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, June 30, 2012

Group Scene AGAIN

Why do I do this to myself? I was checking out the scene I'm taking to critique and this is what I see:

Glyssa and Camellia go to the starship Nuada's Sword (sentient, so it counts as a person) THREE

They meet a courier with a recording from the excavation of Lugh's Spear (comes and goes FOUR and back to THREE)

They watch a viz recording from Lugh's spear showing the hero, another man and hear a narrator. SIX

The viz ends. SIX TO THREE.

Laev (Camellia's HeartMate) comes in, so does Dani Eve Elder, who lives and works on the Ship. THREE TO FIVE, with mentions of the Captain.

T'Ash scries the Ship holding a young fox kit, a cat hisses offstage. FIVE TO EIGHT.

Glyssa leaves to go to T'Ash's. EIGHT TO ONE

She meets Danith D'Ash and the fox kit, Glyssa's new Fam. ONE TO THREE TO TWO at the end of the scene.

I can keep track of this. My steeped-in-Celta fans can probably do the same. Mentor can (but will howl at the group scene). The rest of my critique group (esp. the guy) not so much.

I like this scene, but I know it must be cut, giving me a headache. I can delete Dani Eve and summarize the conversation about the telecommunications satellite (Laev needs to be there). I can probably get Glyssa alone in the landing bay when T'Ash calls...still.

I am not sure what I need to do to stop this rampant group-scene tendency of mine, except concentrate harder when I am working.

Thank you for listening to me vent...and those were the people on and off-stage, there was another paragraph that was completely lovely and listed a chain of names that, again, observant fans would know, but no one else. It must also be cut...

May you not entangle yourself in any problems today.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Story prompt

I love coming across something that I think as a story prompt, that will engender a story if thought about, and I especially love to share these with other writers, because no one's story would be the same.

I was looking at Mark Twain quotes today and here's one:

It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mark_twain_5.html#Eg1X2XtuYd40S8KB.99

Ball pic from: http://www.petessite.com/akimages/311%20but%20ball%202.JPG
May you enjoy your imagination today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Every Writer Fears The Most

What Every Writer Fears The Most

Losing work.

Short and sweet today, and yes I thought I'd lost something, but I found it...which really pumps adrenaline through the body. :)

May you lose nothing you don't want today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Every manuscript, book, process is different

Every manuscript, book, process is different...and I think I've finally realized that for revision phases I have to proceed in order, and not jump around from section to section. I have gotten accustomed to revising online, finally, with my big monitor to help. To the left is my work in wordperfect, to the right is editorial comments in Word.

Enchanted Ever After demands a complete read beginning to end (all right, I'm skipping a couple of the first scenes where there were no comments, at this point I can't possibly look at them with anything but weariness and touching them would just lead to a terrible mess. If the copy editor has suggestions, I'll look at them again, otherwise they will just have to stay).

After beta comments, I'm chopping a full scene in chapter 4 and rewriting, including only a few bits from the original.

I have a feeling this will be slow, especially with the heat, and instead of doing in 2-3 days, I will need a week. :)

So may you find your own rhythm and be pleased with it this week.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Backstory, Motivation, and Writing Short

I need to add a LITTLE to my hero's backstory, up front and in chapter 1. This is always a challenge, because going on and on and on about what made him the way he was is one way to lose readers.

Writing pithy little pointed bits, with all the right words, is much more difficult than pages of rambling, and has taken some thinking.

I've finally done it, stuck it in the document and called it done for Chapter One.

The first chapters have also reached the point where I can't tell whether any changes I make are better or just different.

Now to completely cut the scene in chapter 4 (too many people, esp. for readers who pick up this book first) and rework it.

Thanks for all the comments here, email, facebook and tweets!

Heat..thinking...and working

I've learned the last couple of days that, no, I do not think well in the heat. It's 6:01 now and I've been up since 4:15 trying to cool down the house...which was 84 on the main level.

Yes, I AM drinking a lot of water, and NO, my brain is not working as well as I wanted, and I sure don't have the energy to pull the 10-14 hour days I'm accustomed to when I want to work on revisions/edits. I've been lucky enough to make 2.

So, work arounds: I can clear out an area in the half-basement (scary but cool basement). I can clear out an area in the back storage room which has an ancient (but working) air conditioner...of course cats would not be able to come in and out, and since they hardly make a peep, I wouldn't hear them at the door.

I can find an inexpensive motel close by and rent for a couple of days.

I can flee to my parents basement (where they are also living since their house seems to be hotter than mine)....

But right now I need to write while I have the brain cells...later.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Long, Hot Days of Summer Editing...

Long, Hot Days of Summer Editing: I've gotten the edits for Enchanted Ever After and will start on the long days of revision now. I like to do them in as few days as possible so I stay in that world. Though I may be going down to my local coffee shop (the Sensitive New Age Bean in the Mystic Circle books), or the local deli, where it's cooler, to work. Or moving up and down stairs...new "desktop" (a loaded notebook) to laptop (actually larger than the desktop).

Supposed to be about 102 degrees today, falling down to, maybe, 97 in the next week.

See you on the other side. And for hanging in there with me, you get two pics, one of the editing process on my huge monitor, and one of the cover of Enchanted Ever After, which is pastel.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Writers and Critique

Writers and Critique: I have a critique group and beta readers, and much of the time I take their advice (especially my critique group). But I've been downloading some self-published ebooks -- I'm no stronger against temptation for a free book or a .99 cent book than anyone else -- and some of these books are by acquaintances and friends. And I wonder why they aren't better. Because I know these people, and I know they've been in writing groups for years (not my critique groups, not that I think anyone in my crit group -- ok Cate, but you're new, reads my blog).

Some people won't take critique. That's how it is. They WON'T learn. This is not aimed at them because they won't change.

And heaven knows, if I was stupid enough to put my first book up on amazon, I'd lose ALL my readers, because I wrote it without critique and it is TERRIBLE. Even the second version, with critique, is BAD.

And, I truly get that people believe their first work is good. I did. I still think the story isn't too bad (but probably more fit for a historical rather than a contemporary, and NO I will never put it up unless it's to demonstrate "do not do this").

And I understand that at whatever level, people are writing the best book they can and they believe in that book. After all, I do.

I guess it comes down to having people tell you the truth -- as much as it hurts to hear that truth. And the truth is, my friends, that your work you say is contemporary is not, it's dated; or that wo/men never behaved like that, even in romance; or that there's nothing original in your plot and your characters aren't enough to carry me along. MY OPINION.

Of course I would never say that to their faces, especially about a work they've already published. And I guess that makes me a hypocrite.

Okay, I would say that to them if they asked me. Thankfully, they haven't.

Thinking about this, I believe the point of this blog is that if you're a writer, you need critique and you need editors and you should listen to them. (And, yes, I am waiting for editorial comment on Enchanted Ever After, why do you ask? I'll have to listen to my own advice. ;) )

Enjoy your day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Win one of my books today http://bookmonsterreviews.blogspot.com/

Win choice of Heart book or Enchanted No More here today:

Thanks, Robin

Meet Zem, the new Fam in Heart Fortune

You all asked for a bird Fam, here's Zem (name chosen by the winner of Brenda Novak's auction for that). He's the most beautiful hawk in America, and the smallest raptor, an American Kestrel.

He will be larger on Celta, and a native bird. :)

Race Bayrum, the hero, will be his Fam companion.

Thank you for all your help.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Back to Writing

The roof is done. It looks pretty much the same as the old roof, the color I chose is so close, but, of course, newer. I can sit in my rags (which are looser than my going out clothes, imagine that). No pounding will ensue. I do not need to keep my doors open so they can use inside outlets for their power tools. Whew. Back to work!

May you have a cheerful day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wild At Heart E-Project

I sent in the Wild At Heart E-project to my agent to see what she thinks. The story now stands at 4 chapters and about 10.6K, so I think it will end up being a long novella, again. About 30K-40K, nearly double what agent said would be the minimum. So that's out. I'll go back to writing it when the roofers are done. The ripping and the pounding have been a whole lot more disruptive than I'd anticipated. I will have lunch time today to write, and after they leave this evening (which was after 8pm last night).

In any event the proposal is out, which is always a good thing...however, other than those of you who read the first pages, this has not been seen by ANYONE. I, of course, went over it several times, but I have the problem all fantasy writers face (what's in your head didn't make it to the page, which leads to reader confusion). I'll be interested in how this process goes.

Thanks for the feedback, and hanging in there with me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Shoes and the Writing Career

I've been thinking lately about the wonderful things about working at home/working for yourself. This morning it was shoes. Where are my trainers? Or, maybe, my red crocs. With socks today. I usually wear shoes and two pairs of socks during the winter because my feet get cold, and I ALWAYS wear rags to work, literally holey stuff with tea "oops." Unless someone is coming. Like the roofers, supposed to be here by now. I have "going out" clothes on today, jeans and my fav t-shirt with Shakespeare with the tatts and brow ring. (I think I posted it here somewhere).

So wearing what you like is very cool.

So is starting work when you want. I HATED mornings when I had the day job, but now that I'm on my own, mornings are a good writing time. And I started work today at 5:45 a.m.

Being around for service people/deliveries also counts as a plus.

So I am pleased with myself today (and nervous about roofers, of course).

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.
Robin (and, no, even though I didn't want this interrupted, they did not come).

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Research today

Today I'm working on the novella (day messed to hell when parents cancelled a gathering). I liked this website and thought you would, too. I mean, info re: baby panthers.

May you enjoy all the critters in your life today.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Book Graphics

I have a very few book graphics up at my pinterest page for HeartMate, general ideas of the hero/heroine and pics of Zanth. Here's the story: Pretty much the first email I got from my editor after I sold HeartMate was "send photos of cat." So I took a couple. But, you see, my computer couldn't process the pics. It was a dark and stormy night...true, spitting snow/sleet and I had to take the FILM down to a local processors and have them make a disk. Then I emailed the photos, saved them and also sent the disk. Thus Zanth on the original cover.

But, as I wrote more, did more research, visualized my stories more, I accumulated more pics/graphics/ideas for each book. So the later books will have more on their particular pinterest board. However, I also copied LOADS of pics from the net and didn't keep track of where I got them, and don't want to upload someone else's may-be-copyrighted pics.

Everything up in pinterest is a photo by me or I've tracked the sources down. So that will also limit what I might put up.

That's the scoop and now there's someone to keep me company in the word wars room and I'll head in to start the pm session on Wild At Heart (that story I sent an excerpt to earlier).

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.


I've worked very hard on my Pintrest boards and uploaded all my bookcovers (tried to keep them in order, at least labeled them for order), and some, I hope, intriguing pics...

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Time Off -- Diamond Jubilee -- Pinterest

I took some time off. Heat has smacked Denver, and Mom, being an Anglophile, wanted someone to watch the Diamond Jubilee services with her at 2:15 am on Tuesday. As a writer, a lot goes into the mental hopper, including such pomp and circumstance, the look and feel of people at that social level that I can only imagine. Anyway, I'm back. I've started a pinterest, but like all things, when I'm working on the pinterest, I am not writing...http://pinterest.com/robindowens/

I have art and stuff that I've sent to my editors from my very first book, so let me know what you'd like to see. I suppose I should put up an awards page.

May thanks for all your support,

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Naming Day

I spent HOURS figuring out names for some secondary characters of Heart Fortune, a rival of my hero, Race Bayrum, and his recently ex-lover. Urgh.

I wound my way through Culpeper's Color Herbal, Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, the scientific website I use for naming, and A Druid's Herbal.

I had very specific ideas in mind for the names, of course they had to be plant-based, and not too spoilerish (I don't like giving away my villains too often by a nasty name).

So falling by the wayside were Hirtel Something, Scratchdaisy (don't you love it?) Calamas Rattan, Calamas Serge (I didn't know about the Walt Whitman poems), Yanth Buckbean, Ari Penstemon, Jope Purpurem, and Stiffleaf (I kid you not, someday I will HAVE to have a Stiffleaf). Anyway, may you be amused rather than frustrated with any snags.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo Starts

Yes, it's here, and yes I am struggling with Day 1. There is significant construction going on next door...but, a rationalization, of course.
Anyway for those of you who missed it, here's the link.

May your day be peaceful.

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