Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing


Story Development and Execution Part 3: Character

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. As we bring February to a close, we reach part three of this series: characters. SE has quite a few posts on the topic. (Joan has a whole series on specific character types, Craig has a series on archetypes, Mae shows us how to use personality tests to develop characters, John discusses insensitivity, and I haven’t scratched the surface. Consider typing “character” into our search bar for a variety of character posts.) Today, I’ll take a slightly different approach and discuss what your characters should do.

Even if you write plot-driven fiction, this point is an absolute truth. Your story is about how your POV character sees a specific aspect of the world. That means there’s automatically an element of bias in your story. Your instinct might be to try to eliminate that bias and tell your story as impartially as possible. RESIST THAT…

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Fixing A Stuck Scene

K.M. Allan

As writers, we’ve all been there. Enthusiastic to start a project one minute, doing everything to avoid working on it the next.

While you could claim distractions, work, responsibilities, and life are impeding your writing progress, sometimes, the reason you can’t get any words down is that you’ve got a stuck scene.

Fixing A Stuck Scene

A stuck scene happens when you have a much-needed scene for your story, but you can’t write it at all or pen it in a way that works. It’s a frustrating problem to have.

Writing your way through hasn’t helped and has only left you with a half-finished draft, a totally boring complete scene, or an ending that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to.

If that sounds like a scene you’re working on, these tips might help fix it…

Brainstorm/What If?

While an initial idea kicked off the scene, it hasn’t translated to…

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Writing a Query Letter #agentqueries #literaryqueries

Story Empire

Hi, SEers. Mae here today to discuss a topic that usually makes authors cringe. There are two things I despise writing—a book synopsis, and a query letter. I’ve had to suck it up and do the former, but until the end of last year, writing a query letter for literary representation was something I’d avoided.

I have, however, been sitting on a finished manuscript for almost two years. As a hybrid author, I’ve been published by a traditional small press, and have indie-pubbed my own work. The one goal that has escaped me is to find a home with a Big Five publisher. Most of us dream of that, right?

At the end of 2021, I decided to try. The first step—almost as hard—means finding an agent. We all know this is a lengthy process, almost assuredly layered with plenty of rejection. I’ve read horror stories from NYT bestselling authors…

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3 Things That Make a Great 1st Line

A Writer's Path

The title of this sounds pretty lofty, doesn’t it? For those of you who don’t have a finished manuscript, though, this might not be so useful. Write your novel, edit it, then see if you can cut the first chapter. Don’t count the writing as a waste, YOU needed to know what was going on so you could write the rest of the book. Then, it’s time to tweak that 1st line.

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Publishing Scammers are Everywhere: How to Stay Safe – by Anne R. Allen…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Publishing Scammers get more brazen all the time, and there seem to be more of them every day. Sometimes I wonder if all those people who have mysteriously quit their jobs aren’t now working as con artists and phone scammers.

Just recently, the respected site Wattpad ran a contest that involved a blatant rights grab that gave them rights to any submission in perpetuity. That’s right. Not only do you have to pay to enter, but your entry now belongs to them, and they can publish it without giving you credit. Forever.

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware was on her toes and called them on it.

When even legit companies are scamming writers, what can a new writer do?

Continue reading HERE

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Story Empire

Hi SEers! Denise here to talk about writing a book blurb. I’m in the final stages of editing my current book, and my thoughts are turning to create the dreaded blurb. It can almost be harder to write than the book.

Instead of writing my blurb, I wondered where the term originated. Here’s what I found: “The wordblurbwas coined in 1907 by American humoristGelett Burgess(1866–1951).[2]His short 1906 bookAre You a Bromide?was presented in a limited edition to an annual trade association dinner.”— Wikipedia

With that out of the way, I refreshed my skills by researching what makes a good blurb.


I stay between 100 and 200 words. I’ve seen plenty of shorter and longer ones. Shorter blurbs might not pull the reader in, while longer ones might give too much information.


When approaching writing a blurb, I do it from…

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How to Write Point of View, Part 10, Choosing Tense and POV

Story Empire

Pictures of single eyes scattered atop one another and ringed by purple, red, or yellow eye shadow. From Pixabay.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Hi SErs! It’s a day of Harmony here at Story Empire 🙂 Today, I’d like to talk about how to write Point of View (POV), and how to choose your story’s tense for best effect.

The writer has a few options when it comes to choosing tense (which is your verb tense), and some of those meld better than others with certain POV lenses. As with POV, the tense you choose will make all the difference to the look and feel of your story.

What are your Tense and POV Choices?

The writer can choose between past, present, and future tenses. Each of these can be paired with 1st person/2nd person/and 3rd person close/distant POVs.

Commonly, 1st person POV works best with present tense.

3rd person tends to lend itself best to past tense but will also work with present tense.

The least used…

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Three Grammar Rules We Know but Don’t Know We Know #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

In English, as in other languages, certain rules of speech are learned so early on in life that they are instinctual. No matter the level of our education or the dialect we speak, we use these rules and don’t know we are doing so.

to err is human to edit divineToday I am revisiting three wonderful quotes on these rules from linguist Steven Pinkereditor Stan Carey, and Tim Dowling, a journalist for The Guardian.

The Jolly Green Giant rule:

The rule is that multiple adjectives are always ranked accordingly: opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose. Unlike many laws of grammar or syntax, this one is virtually inviolable, even in informal speech. You simply can’t say My Greek Fat Big Wedding, or leather walking brown boots. And yet until last week, I had no idea such a rule existed. Tim Dowling, for The Guardian, Sept 13, 2016. [1]

My editor…

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How to Improve Your Writing Skills – by Melissa Donovan…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

on Writing Forward:

When we talk about writing skills, we usually think of the basics: the ability to write sentences and paragraphs correctly with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. But a lot more than that goes into writing well.

Ambitious writers strive to consistently produce better writing. We study the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and we work at expanding our vocabularies. We memorize literary devices and storytelling techniques. We develop a distinct voice.

There’s a lot to learn, but over time, we learn to write prose and verse that captivates readers.

From learning how to comprehensively use tools, like writing software, to mastering concepts that are specific to form and genre, a professional writer needs to build skills that go far beyond the basics.

Continue reading HERE

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