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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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Surprise! Copy Edits, Page Proofs.

Yes, for many of us writers, copy edits/page proofs/galleys/revision letters come pretty much out of the blue. When the Heart Journey edits landed, I was given about 6 1/2 days to do them and return them. Other Major Stuff was happening in my life, and I'd planned on being away over last weekend for Karval Kon (and was, and took a print out and worked, too). So they were due today and have been sent.

The proposal for Heart Secret is due tomorrow and NOT done.

I HAVE asked for a general notification for the Heart Secret page proofs. I figure they, too, will hit at that absolute wrong time...

May you enjoy the sunshine today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Creativity Weekend - Karval Kon

It's that TIME again.


Time (Enough) For Limon
March 26-28, 2010


So that's where I'll be! Committing art. I have to do the last touches for my Masquerade costume, and the skits, of course will be improvised.

Too bad I'm also taking along the copy edits of Heart Journey...and will be working.

May you enjoy annual pleasures today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Copy Edit Comments


Heart Journey's copy edits seem to be pretty clean (thanking the Powers That Be). I really like this copy editor. Her comment is in blue and mine is in red. AU is how I am addressed. Author.

May you enjoy different aspects of your work today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

At Least I'm In The Same Universe...

At Least I'm In The Same Universe...the proposal for my last contracted "Heart" book, Heart Secret, is due April 1 and I've been working hard on the chapters and adding notes to the synopsis/plot outline, always the hardest thing for me to figure out...today I got the electronic copy edits for Heart Journey. Due March 30. I think I felt some hair turn gray.

I write in Word Perfect and the edits, of course, are in Word. I can read the explanatory sheets twelve times and still be clueless. It literally takes me MORE time to do the copy edits electronically than it does to print out the book, revise, and transcribe changes back onto the computer.

So, like, WHIIINNNNNE. Guess I'll start on them first, and let Heart Secret slide a bit, but I've let my editor's assistant know that I should ALWAYS get a great deal of lead time on electronic edits. I don't consider a week long enough.

May your work go easily today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hook me, baby

These days it's usual for me to open up a book -- whether by an author I love or someone recommended and new and think, "Hook me, baby." The opening line/paragraph/situation are all extremely important to hook the readers and keep them interested in the story. I'm pleased to say that most of the books I'm reading follow the "rule."

The one book where I went "huh?" I didn't keep reading. It's still on my itouch, and I may get back to it, when nothing more interests me, but right now...and you see the danger. Anytime soon some other work may catch my eye and I might never read that story -- or author.

So, speaking as a Reader, you still have to hook me.

May you enjoy all that you read today.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

JABBIC -- Heart Change Wins!


Judge a Book By It's Cover.

Well, *I* knew I liked Heart Change the best of all my "Heart" covers, but so did these booksellers, in the Houston Bay Area RWA.

All right, I missed the February 10th announcement, but I got the certificate and am SO pleased. Not that I did anything but give the art department a guy with two blades...

Something to smile about.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Body on Page 1, Meet in the First 3 Pages

Body on Page 1 is a "Mystery Genre Rule" to make sure your reader is hooked. "Meet in the First 3 Pages" is a "Romance Genre Rule." Naturally a lot of people break these rules, but the thing to keep in mind is that the readers want a mystery or romance, so that could hook them fastest in a particular genre. Like explosions in a thriller.

Heart Secret's proposal is due April 1 and I felt I needed to write only one scene to finish the first three chapters. Then I started thinking of the "meet." Sometimes I tend to delay the meet, sometimes my h/h meet then go their separate ways...

In Chapter 1 I introduce you to them individually -- Laev and Camellia, then I had a scene with Camellia, then Laev...and before I knew it I was looking at Chapter 4 to meet. This didn't feel right to me, so I've gone back and set up TWO meets that the readers will know about. Now I'm in the middle of Chapter 2 and it's time...and I began in Laev's POV and have decided that it should be in Camellia's.

Part of the problem is that I've been going back and forth about whether Camellia knows that Laev is her HeartMate. Lately the female knowing the guy is her HeartMate when he is clueless (or discovering it earlier) has happened in the books. OTOH, the conflict is deepened, I think, if she knows he's her HeartMate (and that, of course, is the answer itself. If the conflict is deepened that's what I should go for, but I'm thinking of the overall series and readers tiring of women knowing first...hmm, maybe I should make a chart).

Anyway, the meet will be in Chapter 2, so at least I am happy with that.

May your work go smoothly today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Good Old Advice re: Good Long-Time Friends

Do you have a friend whom you don't make time to see as often as you like. CALL HER/HIM OR SEE HER/HIM NOW! I mean it. Do it.

I have a friend that gave me terrible news, and that was the first thought I had in my mind, why didn't I make time to see you more often? I should have...but I didn't and now there isn't much time left.

Really. Believe the old advice and follow it. Call your good friends and make plans to see them.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Out of Sequence

I've been very good about writing chronologically in the story -- in sequence. The visit to Aric's mother (a dryad) follows the last day in the earth palace, follows Jenni's healing...etc.

But now, since I'm in a transition time between what has been written and the next scene that's coming up...and I have some personal pressures going on...I'm giving myself permission to write out of sequence again. I do this more often than not, and since I seem to have picked up spring fever and don't want to write. The hideous deadlines will not, of course, go away, so getting my butt in the chair by letting myself write whatever I want in Enchanted No More is good.

Soon...today and tomorrow will be sunny, with Friday nasty cold and snowy and Saturday finding me on the road to a wedding. So I'm going to sit out in the sun a little bit, then come in and tackle the work this evening and tonight.

I've taken Milton (car) in for a trip check and he is fine. I've eaten corn beef and cabbage at Mead Street Station and avoided the terrible crowds tonight.

So, sun, and contemplation and a bit of reading, and back in I'll come to tackle another attack, or more loving, or another trip through the cave...anything that will get me my wordcount.

May you enjoy St. Pats and greenness (I should be spending time in the forests in Enchanted No More today).

Real/Story Timelines

Enchanted No More takes place between January and March. I'm not quite sure when I originally wrote the first chapter, but I wanted it cold and after the New Year so people were tired of winter and the brownies were shivering on the porch... But I sold the book in April of last year, and began working seriously on it in October.

Since then I've been a little ahead of the curve (chapters 8-18 take place over a few days in February). But now I'm lagging behind, and the climax of the book will, of course, take place during the Spring Equinox -- next week.

Being "right on time" when writing the book has been a boon to me, since I can check out webcams at the various places and I can imagine the weather/air/atmosphere easier.

So days pass and I will miss the synchronicity.

Enjoy today.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I see, I hear you, That's Touching

You can use "I see," or "I hear you," and "That's touching," to show what kind of learner your character is, how s/he processes information. Those who say "I see," often are, of course, visual. "I hear you," means they LISTEN. "Touching" is kinesethetic. Maybe someone says "That stinks." Are they more aware of odor than most of your other characters?

Enjoy whatever you sense today.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I feel, I think, I believe

In conversation I'll say, "I feel," or "I think," or "I believe," pretty much interchangeably. Not when I write. If a character says "I feel" it IS a matter of feeling. "I think," means s/he's given it some thought or is being logical. "I believe," is a matter of faith and philosophy for my characters, something that may or may not be up for discussion.

So I usually know which part of my character is driving them: heart, head or "core experience."

May you know where you're coming from today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Latest Consulted Reference Book

The Nude In Black and White, Creative Approaches to Photographing The Nude
# Paperback: 144 pages
# Publisher: Amphoto Books; First Edition edition (October 1993)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0817450882
# ISBN-13: 978-0817450885
# Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches

Sometimes research is fascinating. ;) May you enjoy any research you do today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Setting -- Goodbye to Yellowstone


Of course the last day that Jenni and Aric (the h/h of Enchanted No More) spend in Yellowstone is gray. Unlike real life today. For the last few weeks it's been gray in Yellowstone, and in the book the skies have been blue.

It's also awesome to think that I might have been the only one watching Old Faithful go off today. No tourists were there. Rather eerie.

In any event, in an hour Jenni and Aric will step into a tree and arrive in a California redwood forest in his dryad mother's tree.

See you on the other side! Meanwhile, enjoy the view.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Series -- Reader's Hat and Writer's Hat

Reader's Hat: I read a lot, and a lot of series. And I know that not every book in a series will be as interesting as my favorite. One or two may hit a hot button. I accept that and continue with the series. Writer's Hat: Please don't trash an author's complete work because you dislike one book.

I've been thinking about the above a couple of days before I posted, hoping I wasn't too harsh. Sometimes I do give up on series, sometimes an author has repetitious plots/characters and I still buy and read the series. Every author I know does the very best s/he can at writing stories we love and want to share. Think about how you would feel if someone trashed your work in public.

No, I haven't been reading bad reviews again. This came up because I was disappointed in the latest of one of my series...and probably the Oscars.

May you enjoy your work.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Revise, Revise, Revise

Heart Secret's proposal (the last in my contracted Heart books), is due on April 1. I printed out in "booklike" landscape form and revised the first chapter again today. I liked the opening since I wrote it...but I've taken it to critique and revised it myself a couple of times more. Once two days ago. Writers will revise ad infinitum. But I am sure it's a better chapter now, some clunky paragraphs were cut...Chapter 2, here I come.

May you enjoy your day.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Point of View -- Romance & Fantasy

In my romances I usually have two points of view, the hero and the heroine. As a writer I prefer that, just the two protagonists. The free online read "Song of Marwey" is the exception.

Song of Marwey was a prequel to the Luna Series, and the first book of the series, Guardian of Honor, had already been turned in. In that book, the hero of the Song of Marwey, Pascal, is in a battle and I never revealed that he had lived since he was a seoondary character (Ok, if I don't say a character dies, he doesn't).
So I had a problem. Folks who read The Song of Marwey (released just before and during the first week the book was on sale), would want to know what happened to Pascal. So in the short story I had to add another viewpoint, that of a man who sees the future in visions (Luthan), to reassure the readers that Marwey and Pascal would be all right. And they are, through the entire series. They did not take part in the final battle but were the ones who held the fort (castle) at home.

Fantasy is different. In the Luna series (the Summoning series), I had, I think, four points of view in Guardian of Honor. I started out with Thalia's point of view, then moved on to the main players Alexa and Bastien, and once again I needed Luthan and his visions.

Now here is the twist to the story. ;) I've been doing 2-4 viewpoints over a career of fourteen books.

When I write, I let my characters tell their story. So far only Jenni has spoken up in Enchanted No More. Since it's over half done, I don't anticipate that we'll be hearing from anyone else. Including her lover, Aric. Which is just odd for me, and I am nervous that my readers won't like the book because it has no male pov. I like reading male POV myself. But the book is what it is.

The next Luna book (title unknown), will definitely have a male pov as well as the heroine's. It was originally the first idea in the series, and a romance and started with the guy. Luna likes to start with the heroine.

The time period will also be a little different -- book 2 (title unknown) will be a little before or overlapping in time with Enchanted No More (so far in the plot, editor will have input).

So I am stretching my wings here, with one POV (it is NOT first person "I").

Enjoy being in your own head today.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Hero's/Writer's Journey

As I've said before, Vogler's Writer's Journey arc works for me. I've just realized that when I changed the story of Enchanted No More, I didn't do a full plot synopsis. So I may be doing a bit of this after my wordcount is done. In any event, I am now on stage 9: REWARD (of 12) and the book is progressing.

And the sun is out and the cats only fought twice today.

Life is good,

May your life be good today, too.

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