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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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,


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