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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RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Question for Readers re: Characters

Question for Readers re: Characters. I have decided that one of my heroines believes that love is just not for her -- no terrible experiences with men (since I've recently done that), but she just doesn't believe in it.

Soooo, give me some reasons and backstory for this. If I use them, I'll send you electronic arcs of Hearts and Swords.

Many thanks,


Anonymous HAT said...

I rather like the idea that she believes love isn't for her because no one has ever noticed her like that. She's always the "good friend" to men, not the love interest. The men in her life have always fallen for someone else. So she doesn't think they would ever notice her in that way. The best other novel example I can think of is Frederica by Heyer. She just doesn't perceive herself as man-attracting material because she is too busy caring for others, living her fulfilled life, and no one has ever proved her wrong. She doesn't have anything against men--she enjoys the friendship she has with them--she just figures they innately don't think of her sexually. Of course, with a heart mate she's probably have to be the older one this time since she wouldn't have had any dreams about him. Or perhaps her fever dreams weren't sexual in an obvious way for other reasons such as age, illness, medication--ooh, some sort of experiment to lessen the severity of the passages that messed with the impact of the dreams.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Betty Hanawa said...

Raised at the LaSaille Orphanage where people are kind but she never sees or experiences real love. Never adopted out or, if so, the adoption didn't work out. Apprenticed at a young age, using an indifferent Flair, something very common, with her major Flair either being very subtle or not apparent. Again the people she's apprenticed to are indifferent to her. Thinks only HeartMates know love and thinks it's a biological thing triggered by Flair (like major lust experience) rather than the caring, affection, and appreciation of another person. She'll need an abused animal for a Fam, but not a dog because it doesn't take much for a dog to start giving unconditional love to a kind person in its life.

If you've never known love, it's hard to believe in it. Recommended movie to watch: Finding a Family on the Hallmark Channel.

8:53 AM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

Ahh, really WONDERFUL, Betty, but this is for the Luna universe. I'll tuck the idea away for consideration for the Heart books later.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Betty Hanawa said...

Thanks, I forgot you were focused on Luna right now, just reread Heart Search, so the Heart series is on the mind

But, seriously, the statement holds true in whichever world. If you haven't experienced love in any form, it's hard to understand it. In Finding a Family, the young man was in and out of foster care due to a bipolar mother and mostly shut himself off from getting close to people Really good movie based on true experiences of the young man.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Mem said...

Maybe she doesn't believe love is for her because of familial pressure, she's the bright one who is expected to achieve great things. So she's always pushed herself and kept her focus on her work. She's always been much younger than classmates in school, and later at work considers herself to be more a "buddy" than a woman.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is too busy with her career, hobbies and enjoying her life; the examples of "love" around her are the women sacrificing themselves and giving up all, and getting nothing but trouble as a return, or very little! She doesnt see herself as a professional martyr or wants to lower/demean herself. Life is to good to become a loser bowing to a male! She can do very well by herself, thank you very much!!

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are women made to think that they don't deserve to be loved by a man? Even in books that are meant to make them feel good? The ones who reap the results of these "I am inferior" thinking are men. ....and quite a few of them are not worth a second thought, let alone "love". Why waste ones time?
A heroine in Celta - promiscuous society? - wouln'd even to pretend love to get sex. No need of Cinderenllas!

1:41 PM  
Blogger melmothermode said...

Make the heroine Tall and very athletic! It will take a very strong and self confident man to appeal to her - she will have a positive back story i.e. many male friends but they will be intimidated by her percieved physical strengths....she may be underdeveloped emotionally as a result that is can see positive benefit of strong male companion until she experiences that she doesnt have the be the strong one all the time...Maybe she suffers an ailment / accident that knocks her self confidence ...

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She saw the results of bad relationships and decided that no relationship was better than one like that. She's busy and happy and likes doing things her way, without having to think about what anyone else wants, or adjusting for their habits and preferences.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

You could just give her a lot of brains. Not that super smart women don't find love, but they're often too mentally consumed with other things. It can make them oblivious to past advances, thereby rejecting those that try without even realizing it. Eventually, if surrounded by the same people for a long period of time, they stop trying. That doesn't mean nobody would love the heroine, just that her head is too busy with "more important" things to notice what's right in front of her. That provides the double-whammy of "part of me is disappointed nobody notices me" like HAT said, as well as the "I believe THIS is a problem only I can solve, and love isn't part of the equation (but it really is)" angle. Or, on the same line, maybe she has devoted herself to a calling that (she thinks) disallows her from romantic love. Because she has to treat everyone equally in order to do her job, or she's sworn a vow, or dire consequences will arise if she gets distracted.

Also, kids whose parents get divorced can have a hard time believing love is real and possible when they grow up. Heck, my parents got divorced three months after I got married, and it still made me wonder!

I'm way behind on your LUNAs, otherwise I would offer more world-specific suggestions. : /

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 5' 7/5". I clean up well. I hardly ever got asked to dance growing up. I have been told that I am very intimidating. A male lawyer explained it to me one day. It seemed to boil down to the fact I look people dead in the eye when I speak to them and that is, appearantly, very intimidating to men. The male lawyer? Over 6' tall, very good looking and he told me that I intimidate him.


8:50 PM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

I can see I'm going to have to do some more work on this (most likely simmer on the back burner), because she IS contemporary woman, but the "love is not for me" must be deeply enough seated that it is her major growth point in the book. So it needs to be more deeply motivated than something that could be eroded away by hugely changed circumstances or male interest (after all, this will have some romance in it).

Ok, she's my geek, so I don't see her as athletic, she could be tall and focused and brilliant -- and since I didn't want to ascribe stuff to men maybe I could do the old ugly duckling thing from her mother and beautiful sisters.

(sorry about the Cinderella thing, anon, but as we know parents really shape our lives).

I'll see how this can play out.

Many thanks to you all. I think I can manage an e copy of ONE of the Heart Stories in Hearts and Swords to each of you, so email me with which one you would like to see.


8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I cannot wait for the full book to come out now.


7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 25 when I came to the decision to just give up with the whole dating thing. If asked out, I'd go, but, I was very tired of going out to the clubs, (really tired of the smoking), tired of relationships from guys who weren't looking for what I was looking for. I decided that if I REALLY wanted to be a mother I could make that happen. Four months after making this decision, I went dancing with some girlfriends at a club 60+ miles from home and got asked to dance by a man who became my husband.


7:32 AM  
Anonymous Kristal said...

I only read the post today, so I hope I'm not to late.

You can make this related to her childhood. For example:
Her parents are so in «love» with each other that they don't pay any attention to her and she is always alone groing up, turning to study and later work to fill the emptyness inside her. So she decides that «love» is not for her, because she dosn't want to be so a part of anyone that any other being is a bother.

Hope it helps!

4:28 PM  
Blogger Tannun said...

Maybe her parents have experienced deep, true, soulmate love, and it's left her a bystander. They are so in love with each other there really isn't any room for anyone else. They are like the planet and moon, dancing, spinning, rotating, focused so much on each other, that others get excluded.

If it means they miss a school event, forget to pick her up at the library, invite family and friends to a birthday party and then forget to actually buy/make cake/food/presents.

Parents so in love they are surprised when the real world intrudes. And hurt that others expect their attention.

She absolutely knows love exists. But in her experience it's obsession. It's hard growing to love someone, when your parents are Romeo and Juliet. Jeesh, they really would die for each other, and perhaps proved it by doing exactly that, when she really needed them?

9:40 PM  
Blogger Tannun said...

Second idea.

She has a sister. A sister that falls in love at the drop of a hate, and always with the wrong kind of guy.

The kind of guy that gets you arrested at 14. The kind of guy that gets you pregnant and runs. The kind of guy that gets you hooked on drugs. The kind of guy that kills you.

Leaving her to always pick up the pieces, which ultimately means she's raising her sisters daughter.

Ultimately, she decides it's 'safest' to channel her love in the child she is now raising. One thing is certain, she refuses to be anyones victim

9:44 PM  
Blogger Tannun said...

third idea.

Perfection can be boring.

What's a girl to do when her parents and siblings live fairy tale lives. They get their prince charmings, slay the wicked witch, live happily ever after.

But she wasn't meant for perfection. Oh she's not evil, not exactly.

But she is the prankster, the free spirit, and love can be so stifling.

No chance she's getting caught in those ties that bind. Not when she's having so much fun being a bit bad!

9:56 PM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

I actually went with a way different motivation that will work equally well, I believe.

Thanks SO MUCH all of you, I have fodder for another book!

4:57 PM  

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