18 November 2018, Writing – part x596, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Examples of a Reasoned Worldview
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I’ll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. More information can be found atwww.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels–I think you’ll really enjoy them.
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 withhttp://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:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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
I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential titleBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30thnovel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working titleDetective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
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.
For novel 30: 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.
For novel 31: TBD
Here is the scene development outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
Today: Suspension of disbelief is the characteristic of writing that pulls the reader into the world of the novel in such a way that the reader would rather face the world of the novel rather than the real world—at least while reading. If this occurs while not reading, it is potentially a mental problem. To achieve the suspension of disbelief your writing has to meet some basic criteria and contain some strong inspiration. If you want to call the inspiration creativity, that works too. Here is a list of the basic criteria to hope to achieve some degree of suspension of disbelief.
- Reasonably written in standard English
- No glaring logical fallacies
- Reasoned worldview
- Creative and interesting topic
- A Plot
Worldview is the most important feature of any fantasy, science fiction, or magical realism novel. In fact, I could argue that worldview is the most important feature of every novel.
Novels that attempt to show the world of the time are a reflected worldview. Novels that attempt to show the ideas of the time are a reproduced worldview. Novels that build their own worldview are a created worldview.
How do we ensure the worldview doesn’t cast the reader out of the suspension of disbelief? The problem becomes when the writer does not properly reflect or reproduce the worldview.
A created worldview is simply a reflected or reproduced worldview that is then extrapolated or interpolated to build a new and unique worldview. You see it in science fiction and fantasy all the time.
The feel of the world or universe the author creates should seem real and inviting. At least, I like real and inviting. I think unreal would immediately knock the reader out of a suspension of disbelief. Inviting is different. A horror novel will definitely not feel inviting. I’ve read numerous science fiction novels that I would not call inviting. Instead of inviting, let’s call the second major feature of a good worldview, familiar. A worldview doesn’t need to be inviting, but it should be familiar. I don’t mean familiar in the sense that the reader feels they have been there—I mean familiar in that there is some connection from the reader into the worldview.
Here’s an example. Jack Vance is one of the most amazing authors in creating worldviews. Of note, his description of the settings and the world he designs almost always have a note of familiarity. In The Green Pearl, I remember one of Jack Vance’s settings for a fairy grove. His description began with the mundane and the familiar—the scents, warmth, and sights of a summer meadow, and then he brought in the fantastical. The familiar drug the reader into the scene while the fantastical turned it into a world wholly unlike anything we know. The feel of the place was mystical to begin with, but the continuing descriptions turned it into a new world of fantastic proportions.
Science fiction (and horror) are the same. The familiar draws in the reader. The familiar produces the feel that the writer then exploits by turning it into an unexpected or at least different environment entirely. I mentioned horror above because the true power of horror isn’t making a reader feel uncomfortable from the beginning—the true power of horror is taking the familiar and mundane and turning that into the grotesque and fearful.
In the familiar, the expectation is what we already know. In a science fiction worldview, the expectation is likewise what we know, and then the author twists that to produce the world. An example is a spaceport. We know what an airport is like. A spaceport is like an airport, but with space vehicles and space vehicle operations. The author starts with an airport and turns it into a spaceport. The familiar turns into the less than familiar.
The author should be able to pull this off well as long as he or she doesn’t, without adequate explanation, provide a reason for the non-familiar. As long as the worldview feels real, the reader will accept it and not be thrown out of the suspension of disbelief.
If I describe a fountain flowing backwards, with no explanation, the reader might reject my entire worldview as silly—bang, the end of suspension of disbelief. On the other hand, if I state that the esoterics of the current Neu Terran art subscribed to the principle of reversal, and that modern technology allowed them to produce a stasis field where water could flow from an open pool in a stream backwards to a small pipe. I might be able to get away with it. This idea is kind of silly and pulled together, but I think you get the idea. This is especially useful if I want to introduce a bit of technology as a creative element to be used in future ideas or resolutions in the novel.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic