Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing

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How to Write a Red Herring

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers! Sorry about the strange cartoon fish, but it’s the best I could find. Last time, I talked to you about the sidekick. Today we’re talking about red herrings, or the literary misdirect. I admit, all these years of writing them, and I never knew why the plot device was called what it was. So I looked it up.

The journalist William Cobbett is credited with originating theterm“red herring” in an 1807 story. Cobbett criticized the press for prematurely reporting Napoleon’s defeat, and compared that act to using strong-smelling, smokedred herringsto distract dogs from another scent.

When I read that, I was stunned to see it went all the way back to 1807. Then I wondered what it was called before that, because such misdirects were in use before then. In any event, now you know where the term comes from. And…

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Why Writing a book is Like Taking a Road Trip #MondayBlogs

Lucy Mitchell

I’m halfway through writing a book and I can’t help thinking this process feels like a road trip.

Here are the similarities:

Stage 1 – Everything is going to be just fine…

This is the start of the road trip / writing a book. Delusion sets in as you say everything is going to be just fine. You’ve done this journey before. You know the pitfalls, the bumps in the road, the frustration and the emotional highs and lows.

You’ve also spent ages planning this particular journey / novel, which is new for you. Normally you just have a good idea of where you are starting, where you need to get to and a vague idea of stuff in between. A proper plan is bound to make things easier.

You will have a selection of road trip accessories; water bottles, waterproofs and a variety of chewy, filling inducing, sweets. Your…

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The Yarn Fought Back- Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS


“And then I saw it,” said Mickey, his golden eyes wide as saucers and his tail swishing back and forth. “The biggest ball of yarn you’ve ever seen!”

Lily and Pepper leaned forward eagerly, their ears perked. “Wow!” exclaimed Lily. “What did you do, Grampa?”

“I didn’t know what to make of it at first,” Mickey continued. “I’d never seen a ball of yarn that big before. I crept up on it cautiously, not sure what to expect from it. But it just sat there, unmoving, as if tempting me to do attack it.”

Lily and Pepper nodded excitedly. “And then what Grampa?” asked Pepper anxiously.

“I crept closer and closer, inching my way to the ball of yarn, waiting for it to do something, but it didn’t. Finally, I gave into the temptation and pounced on it! We went rolling around the floor as I kicked it and clawed at it, an occasional growl or yowl escaping from my throat. But my enemy wasn’t as weak and cowardly as I’d thought. The ball of yarn fought back! As we battled across the floor, I found myself becoming entangled in its strands. Then, before I knew what had happened, I’d become encased in it, only my head being free!”

Lily and Pepper gasped. “Oh, no!” they cried. “How did you get free?”

Just then the kittens’ mother came into the room and walked up to them. Misty eyed Mickey and sighed. “Telling them one of your old yarns again, Dad?” She shook her head and faced the kittens. “Come along, you two. It’s time for bed.”

“Aww,” they said as they followed their mother out of the room.

(image from Pinterest)

This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “yarn”:

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5 Things Never to Say to a Writer

A Writer's Path

Sometimes, just sometimes, it can be a little frustrating, this whole writing malarkey. And quite frequently, you might find yourself (however unreasonably) not wanting to talk about it. At all. Especially just after the times where you’ve erupted into a ball of angry frustration tears at the latest bout of writer’s block, and swear you’re never going to write another decent sentence in your lifetime.

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Case Study: Army of the Dead

Story Empire

Hi gang. Craig with you today. I needed something to post here, and this came to me after watching a specific movie. You all know how I like to study films, then break them down to see if I can learn something.

This is a new movie on Netflix, it’s called “Army of the Dead.” This is your obligatory spoiler warning. If this film is on your horizon, you might want to stop reading now.

Lisa Burton

I will go on record as not liking this film. There I said it. I checked comments around the Internet and it seems to be split as to how people felt about it. Most of them are either based upon their love or hate for the special effects. Some didn’t like the addition of the helicopter lady whose scenes were all spliced in due to Covid.

I could care less about these issues. I grew…

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Story Empire

Hi SEers! Denise here to talk about all the parts that go into creating a book, thanks to a question I was asked.

I have my six-year-old granddaughter twice a week when she gets out of kindergarten. So, we spend the day doing projects, homework, or finding new ways to look at life. One of those days, we were putting a 100-piece glittery unicorn puzzle together.

My granddaughter asked, “What if 100 people each had a part of this puzzle?”

I replied, “They would all have to work together to get it done like we’re doing.”

My answer satisfied her, but I kept thinking about it. How hard would it be for 100 people to work together to get something done? Would one or two of these people hold back their pieces? Very possible.

The more I thought about it, I realized writing a book was very much like putting…

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Judge – Tuesday Use It In A Sentence #tuesdayuseitinasentence

She took a step back, shocked by what he’d just said. Then a low growl escaped her throat as anger overcome her shock. He dared to judge her, after everything he’s done? “What did you just say?” she replied, her eyes narrowed.

This post is part of the Tuesday Use It In A Sentence prompt, “judge”:

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#Writers – Don’t stress Over Your Writing – The Future You Will Sort it!

Lucy Mitchell

Here’s a secret about writing which I have discovered – some stories you write will not turn out the way you expected them to because they are meant to be improved and perfected by the future you.

The future you will one day turn the story you are struggling with into something better.

The future you will be better equipped to deal with that troublesome character in your romance novel.

The future you will do big things with that draft book you have just shoved into drawer.

Sometimes we just need to get things down on paper, so that in the future we will have something to mould, sculpt and shape.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to make our stories work right now and if they don’t work today, we quickly shelve them.

We forget that in the future we might be better equipped to tackle our novel…

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Hidden Diversity Among Writers

Story Empire

Hi SE friends! Gwen with you today, and we’re going to explore another element of typology as it relates to writing.

You may recall that my prior two posts focused on Extroversion/Introversion and Sensation/Intuition, per the work of Dr. Carl Jung. Today I will continue that journey by focusing on Jung’s two modes of judging – Thinking and Feeling. If you are unsure of your typology, and if you are interested, you can take the short test provided here. There are longer tests available that are more accurate, but this short one offers plenty of insight.

Let’s begin with a story.

Most of my working years were spent on college campuses. My supervisor at the final institution was a geophysicist with two PhDs. Needless to say, he is a strong Thinker type. I’m a strong Feeler type. It took one meeting with him…

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