10 December 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 888, Novel Development, Information not Relevant to the Climax
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
I just started writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Trainee. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is something like this: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, the dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si. Essie is my 26th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja.
I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.
- Scene input (easy)
- Scene output (a little harder)
- Scene setting (basic stuff)
- Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
- Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
- Release (climax of creative elements)
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
These are the steps I use to write a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
Here is my list of ways an author might add extraneous writing to a novel. Let’s look at the second.
- Material not relevant to the climax or plot.
- Characters or character arcs not relevant to the climax or plot.
- Side stories.
- Information not relevant to the climax, setting, or plot.
- Excessive storylines.
- Lack of a sufficient telic flaw.
- Incorrect protagonist.
Most of the time, I get irritated at writers because they don’t include enough in the setting. Plainly, you can include too much description and especially description not related to the climax or plot—what about other information that isn’t necessarily part of the setting or description?
At the risk of repetition, an author can always erroneously include information that is not relevant to the climax, setting, or plot. Information in the setting that isn’t relevant is relatively easy to find and exclude. On the other hand, other information may not be. I already covered extraneous characters, so the question is what is other information that isn’t relevant? These are very difficult parts to tease from the plot.
If you can view your writing in terms of scenes—identify the scenes that are action based and those that are conversation based. The immediate question to ask in this context is does the action and/or the conversation directly or indirectly support the climax (the telic flaw). I’ll go for indirect as long as you understand what exactly is indirect. For example, in our overused detective mystery example, if the conversation or the action provides a clue to the mystery and the resolution of the climax, the information isn’t extraneous. Usually, the indicator of the relevancy of action or conversation is the presence of the protagonist. In this case, you have an immediate indicator of relevance—if the protagonist (detective, in this case) is present, the action and/or conversation is likely relevant. On the other hand, even with the protagonist present, a discussion of the protagonist’s love for her mother may or may not be relevant.
I think you get the picture. Again, is the protagonist present? Does the action or conversation support the telic flaw or the climax? A good author evaluates every part of the novel for this this kind of relevance of information.
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