing), that there were some "difficult moments" in it. That language I understood.

Now, my Mom doesn't buy these books. She's an ex-librarian (well, so am I) and a library patron. But I DO buy these books, and she has convinced me (who was considering purchasing it) not to spring for the hardback (or ebook).

So, always consider your audience. Mom is probably not the solid and main audience for those books, but she reads and she supports her libraries. I may not be the main audience for those books, but I read voraciously too, and the author lost me as a reader on this one.

So I'll be asking around to see what others have to say, and will get a summary off the internet, but I've already missed several of these books and it won't hurt me to miss one more.

This may be a transition book for the author, taking the series to a new level, with new twists, but there is always that risk you run....

May your reading bring you pleasure today.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Reader... Descriptions about torture, all kind of cruelties, sadism etc., no matter the skill of the writer, will not make a good book! shock devices to sell, like sex; we all know how well attended public executions where in Europe/North America(and still are in the countries that allow them now). The fact that they are best sellers only prove that they appeal to the lowest of the low and they are, unfortunatelly, the majority. Violence is sickening to any civilized person.

6:24 PM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

This is true. And I must admit that I have a book with a torture scene (haven't sold it), but am rethinking how much I will show. Right now, it's a couple of lines...


8:23 PM  
Blogger Janice Seagraves said...

It sounds like mom got hold of a horror book. I can read horror if its a paranormal, but watch a horror movie forget it.

I don't know if I could write that genre. I think I would get nightmares. *shiver*


8:45 PM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

Actually this is more of a paranormal/urban fantasy book, but I'm not sure whether Mom will continue to read that author now.


8:28 AM  

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