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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Monday, November 30, 2009

Chapt 1: Single Character On Stage

Starting with a Single Character on Stage can be a concern with my critique group. I'm not sure how this "rule" evolved, since I asked our most technical and analytical person a while back.

I am not convinced that starting with a Single Character On Stage is a bad thing. HeartMate started that way, Heart Change, most the Summoning books, and Echoes in Dark (literally, Jikata on stage).

I think it depends on how long you go and what other hooks you might have. In HeartMate, Zanth walks on stage fairly quickly, and in Heart Change, Vinni shows up rather dramatically.

There can be problems if most of the scene is backstory, or the set up goes on too long.

As for me, if books open with dialogue, I tend to get confused -- who is the real protagonist and why should I care about them?

Of course Mentor usually opens with action, prefers that, and chase or explosions. ;), though, now that I think about it, she opened with a single character (victim viewpoint) in what she brought to cririque...though since I didn't notice, it obviously didn't go on too long.

And in critique, it is unlikely that I will be the one having a problem with this. So if you have single character online, check to see when someone else arrives...

May you enjoy all the techniques of your craft today.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ordeals -- Ready? -- Vogler

I usually write to the "Writer's Journey" outline that was popularized by Christopher Vogler in the book of the same name and corresponds to Jospeh Campbell's studies of The Hero With A Thousand Faces and I'm up to the Ordeal.

I thought of it early yesterday morning, but I'm not quite ready to write it. I think because it should be a powerful scene and I want it right...though the most powerful scene I ever wrote, in Heart Choice, I just went with the flow.

But this one, I think I want my subconscious working on for a while, so I'll let it mull, and write it tomorrow. Critique is today.

Though I might also be hesitating because I know it will be wrenching if I do it right.

May you enjoy your creative process today.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Story: # Points of View


The story determines points of view, how many characters you will tell it from. I think the genre also determines this. For instance, fantasy readers are more likely to accept more points of view, as well as more characters. For me, my romances have had TWO and TWO ONLY points of view, the hero and the heroine.

My five book fantasy series (Summoning) has had, I think, up to five points of view, hero/heroine and secondary characters. I even started out with a secondary character's point of view in the first book, Guardian of Honor -- to show you the set up on Lladrana. Also, there came a time in the book, where I wanted to foreshadow something and that couldn't be done in the hero's or heroine's point of view (they weren't speaking to each other). So I used the hero's brother, Luthan.

In the last two books of the Summoning series, Keepers of the Flame and Echoes in the Dark, I was primarily telling the story of the two couples. I'd learned from experience that the moment I put Alexa (heroine of Guardian of Honor) on stage she tended to take over, so she did NOT get a point of view.

I'm bringing this up because in the new Luna book (Lightfolk series) that I'm writing, in all the words I've done (38K), it's been in the heroine's point of view. I haven't actually sat down to analyze this -- and I DID do a hero's interview sheet in first person -- but I think I want to keep the hero's motivations a little murky.

So, there is only ONE point of view in this book. This may change after I move into it more, but currently it feels right.

May you enjoy your own point of view today.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank YOU

I am very thankful for my family, my friends, my cat Dingo, and the people who enjoy my work and make my writing career possible. May blessings fall on all of them for the rest of their lives.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may it be a joyful day for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Of Cats

Most of you know that I write about cats. At one time I had a total of 6 (indoor/outdoor). Now I have one.

I don't often talk about the cats here or on my website, because I write of them and in the books, they are still living (except Boris in Road to Adventure who has his crown and his temple and the road and his wings...). I like people to think of the cats as alive.

But I am thinking of adopting another. Dingo (Beadle in Heart Change) is so mellow that I don't believe he will have a problem.

And (whispering) I consulted an animal communicator to make sure Dingo would be all right with this. I'm not above paying for a little peace of mind, even if it might be a fantasy.

Still, this is a big step, adding a new member to the household. I'm going to see him on Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you have a day and evening of possibilities.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Luna, Lightfolk 1

Got a note that Luna needed art info for Lightfolk #1. I'm calling it Out of Balance (or A Dwarf At the Door). This is my mock up I'll be using for the "cover" on NaNoWriMo.

Jenni is an "elemental balancer" which means she balances magic...and sees them as sheets/flames...earth, air, wind, fire, water.

And I'm beat, especially since I've worked on this all evening.
May you enjoy different creativities today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back from Retreat and Signing!

The flying itself was tough, but I am home and pretending the cars going by on the street is the thunder of surf...but during the long quiet times it is REALLY quiet.

I fell while climbing up a dune and got sand in the camera...so not many pics this year.

Signing today!

November 22nd, 2009, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Signing with Deb Stover at Broadway Book Mall/Who Else Books
Broadway Book Mall
200 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

Please drop by. I should be reading a bit, too....

May you have a lovely day and enjoy wherever you are.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Retreat / WiFi Missing....

Yes, I know I haven't posted anything lately. The flight was a little delayed but all in all went well (ok, I missed lunch). Sat-Monday I didn't write, just listened to the surf and read and talked.

Now, of course, I am WAY behind on my Nanowrimo word count so I need to write a lot the next 12 days. So far I've adopted a new schedule...like two hours on, a long break, 2 more hours, etc. It's been working better than 4-6 hours in the chair in the morning.

So that's it. I'll try and get back here tomorrow night (writing in the evenings now, too). I'll be back in Denver on Saturday and SIGNING AT BROADWAY BOOK MALL on Sunday.

May you enjoy your locale....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Off to Retreat!

Yes, it's my third annual retreat in South Carolina! This time I am doing Hermit Week 2. I am up early and packed and have new batteries and memory card for the camera, flash drives, and determination to write!

There will be the tail end of Ida, some pretty days and some cooler ones, but here it is snowing.

Mom or bro (or myself driving Mom's car) is taking me to the airport and I will be back next Saturday evening and SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22, I HAVE A SIGNING AT BROADWAY BOOK MALL.

I'll be meeting mostly new people for Hermit Week 2, so that will be interesting. I need to write, and I think I need the break of walking on the beach. I WILL (internet willing) be posting to the blog when I am away. Probably beach photos as usual.

May you enjoy your weekend and week, whatever you are doing, your free time and creativity!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What a Brand New Writer Needs

The most important thing that a brand new writer needs is FEEDBACK. They need to be affirmed that they know writing techniques or be told how to learn them.

So I always recommend a writing organization (Romance Writers of America if you are writing romance) for in-person critique groups. There are online critique groups, too, but I don't know these, and make sure they don't charge per critique. There could be fees to keep the website going, or membership fees (reasonable, under 100/year).

Or enter contests with good feedback, such as (for multi genre), Pikes Peak Writers, Southwest Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

May you find what you need today,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way


I am a big believer in writing no matter what, but the signing I went to happened to coincide with the Air Force - Army game (can we say TRAFFIC!) and took me all day. I've continued to mess with the insurance re: my minor accident, I had some family stuff, and I went down to put some summer fans away in the basement and found my hot water heater leaking yesterday am....

So I went to Lowe's and was about to pay $700 for a heater and install when they said they wouldn't install because there is no drain in the basement floor. The house is coming up on 100 years old, so, like, OF COURSE no drain.

So I haven't written. I COULD have, there is something to be said for just getting words down on the page, words, after all, can be revised, a blank page can't.

I allowed myself to be distracted. Today will be better. I have a charity lunch (I was auctioned off), and tomorrow I take the car in, but...I've been thinking about the book and that is always a very good sign.

BTW, bro came over, I led him to the basement and there was no wetness under the hot water heater. SIGNS of leakage but nothing immediate that I need to take care of before I leave for South Carolina on Saturday. Huge relief.

I WILL write this afternoon.

May you be very pleased with the world today,

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Joy of Writing! Why Do You Write? Process vs. Results

I've had this discussion many times over the years and it's something I need to remind myself when I have deadlines. I love to write (ok, I especially love to write when it's just complete fun). Yesterday, at the awesome signing at Beth Anne's Book Corner, I was talking to a woman who wrote to please herself.

Since I've joined RMFW and my critique group(s), the point of the work is WORK, to do something publishable and publish it. Sometimes the joy that started you writing is lost. I heard from one of my critique buddies that she seems to have given up writing...and I think it's because she SHOULD be published by now, and has that as a goal, we've set ourselves. So maybe next group we will look at that.

I wrote a little something a couple of months back for pure joy (ok, maybe I'll sell it sometime), but I needed to remind myself that the book I'm writing on now I wrote for pure joy, too, even though I've sold it.

It can be freeing, to think of writing for fun instead of for results...though this is NaNoWriMo month and wordcount matters... ;)

May you experience joy in your creativity today.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thank You All

Thanks to all of you who have purchased Heart Change and have let me know that you enjoyed it and/or the books.

I deeply appreciate this, especially when my writing days are a little rocky.

So may you have a sweet, unexpected pleasure today.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Signing Saturday -- Colorado Springs

All right, I'm still in promo mode for Heart Change (it won't last long), and will be doing TWO signings. One in Colorado Springs with Deb Stover this Saturday (apparently with the crunched car):

November 7, 1pm - 3pm
Signing with Deb Stover at Beth Anne's Book Corner,
1532 North Circle
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
To pre-order an autographed copy by mail
or call (719) 471-7545

and one on the 22nd when I get back from South Carolina (I will remind you).

November 22nd, 2009, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Signing with Deb Stover at Who Else Books
Broadway Book Mall
200 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

May you enjoy all your jaunts today!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New READ on READS Page, Nov Website Up

It's up and I have "new" next to the things I have updated. A new page in Worlds for Heart Change with D'Marigold Residence, the little Samhain piece I have on Celta under Worlds. An excerpt from Chapter 3 of Heart Change.

Contest is for a Calcite Egg.

May you enjoy wherever you go on the web today.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Ok, thought I HAVE heard from a few of you, Heart Change is officially released today (though I doubt it will make any famous 'lists').

I've been sending ECards to a couple of my groups, three different ones, tailored to the group, here's the one for Romance.


May you enjoy the day.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Revising vs. Restarting and Holding File

No one likes to throw your work out, but sometimes you get so bogged down in ideas that if you try to revise and rework and cut and paste old with new work, it stops you. At least it does me.

Since I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, I am already a bit behind (oh and was rear-ended yesterday, minor, but I'm going to have to deal with that this week).

And so Chapter 2 and 3 are good but not working, and if I try to revise I will STILL be stuck, I've decided to throw them out. Again.

I do have a Holding file for old chapters, all old work, but I really rarely look at it. But it's a comfort for me.

So, back to work! May you enjoy what you are doing today.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Internals, NanoWriMo Start

Yes, I am actually up at 2:30 (now 1:30 am). I went to a NaNoWriMo kickoff at about 9:30 and just got home.

Many of the people there made their daily wordcount (1667), and much more in the write in (I think the high was about 3400). I, of course, was distracted because I need to rework (again) chapter 2 of Out of Balance. Critique group was a little rough, and I'm not sure how to fix. I should also have revised 3 and 4, but that time is not new wordage. So I jumped into 5 and, of course, I went straight to internals. 1047 of internals. I have finally realized that my default mode is internals. Mainly because it lets me get the character down. But I want this book to be shorter...

I'm pretty sure my mentor's default writing is a car chase...some people do dialogue...and then write more and call it "layering." I am not really good at rushing a rough draft out and going back and revising. I tend to revise as I go along, work I did the previous day or whatever.

So I think I'm going to take a sticky and put it up on my computers that says "action," or even "dialogue" would be a better option than internals. When I first began writing there were a lot more internals that there is today, so I am behind the curve in catching up to popular fiction. A little can go a long way.

Next time, I'll just write some sort of action scene or dialogue.

Meanwhile, there is another write in at 3pm straight across the highway from me, so I think I'll go, too. I'll definitely make my wordage by then, and maybe more. Or earlier. Or something.

In any event, just sit down and write (we started at midnight), and see what is your default mode. Always good to know.

May you enjoy your reading or writing today.

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