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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Saturday, April 30, 2011


THE END -- Yes, FINALLY finished Enchanted Again, enough time to pass off to Mentor and maybe read myself. But the page proofs of Heart Search are due on Monday, and I need to fix whatever my friend and editor, Rose, found. That takes priority. Today is in-person critique group and I am taking the space story, the discovery of Celta, Heart & Sword. My head is spinning.

Love to all,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Struggling to Finish Enchanted Again


Yes, I wanted to finish Enchanted Again last Friday...and today...and it looks like I might actually make it tomorrow. This has included a myriad of odd activities that occur when on deadline...like writing my all time highest wordcount (6634) in 7 hours. And pasting together three scenes that dealt with one idea (see pic above). Reaching the standard "this novel is crap" stage and whining to mentor. And thinking, after I finished today, "you know, those pages would be better in the previous chapter and put into dialogue." Urgh. And having all sorts of out-of-sequence files open in my word processor (I'm limited to 8), called such things as "Consider1" "NewUpdate2" "AllEndings," "Duel1" "DeathOfSzztt" "BreakingBonds2B".

I really think I've gone crazy. But I have reached the point where I am desperate to finish the book, just so it's DONE. I'll print it out, read it, hand it to mentor for any logic problems, reformat and send it off by 3pm Monday. It will be GONE. And Someone Else's Problem (Editor), and I won't have to see it for a while. And maybe when I see it again I can fix what I think may be crap.

Or it might not be crap after all. I believe some parts are GOOD.

Not to mention that I did a signing, am continuing to get over the nasty 2 week cold, drinking incredible amounts of tea and herbal tea...got the preliminary cover which I love but doesn't look anything like the setting I had in mind...and saw a deeply mediocre review of Enchanted No More. I should NOT look at those things when I am in this sort of mind space.

Anyway, that's the update/babble for now. Bottom line advice: Put it in dialogue.

May you be cool, calm, and collected.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Field Trip

I'm doing well on Enchanted Again (though I have been sick the last two weeks), and went on a field trip to Red Rocks where the climax and magical duel is taking place. Says mentor, "Why Red Rocks?" Me: No magical duels in the city, and I wanted somewhere close to Denver and mystical, So, Red Rocks.

May you enjoy your work today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Problem: Bogged Down in Research

Bogged Down In Research: Usually this doesn't happen to me. I write a scene then research and change. Because researching exact details such river depth, museum floor plans and traffic cams will slow you down every time.

Just Write! Research later. Especially if you're doing magic, because with magic almost everything is possible if you set it up right. So, three hours into the writing day and the scene that was flowing in my brain when I awoke is gone.

May you enjoy your day and always be amused at yourself.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pacing yourself -- Writers and Readers

Some people do binge writing, just sit down and let it all out. More often than not, I pace myself. At one of my old day jobs, I was accused of this, and I still don't know why that was supposed to be bad.

At this moment going on 1 am, I am behind wordcount for (yesterday/today/this week/this month). But I have two partial scenes and the first half of chronological chapter 20 up on my word processing system.

I know when I wake up, I'll be able to finish those two scenes and probably the chapter.

It's a bit of security. So, yes, I pace myself.

As a reader, I don't. Like many of you, I'll stay up late and gobble my favorites down. I think that's wonderful for readers. Don'tPaceYourself.Read.Read.Read.

May you be amused with yourself today.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Research Trip Aaargggh!


I had a great time at the museum, though the price was steep. The wonderful thing about writing a contemporary fantasy is that I can use exhibitions/events like this in my work. :) I don't have to make up a Bright Brigid's Day Fair or Great Labyrinth Fair (the latter has become annual in the years between Heart Journey and Heart Search)....

Now to write the scene while the visit is fresh.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Hook Me Baby, Too

I wrote about hooking the reader last year. This still applies. I don't care how big you are, you need a hook for NEW readers if no one else. Or those who may be thinking "I didn't like his/her last book, if I don't like this one...."

I went to an author's chat where many were praising a book. It took me a while to figure out what the title was and the author never listed his/her website. Which bothered me. It took me a while to find.

Next, on the author's website, apparently written by the author and not a quotation, was "the fascinating stories of....." So, I admit, by this time I wasn't totally objective. Because, you know, what's fascinating to one is not to another. There are people out there who don't care for "talking animals." {gasp! LOL}

I clicked on the excerpt and it essentially began: "Finally, a lovely spring day, she thought to herself...."

I didn't get past that first line. 1) I'm not interested in the weather, I want to know about the character and this told me nothing. Use minimal description until you hook your reader on the character. That's why I do loglines (time/place) for my stories. That's MY advice, so take it as advice to be used or not. But as a reader I look for something other than rolling hills or fine spring days, especially a reader with limited time.

2) Beginner's mistake "she thought to herself". Ok, in many paranormal books people think to others. But I usually do the first mental communication as "the cat sent telepathically" or "he heard the fox's voice in his mind." Making sure that the reader KNOWS there is communication between two beings.

I mean, who else does a person think to, other than himself/herself? This is a BASIC mistake that should have been caught. It's a one-time lesson learned early in critique group. Of COURSE I've remembered it since I did it and, naturally, I did that.

I'm sorry if I sound grumpy, I am exasperated that this person is not doing himself/herself well, that, somehow, basic things are escaping him/her.

May you know your ignorance today,

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Dry Times Fears / Writer's Block


I took a couple of days off -- more panic rather than refilling the well, but I'd strained my neck badly looking at the monitor and muscles needed rest. The monitor is floating on an arm, so I think I've finally got it adjusted right. I could, of course, have worked on the laptop downstairs, but I didn't.

So when I hit the keyboard this morning, I wondered if anything new would come. This, too, is part of deadline fear.

And regular fear if I take a break. I take the fact that I can write x number of words a day for granted, but deep within, I think they could all dry up at any time.

Working writers can't afford a writer's block, and I think that blocks come from basic fear. What if no words come? What if the words are bad? What if.... INSERT 10,000,000th FEAR HERE.

Yes, I have creativity exercises on my website and around me, and books. A lot. But the basic cure for writer's block is putting the butt in the chair and just writing. Nonsense if you have to, strange tangents to the plot, if necessary. But WRITING.

May you know no fear today.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


I've been giving this thought lately. Yes, sometimes it's easy to know whether the person who is writing is male or female. But think of blogs...how do you KNOW the person is the gender they say? Or chatrooms?

I was playing City of Heroes the other night and hanging around for a team to form for a big mission (a task force). It was obvious that most of the others were friends, and real life friends. I was admiring the armor of Courageous Lady (not the real character name), and wonder how she got it that color (I do this, pay a lot of attention to costumes).

So, someone says: Courageous Lady is our best damage-dealer, follow him in the task force missions.

I say: Ahem, Courageous Lady is female.


Actually, Courageous Lady was being played (I was told) by a rough, male, ex-marine. But, like, who knows? I did get the idea that the player was male, though, and ex-military, like many of the rest of the team.

In the game there are some clues as to whether the female character might be played by a male. All butts are firm and toned, but breasts can be minimal (and still look full) or, ah, top heavy. Guys tend to make big busted women. Also, they tend to run in and bash, not check to see if every corner is clear of villains. It's straight ahead, and if they know the mission, they don't stop for anyone.

More about results than the trip.

And I have several guys I play and when I do, I am treated a little differently than when I play my female characters.

So, yes, there's definite genders out there, but I think we are more alike than different. So I think men can write female points of view and women can write male points of view and be on the mark.

And I know I write like a female, which doesn't bother me too much except when I think that I'd like a larger audience.

May you enjoy what you're doing today.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Wordcount January - March

I don't write as fast as many people, and don't rack up the wordcount. I edit as I go -- reasonably. ;)

In any event, the wordcount from January through March is probably my personal highest: 135,748. February was a banner month of mostly writing as opposed to revising and copy edits, etc.)

I had 3 days off each month, throughout the month, where I did no writing or revising.

I am pleased but tired.

May you be pleased with yourself today.


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