Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x56, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Backstory

27 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x56, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Backstory

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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.

For novel 28: 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 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices..

Backstory – Current discussion.

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Secrets

Backstory: Here is one definition of backstory– Story that precedes events in the story being told—past events or background that add meaning to current circumstances. This is a terrible definition, but we’ll go with it for now.

Here is the importance of backstory—there always is backstory. You can’t have any novel or fiction story without backstory. Every character has a backstory. Every event and every action has a backstory. Every place has a backstory. The question is what backstory should the author present, and how? If we note, correctly, that every fiction novel is the revelation of the protagonist, we realize the backstory to present. The question then is how much and how? We know immediately that almost every piece of backstory related to the protagonist is acceptable backstory for the novel. The how much question is still in play. This then turns to the plot. The revelation of the protagonist is the measure, the plot is the limit. In other words, you don’t need any more revelation of the protagonist than required by the plot. Anything more is too much and anything less prevents the plot form unfolding as it should.

The answer to how much is easy (relatively) and limited by the protagonist and the plot. The answer of how is really the concept of the plot device. We will see how different plot devices allow the author to convey backstory. For now, let’s assume we use standard narrative and conversation. I’m not a fan of the omniscient voice in any mode. Let’s leave the backstory to conversation from the lips of the protagonist or others for now. Then what are the creative elements? Here’s the problem with backstory. The creative elements are those encapsulated in the backstory itself. This plot device doesn’t help us much in determining creative elements, but rather provides a setting for the creative elements. I conclude that backstory is not a plot device of much consequence—it just is a basis and a basic quality of any novel. The use of backstory is another matter. The question then is the expression of the backstory when and where.

We know there is backstory in every character. The backstory must relate to the protagonist or it is meaningless in the novel. The expression of the backstory comes from the plot in reference to the protagonist. In other words, to have a purpose in the novel, the only reason for the backstory should be to advance the plot. If it doesn’t advance the plot, don’t reveal it.

Here is the use of a creative element in regard to a backstory. The protagonist needs to be able to pick a lock to proceed the plot. The backstory is that the protagonist learned to pick locks because her sisters constantly locked her up. To use this backstory, provide a situation where the protagonist must use lock picking to escape from a sisterly trap. With thanks to Alan Bradley from the first Flavia de Luca novel. The creative elements here are: sisters, lock picking, and trap. You might add more if you wish. The presentation of the backstory in this case is made in the first person—the novels are written in the first person. There you have it, a great example and use of backstory in the resolution of a plot advancement. By the way, the author doesn’t use the lock picking skill as a climax plot advancing device, but lock picking is used to advance the plot none-the-less.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x55, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices

26 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x55, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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.

For novel 28: 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 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave the list and well go through the elements.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Secrets

I want to look at secrets in regard to plot devices and creative elements. I added it to the list of plot devices. I think secrets are an overarching idea in plot devices. Many of the plot devices relate directly back to secrets. For example, backstory, red herring, unreliable narrator, and there are others. A secret is a plot device and a secret is a creative element. The more powerful the secret, the more powerful the creative element or the plot device. For example, a typical movie, TV show, or spy novel secret is the amorphous, but very concrete—secret bomb, secret missile, new laser, new radar, etc. These are concrete because they can be carried on a chip, a memory stick, a computer, or in paper. They are amorphous because the writer doesn’t have to describe them any more than a secret this or that. No one really looks or sees the secret, it’s just a plot device, a creative element that happens to convey s nation’s secret thing.

There is another type of secret altogether. This is the type of secret I like best. It is the secret about a person’s existence or past. A secret that can ruin or harm. A secret that if revealed will harm at least one life and perhaps many others. These kinds of secrets are not amorphous at all. They are absolutely concrete. They are real and powerful. They can be looked at and immediately reveal themselves when they are exposed.

The novel I’m writing at the moment, School has such a secret. Sorcha has been illicitly attending Wycombe Abbey school. She is a juvenile criminal who escaped from prison. She lives in the old WWII bunker on the school grounds. She is the discarded child of an Unseelie fae and a human. She uses fae glamour to hide and attend classes. She is hungry, friendless, and devoted to learning. Then dreadful Deirdre discovers Sorcha’s secret. There was originally one who knew the secret—Sorcha. One other discovers the secret and in that process so do the readers—Deirdre. As long as no one else discovers the secret, Sorcha is safe.

This is what is beautiful about secrets as plot devices and creative elements. They are powerful when not exposed, and they are like an explosion when they are exposed. Although I haven’t made Sorcha’s secret the telic flaw of the novel, its exposure is an important part of the rising action in the novel. It drives much more in the novel, and proceeds the plot in a powerful way. Secrets are perhaps the best and most powerful plot devices and creative elements.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x54, Creative Elements in Scenes, Expected and the Unexpected

25 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x54, Creative Elements in Scenes, Expected and the Unexpected

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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.

For novel 28: 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 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

Let’s delve deeper into the expected and the unexpected in plots and themes, and then tie that to the creative elements. Back to the beginning. The protagonist must have a telic flaw. This telic flaw is the basis for the novel and the climax. The protagonist must overcome the telic flaw (comedy) or be overcome by the telic flaw (tragedy). You can see a novel is about the revelation of the protagonist—the telic flaw is just part of that revelation. You can also see the reader expects the protagonist to do something about the telic flaw. The expectation of most novels is that the protagonist will overcome their telic flaw. In the ancient world where tragedy abounded, this wasn’t assured. In the modern world where comedy (classical comedy) is almost always the resolution of art (literature), the reader has given up on the idea that the protagonist might not succeed. Our world and literature is all about the protagonist overcoming their telic flaw. Because of this literature has become more and more complex. This is a good thing.

Let’s put this into an example. The easiest is a detective mystery. The protagonist is the detective. The detective’s telic flaw is the mystery—let’s say a murder. This is called an external telic flaw. It is a problem external to the detective. An internal telic flaw is a physical, emotional, or mental issue the protagonist must resolve in the climax of the novel. I like to have both an internal and an external telic flaw in my protagonist, but we’ll keep to this simplified example—the murder mystery. In this case, the detective must resolve the murder mystery to the expectation of the readers. Notice, I didn’t write to the expectation of the police, detective, citizens, criminals, victims or anyone else in the novel. The writer writes for the readers not the art or any other concept. Novels are about entertainment.

Since the author is writing to the expectations of the readers, the readers expect the protagonist (detective in this case) to solve the crime. The expected climax is that the protagonist discovers the how what, who, when, and where of the murderer, catches the murderer, and resolves all the issues related to the crime (in one way or another). This is the expected climax. This should be obvious to the author and to the readers. However, with the expectation of a comedy, this isn’t enough.

This is where the plot and the theme come in as major directors of the novel. Although the resolution and climax are obvious and expected, the author must write the novel such that they appear both unexpected and not obvious. This is where we write about plot devices and plot developments. I should give you a list:

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

I should add to this list secrets. Each of these plot devices revolve around creative element(s). The purpose of the plot devices are to lead to the resolution of the telic flaw in such a way that the telic flaw resolution is unexpected. This should be clear to the writer. I could solve the mystery in the first scene (a short story). The detective protagonist happens upon the murder scene, determines how it was done, finds the murderer, captures the murderer, and puts the murderer in prison. Bingo, bango, bongo, that’s the beginning and end. The reader knows that all these steps and events will happen. They must happen to the expectation of the reader or they are not entertaining. They must happen in such a way that the reader is not expecting the expected resolution of the novel. And, in the end, the perfect climax is one that is presented as impossible, but the author writes to make possible—the absolutely unexpected and impossible expectation. Most of my novels are written this way.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x53, Creative Elements in Scenes, The Expected Plot and the Unexpected

24 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x53, Creative Elements in Scenes, The Expected Plot and the Unexpected

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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.

For novel 28: 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 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

Readers have very specific expectations for a plot and a novel. These expectations are related to the characters and especially the protagonist. A wise author plays with the expectations to provide the unexpected expected. I’m reading a pretty good young adult novel at the moment that was recommended by my daughters. It’s the Sabriel novels by Garth Nix. The author writes in a very typical young adult style, but he is very skilled at it. I’d say much better than many writers of the same genre or literature. His style is to provide extreme peril that is focused against the main characters—a peril so great there doesn’t seem to be any hope for success or life. He then extricates the characters with a predeveloped plot device. The expectation of the novel is the major characters will survive and even prosper, the unexpected is that they will survive. The model is made even more successful and beautiful from a writer’s standpoint because the means of survival and action are also reasonably well developed in the novel. I think this is a wonderful style for a young adult novel. What I don’t like is where the author leads this style and ultimately what it does to the characters.

The style leads to an end of world or at least an end of the kingdom and the dead take over the world theme. If you read here often, you know I’m not an advocate of any “end of the world” themes. It fits properly in these novels so I can’t complain too much about them, but when the theme is the end of the world, the characters involved need to be gods or superheroes to succeed—they are. One is a god of the dead—a properly humanized god of the dead and the others are amazing magicians. The use of magic and death magic are pretty tricky means to progress a novel of this type—I like it very much, but I don’t like what it does to the characters. These are highly romantic characters whose humanizing pathos is their lack of determination and/or self-esteem. This is typical in many modern young adult novels and comes directly out of our coddling culture, but I think you can see what the problem is with this model. The major characters are trying to find themselves. They have all the skills and abilities necessary to progress the plot and save the world, but they have to find themselves first. Kool poop for the young adults, but this isn’t adult fair and it isn’t a classical theme.

I like to use a more classical theme model for my writing and characters. It isn’t the end of the world. The peril may be great but it is real peril. The world is not about to end—did I write that already. The characters are romantic and skilled, but they are normal people who are growing and succeeding because of their own work and actions. The unexpected in my novels comes from the nature of the setting and the world not the expectation of survival. Let me put it a different way. I want you to expect my characters to live and enjoy some measure of success. The expectation is that they will survive, the unexpected is their success. Argh this is difficult to explain. For example, Oliver Twist, we expect that Oliver will be living still at the end of the novel. There is some degree of peril and some threats to life and limb, but the plot of the novel isn’t about peril or the end of the world. The ultimate question is just who is Oliver and what will ultimately be his end—in a positive manner.

Likewise, in School, the novel I’m currently writing. The characters are romantic. They are given assignments to complete, odd assignments like learn to fence, learn to shoot, make friends, meet boys, find out about other people, meet faeries, meet a goddess, learn about magic, and etc. There may be some peril, but the biggest problem for the characters is figuring out how to complete the assignments on time and properly. The expectation is that they will survive. The question is how they will complete their assignments. The fun part is how they do it and their success at it. At the same time, the theme and plot of the novel is about a girl who is surreptitiously attending a boarding school. The undergirding idea is this little issue and that issue plays decisively into every aspect of the novel. It isn’t the end of the world, but it could be the end of the world for one young woman. This is my idea of the unexpected in the expected plot.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x52, Creative Elements in Scenes, Enjoying the Rising Action

23 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x52, Creative Elements in Scenes, Enjoying the Rising Action

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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.

For novel 28: 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 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

Although the initial scene builds, focuses, and sells your novel, the rising action is the novel. I really enjoy writing, editing, and reading the rising action. You should too. That is, you should enjoy writing the rising action of your novel. This is the place most of the real action happens and the revelation of the protagonist is accomplished. If you aren’t enjoying the rising action, you either don’t have an idea worth writing about or your characters aren’t worth writing about. I generally like to write scene to scene with no breaks—scene output to scene input. You can have time or position breaks when you write this way, but the breaks will appear seamless to you and your readers. I like to write this way, but I don’t always write this way. Sometimes I will throw in a scene not directly based on the output or input. I usually only do this to change the Point of View (POV) of the novel to give the antagonist or other character’s viewpoint. In general, a break from output and input scene development is only necessary or worthwhile to bring the antagonist’s view into the novel. Pretty heady stuff for a quick paragraph. This is likely worthy of more discussion, but what I really wanted to write about is how to produce ideas for the scenes in the rising action. It is one thing to write about output and input of a scene, but quite another to actually put it into practice.

I’ll use School as an example, of course. The initial scene of School introduces Deirdre and Sorcha. The output of the scene is their fight. Sorcha starts it and Deirdre overwhelms her and wins. The output is Deirdre is restrained and punished while Sorcha runs away. Since Sorcha is an unofficial student anyway, there is no way to trace or find her. The output of the initial scene is Deirdre is punished. The input of the next scene is Deirdre is punished. This is interesting and fun on its own. The nugget is not that Deirdre is punished but rather what Sorcha does. Sorcha has been discovered. She can continue in her life, but that is now tenuous. She was beaten by Deirdre, but not punished by Deirdre. Sorcha has a few choices, but most are bad. The least bad for her is to confront Deirdre and either convince or force her to not let out Sorcha’s secret. Her secret is, of course, that she is attending Wycombe Abbey unofficially. This is also something the reader wants to know about as well. The reader wants to know the secret(s). Why is Sorcha at Wycombe Abbey? How does she do it? What is her power(s)? They also want to know about Deirdre. How to get all of this? A confrontation of the characters. Since Deirdre is under a lockdown as her punishment and she doesn’t know where to find Sorcha, Sorcha should make the first move. Sorcha knows that Deirdre is in Pitt. She has a yellow tie. Sorcha may have access to other information we don’t know about. She actually she does based on her interaction with the teachers.

This is a break from the input output method. It is a necessary interjection into the third scene and forms the third scene—Sorcha confronts Deirdre and asks for a truce. She really has no other options. She wasn’t discovered in the school for years and now one person has found her out. Her only option is to make some kind of agreement, or get rid of Deirdre. The best means to get rid of someone is to get to know them. Sorcha can’t imagine what Deirdre’s response will be. The reader might guess it. Deirdre is a person who desperately needs a friend. She hasn’t had many if any friends. She is very independent, but she wants a friend. What better friend for her than someone she has complete or near complete control over. This isn’t the kind of friendship we imagine, but this drives Deirdre. This also propels the novel. The interaction of Deirdre and Sorcha on this level is exactly what I was trying to capture in the novel. The interjection into the third scene propels this new relationship. You might be able to see the logic and my thinking in this. Here is an outline: Deirdre and Sorcha meet. Deirdre notes Sorcha’s differences. Sorcha attacks to scare and bully Deirdre. Deirdre wins. Deirdre is punished. Sorcha’s first attempt didn’t work (fighting and intimidation). Sorcha needs to negotiate or at least learn more about her enemy. Sorcha seeks negotiation but finds Deirdre wants to make friends. Sorcha isn’t so keen but goes along. And so on. There are obviously other ways another author might have chosen to write this novel—or not. I saw and see only one direction. I like to think my readers can only see one direction—this is the expectation of the plot mixed with the unexpected in the plot. This is very similar to what I write about in the unexpected climax within the expected climax.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x51, Creative Elements in Scenes, another Example, Tension

22 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x51, Creative Elements in Scenes, another Example, Tension

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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.

For novel 28: 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 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

I’ll toss this scene at you. It hasn’t been completely edited, but I’m certain it will stand with perhaps a few changes. My point is to introduce you to setting elements, see how they turn into creative elements, and then how those creative elements flow through the novel in the plot and the theme. This scene is a perfect example of all of that and especially the latter—creative elements moving through the entire plot and theme of the novel.

As I’ve written, School is a fanciful novel that begins with a girl, Sorcha, who is illicitly attending a famous British girl’s school. She reluctantly takes on a friend who has caught her out, Deirdre. Deirdre has been sent to Wycombe Abbey for finishing, actually beginning and finishing—she has problems with fighting and acting out. At Wycombe Abbey is a teacher who is also a somewhat relative to Deirdre, Luna Bolang. Apparently, Luna Bolang’s job is to finish Deirdre, among other things. The girls also learn that Luna is the Steward of the Abbey, whatever that means. She also looks after other students with issues; Elina Stuart is one of those. Luna instructs through what she calls electives. Sorcha and Deirdre are required to attend and achieve during these electives. They range from shooting and fencing to making friends and tea parties. In the partial scene below we see a transition from a fencing competition scene to a pizza party scene. The fencing competition was at Eton college and included not mixed fencing, but mixed schools for the convenience of the judges and officials. Deirdre and Sorcha have already met Chris and Tim. Chris has shown interest in Deirdre before. Thus the transition and part of the scene. Take note of the setting elements and the creative elements.

Sorcha took a place in foil and Deirdre a place in sabre. They weren’t high in the standings. Mr. Fletcher and Mr. MacLeod both finished with a first and second in sabre and foil. The girls and the boys found themselves at Domino’s Pizza again, and Deirdre ended up next to Mr. MacLeod while Sorcha sat next to Mr. Fletcher. The other girls and boys didn’t mix much.

Deirdre tried to listen in on Sorcha’s conversation with Mr. Fletcher. She couldn’t—she was too busy speaking with Mr. MacLeod. The first thing he said was, “Ms. Calloway, you were smashing with the saber. I couldn’t take my eyes off you.”

Deirdre blushed. She was used to speaking with her brothers, and they were mostly noncomplementary, “Perhaps you should have kept a better watch on your opponent.”

It was Mr. MacLeod’s turn to blush. He didn’t skip a beat however, “I’d like it if you would call me Chris. May I call you by your first name?”

Deirdre examined him coolly, “I think that would be all right. I’m Deirdre.”

Chris stuck out his hand, “That’s a beautiful name. Nice to meet you Deirdre.”

Deirdre shook his hand.

Chris grinned, “I think we will seeing a lot of each other. You know the mixer will be in a couple of weeks or so. You’ll be there, right?”

“I think I told you before, I shall.”

“Wonderful. I’ve never met a girl who fenced and shot before. What else do you like to do?”

Deirdre almost told him she liked to fight and cause problems, but she didn’t. She announced, “I’m a bit rough…for a girl.”

Chris smiled more broadly, “That’s just it. You seem to be a very exciting person. I’d like to get to know you better.”

Deirdre wasn’t certain how to respond to that.

He continued, “What are your plans after school?”

“I…I don’t know.”

“I’m for Sandhurst or Cranwell.”

“You want to be a military officer?”

“That’s my goal.”

“I’m not sure what I want to do.”

“Someone with your skills would be wonderful at either academy.”

“You think? Do you want to fly?”

He smiled. His face took on a pensive look, “I would like to be a pilot more than anything, but the competition is tough.”

I’ll list the setting elements for you. We have fencing, saber, foil, shooting, pizza, competition, the mixer, future plans, Sandhurst, Cranwell, military, flying, and first names. I can see already where I need a few edits, still the major points come out. The fencing competition where the girls and the boys fenced completed and they went to pizza together. Luna is training Sorcha and Deirdre in fencing and shooting. The boys Chris and Tim happen to both be on the fencing and the shooting teams. If you know anything about my other books, unfortunately unpublished, but I’ve yacked about them in this blog before, I like to see those who work in covert intelligence and military business, among other training, be trained in languages, fencing, and shooting. It makes sense that these would be how you train people intellectually (and to communicate), physically (for all striking weapons, endurance, and agility), and for modern weapons skills. The question of what is Luna about should be obvious.

Additionally, fencing and shooting bring the girls into contact with other girls and with boys. I’ll give you a hint that one of Luna’s electives will be for the girls to go to the mixer, the formal, and have boyfriends. The reason for this should be obvious from who Sorcha and Deirdre are. Neither have had many friends. Both are isolated socially and emotionally. Whatever Luna’s ultimate job of finishing is, part of her responsibility is to make Deirdre especially, but Sorcha also into social human beings. This can only happen if they learn to make girlfriends and if they can interact with boys in a normal fashion.

These are all plot elements (new element term). That is these are creative elements that move through multiple scenes and build the plot. They are also theme elements (another new term). The point of the novel theme is that Deirdre is redeemed. This doesn’t mean she has a religious conversion, but rather that her life takes on a new focus and meaning. This is what I mean when I write about a redeemed or redemption theme.

Look at the other plot and theme elements that come directly out of this small scene. Chris brings up military training colleges or academies. He wants to become a British military officer preferably a flying officer. Deirdre hasn’t thought about it. She should have. Her family is embroiled in this type of work and these schools. Her favorite brother-in-law went to Sandhurst. Her father might have gone there too. Many of her family friends went there—they are all in the intelligence business. In any case, the plot and theme element of military training and academies gets brought up here for the first time in the novel. The big deal about this is that the training Luna is providing leads to more than one place, but ultimately to only one place—a military academy. Why else would you train people in fencing, shooting, and social graces unless you expected them to be able to use those skills? This is a spoiler, but important within the structure of the novel. There is much more to this. Could Luna be preparing the girls for an intelligence future? This is exactly how we turn setting elements into creative elements that become plot and theme elements and that run through the entire novel.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x50, Creative Elements in Scenes, Examples, Tension

21 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x50, Creative Elements in Scenes, Examples, Tension

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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.

For novel 28: 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 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

These are the steps I use to write a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

What the author does with the creative elements is a function of the plot and theme of the novel. Specifically, all creative elements should be used to build tension in the scene to the release. Here is the example from yesterday again. Take a look at the setting elements, how they turn into creative elements through interaction, then how they create tension.

Luna glanced back at them, “Now, ladies. Do you have your rosaries?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Leave your iron pieces under your blouses, but keep the crucifixes on the outside.”

Sorcha spoke up, “That’s not allowed with the uniform.”

Luna laughed, “It is Sunday, and it is required for what we will do.”

Deidre asked, “What will we do?”

Luna laughed again. She drove back to Wycombe Abbey and went to the left and the east side of the campus, across the lake and just before the Lacrosse Pitch. There, she pulled the automobile to the left side of the road. No one was practicing and no one seemed to be anywhere about. They exited the Triumph, and Luna headed into the trees near the road. This was a rather deep wood with tall trees and deep leaf mold. The trees didn’t block out all the sunlight, but when they arrived at an open glade, the sunlight suddenly engulfed them. It ran like thick syrup from the near noon sun and sparkled on the still frozen dew that was just clearing in the still cold air. Luna stood near the center of the glade. She placed a small ceramic bowl on the ground and filled it with a thick golden liquid. She spoke in Gaelic, “This is mead. Regular honey will work, but this always gets them. The best time for this is really the early morning and just before dusk, but our prey is lazy, and we don’t want to attract anything untoward. Now, I need you to give me a little song, Ms. Calloway.”

Deirdre scratched her leg, “What song?”

“Come, come, Ms. Calloway, the fae song you sang every day of your life in the garden at Rosewood.”

Deirdre blushed.

“Sing it sweet and sing it properly in Gaelic.”

Deirdre took a deep breath and began to sing in Gaelic:

“Little sìthichean le casan beaga bìodach

Cluich ann an gàrradh seo – ach ga fàgail grinn

Little sìthichean le làmhan cho milis

Tha mi a ‘fàgail ìobairt seo – tha thu airson a bhith ag ithe

Little sìthichean, mas e seo a ‘ghàrradh tha grinn

Tha mi a ‘fàgail barrachd ìobairtean aig do chasan beaga bìodach [i].”

Sorcha glanced around.

Luna stood very still. She whispered, “Don’t move too much and don’t look for them. Keep singing, sweet.”

Embarrassed, Deidre kept singing the simple song.

After a few moments something or rather more than one something began to move at the edge of the glade. Sorcha and Deidre turned very slowly toward the sound.

Luna hissed under her breath, “I told you not to look. Just stand still.”

Deidre kept singing. She turned a greater and greater shade of crimson.

Slowly a small woman with white wings and gossamer wrapped around her body flew from the edge of the woods toward the bowl in its center. The woman’s hair was the color of honey, and her face was shining and beautiful. The features were small but well defined. They looked somewhat similar to Sorcha’s but they were more rounded and plump. Her body was also well defined and as she flew toward the bowl, the outline was completely visible through her thin clothing. The fae being came in small fits and starts. It watched the three ladies carefully, but when they didn’t move, she became more and more bold. Finally, she came right up to the bowl and touched the liquid inside. She glanced around to make sure no one of them had moved, then she took a tiny handful of the contents and touched it to her lips. She gave a very broad smile, then glanced back to the woods. In Gaelic she called in a very low but sweet and thick alto that didn’t match her appearance at all, “It is a pleasant offering. Come forth, friend.”

From the beginning of the piece of the scene I gave you, they are traveling in Luna’s Triumph automobile. This is a setting element that is a creative element. It isn’t so obvious in this scene, but the automobile is a means of interacting with the setting. That makes it a creative element in itself. It is also a potential tension developer—not so much here.

The rosaries and the iron pendant are setting elements. They are turned into a creative elements and immediately build tension. Sorcha’s comment about not being allowed with the uniform is an unnecessary statement. It is an immediate tension builder. It is petulant and shows us something about Sorcha’s and Luna’s personalities. It also pushes into the broader question that comes next: what will they do? There is another question based on the rosaries: why do we need them? That isn’t asked, it is an obvious part of the tension development. Indeed, what are they about? Why rosaries, and why a piece of iron? Why shouldn’t Sorcha put the iron next to her skin? That was in an earlier scene.

In response to the question, Luna laughs—this is also tension development. We are building tension to produce an entertaining scene. Each of the creative elements are there to be used for that purpose. The scene itself is a bit complex but ultimately simple—the details and the interaction of the characters, who are creative elements in their own right, and the things in the scene produce this entertainment.

The setting for the event is provided with sufficient detail to tantalize and provide other setting elements. Then Luna asks for a song. This is a setting element that is immediately made into a creative element. Tension is built from the request and the providing. The reader wonders what is going on. The characters seem to know. This is a little secret held for the readers to see.

Notice the use of secrets in the development of the tension. At first only Luna knows what they are about. The creative elements provide clues to the excursion. Rosaries and iron—both protection from fae and evil. The reader should know this, the girls perhaps. Then we have the song with the expectation of something happening. Deirdre knows what the song portends. If you remember, Sorcha also speaks Gaelic—she knows what the song means. At this point only the readers are in the dark. There is still the final question for this scene—will they show? The reader has expectations. The characters have expectations. We suddenly have a response to the song and the preparations—there is a release of the tension and then a rebuilding of the tension.

This is how all scene writing and development works. Look back at the scene development outline and the scene method outline. The output of this scene is to invite the fae to tea (so to speak). The creative elements build tension to this release (resolution). The end is entertaining as is the journey to the end. This is what makes a scene entertaining.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

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