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, February 07, 2010


Not sure what happened last week, but I went into serious hermit mode, so I didn't update as often as usual. Many thanks to those who stuck with me.

I've been thinking about Heart Change and threats and villains. For the first part of Heart Change there isn't a villain, but there is a threat. Will Signet be able to save the child Avellana or will the girl die in her dream fugue Passage to free her magic? Will Signet master her newly discovered magic? And if she fails to save Avellana, how emotionally hurt will she be...as well as alienating the noble class?

That was the threat that continued throughout the book. Even as I was writing it at the time I knew it was more of a passive threat, not active (though I tried to make the Passages wrenching). I bring in the villain later.

For some readers this didn't work as well as I'd hoped, so I will be leery of doing something like this again. But I liked it and I still like the story.

So that's my musing on passive threats vs. villains.

May you avoid all threats and villains today except between pages.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked it. It was restfull and I was able to enjoy the play and story line between Cratag and Signet. I don't need drama and agnst every other chapter. I like light and airy everyone in awhile. I also really enjoyed the increased interaction with the Residence. And having seen the picture of the house from your website, really brought the Residence to life even more.


PS. I did miss you last week.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Peggy said...

Welcome back! I hope your hermit week was refreshing!

To comment on the topic (what a concept, right?) -- threats and villains are just different types of tension/conflict. Some of us will like one or the other better, and some of us like a mix of both.

In short, write whatever the story seems to need most, and trust us to follow along for the ride.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need of violence or threat. No need of explosions, car chases, blood and guts, to make a good story. Plenty of evil villains everywhere. Easy, old hat, murder can be read in the newspapers everyday and if one is unlucky live it.
No thanks!

3:27 PM  
Blogger e_booklover said...

I missed your comments too. I really enjoyed your blend between threat and villain.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

I don't have a problem with a threat instead of a villain. In some cases it can work better.


7:45 PM  
Blogger Jenny Schwartzberg said...

I loved Heart Change, so I wouldn't worry too much about threat vs. villain. I've already reread it a number of times and can't wait for the next one!! We are all hermits when we need to be, so no need to apologize to us!

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that a threat (as opposed to a villain) is more believable. I enjoyed the fact that there was no external villain at the start of Heart Change (and I enjoyed the book...).

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Sara H said...

I also liked the threat i.s.o villain in Heart Change, and have re-read the book a couple times.
The thing that does annoy me a bit is that in Heart Dance the oldest Hazel child is a boy at second passage age, recently heart-mated; and in Heart Change it is a girl of (I guess) about 14. And there are more inconsistencies like this in the heart-mate books (e.g. passage ages, T'Willow's flair etc), that is kind of annoying in a series. I guess you would have to re-read your own books (or keep lists) to notice these things as an author. Am still a huge fan of your books, and am waiting for the next book!

6:02 AM  

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