31 March 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 270, more Culture Style Development, How to Develop Storyline
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read mor 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 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape–a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
This theme statement lends itself well to each part of the development of a novel. Note, there is a setting, an initial scene, protagonist, protagonist’s helper, antagonist, and the climax is obvious. Let’s talk about each.
On the colony world of the novel, working title, Escape, there are numerous continents and at least one large island. The large island is a fascist nation that is based in pure extrapolated communism. This nation is called Freedom. Freedom has three groups of people on it: the Party Members, the citizens, and the armed citizens.
Culture is a description and a revelation. I’ve written before that a novel is all about the revelation of the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper. I have not explained that a novel can be and should be about the revelation of a culture. This is the kind of novel I write and all my novels are about the revelation of culture(s).
This new novel, Escape, is an obvious example. The culture is a fabrication. It is based in past human cultures, but it is an extrapolation. I can’t just describe the culture at the beginning of the novel–I mean, I guess I could, but that would be tedious, technical, and boring. I’ve written before that exploration and revelation novels are powerful means to entertain–a novel with a unique culture that must be revealed has immediate entertainment value.
The author shouldn’t tell (describe) anything that isn’t immediately visible–the author should show everything about the culture as the protagonist and/or protagonist’s helper experience and live in the culture. Escape is an especially good example because the reader can live the culture of Freedom through the protagonist and explore it’s uniqueness through the eyes of the protagonist’s helper, who is just experiencing the culture. These are the seeds of entertainment in the revelation of the culture.