Writing – part x415, Developing Skills, Characters

21 May 2018, Writing – part x415, Developing Skills, Characters

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.

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 29:  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 30:  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 scene development 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         

Today:  Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.

To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and writing.  Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much.  I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.

Characters are the key to great writing.  Entertainment is the purpose of fiction writing.  The key to entertainment is character revelation.

Novels are always about the plot revelation—this is what I call the first revealed secret in a novel.  Novels are always about the revelation of the “secret” of the plot.  The plot is a secret that is revealed in the novel.

What most writers and few readers recognize is that the plot is always the revelation of the protagonist.  You can think about it this way:  the telic flaw of the novel is the telic flaw of the protagonist.  The novel is resolved by the resolution of the telic flaw.  This automatically should tell you the revelation of the protagonist is the resolution of the novel.

To make this simpler, if you imagine what makes a novel interesting and worth reading—it is always (hopefully) the revelation of the protagonist.  People rarely say, I loved the plot or the climax of the novel was wonderful.  If they like a novel they usually say, I loved the characters or I loved the main character or if they are literary, I loved the protagonist.  When people describe their favorite novels, they usually talk about the characters or the protagonist.

Here is a contemporary example: Flavia de Luca.  There are two redeeming characteristics of the Flavia de Luca novels, the protagonist and the use of language by the author.  Flavia de Luca is an unexpected protagonist for an adult novel.  She is a ten year old child who has obvious psychological issues mixed with a super genius knowledge of chemistry.  The plots of the novels are weak and unexciting as well as unremarkable, but the character of the protagonist and the characters surrounding her are interesting and exciting.  The reader wants to know more and more about them—the revelation of them.  As I noted, the most notable characteristic of the novels is the protagonist.  The readers really don’t give a wit for the plot, although each new plot is a feature of the revelation of the protagonist and her world.

This example should convey the point directly to you, but I can give you more.  Look at Harry Potty.  The novel plots are somewhat interesting, but what drives them are the characters and the revelation of their lives and secrets.  The characters are compelling while the plots are pretty stale.  I’m sure you can think of examples as well.  In general, you will discover great novels always have great protagonists and usually great supporting characters.  The plot, although a key part of the novel, pales in comparison to the characters that enact it.  In really great novels, the protagonist and the plot come together in a focused perfection that drives each.  I give you for example, Dragonsong and Dragonsinger as examples of very well constructed plots and protagonist.  The plots are memorable because of the protagonist and the protagonist is memorable because of the plot.

If we want to be a successful writer, we must aim for great protagonists, and I would add, great protagonist’s helpers.

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 – part x414, Developing Skills, Approaching Writing

20 May 2018, Writing – part x414, Developing Skills, Approaching Writing

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.

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 29:  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 30:  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 scene development 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         

Today:  Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.

To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and writing.  Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much.  I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.

If you are a strong reader and your writing skills are sufficient, we can begin to speak about writing fiction.  Just having strong writing skills does not mean you can write great fiction.  It should not be much of a surprise, however, that journalists, technical writers, and scientists write many of the most popular books and novels.  It also should not surprise us that the same people write some of the most forgotten novels the world has seen.  The difference isn’t necessarily writing skills—they are all (or should be) good writers—the difference is entertainment.

Even relatively poor writers (or bad scientists) who can entertain can produce a well received novel.  A little further along that path, we all know that terribly written novels with enough marketing power and some redeeming characteristic can become bestsellers.  Enough of that.

The key to great writing is entertainment.  You do need to give the reader what they want.  I’ll write it once, but I think entertainment is the best description.  If you intend to write novels to change the world, deliver a philosophy, preach a sermon, educate people, improve people or their lives, or for any other reason than entertainment, give it up now.  I am not interested in your novel(s).  Readers want to be entertained first.  They seek books that appear interesting and exciting.  They will tell you, they selected a novel because it looked interesting.  They will tell you, they liked a novel because of the characters.  In general, the characters are what sells a novel, writes a novel, and entertains in a novel—the creation, sales, and future sales of the novel.  The characters are the key.

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 – part x413, Developing Skills, Style Guides

19 May 2018, Writing – part x413, Developing Skills, Style Guides

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.

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 29:  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 30:  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 scene development 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         

Today:  Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.

To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets reading and writing.  Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much.  I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.

If you possess good or at least reasonable writing skills, how should you design your writing?  Style guides are the means to standardize writing.  These are primarily journalistic devices, but every author needs to be familiar with the concept and content of style guides.

In the USA, the two major style guides are the Chicago and the New York Times.  These define how the journalists are to format their writing.  Strunk’s Elements of Style is a typical simplistic style guide offered to students.  It has worth as a learning tool and a beginning point.  Its overall worth is not necessarily that great.  For example, Strunk will show you how to make basic formatting for technical papers, but not necessarily the accepted ways for advanced punctuation or some other types of formatting.  No matter what you do, the author is many times on their own for advanced or complicated questions for capitalization, numerical formatting, and punctuation.

If the guide doesn’t address it, what do you do?  Writing is an art as much of a skill.  Usually, your publisher’s editor will direct the formatting or some things, however, if you don’t have a publisher or an editor, you are largely on your own.

My point is this.  Style guides are a critical tool for writing, but they don’t cover everything.  The author needs to use common conventions (style guides) and apply necessary formatting when the conventions don’t properly and sufficiently provide guidance.

Now, I will pass two important points that you won’t usually get anywhere else.  The first is that in modern fiction, the semicolon is almost never used.  It is replaced with the double hyphen “–“ sometimes called the en-hyphen.  The double hyphen is used in place of the semicolon and is also used in dialog to reflect a space longer than a comma, but less than an ellipsis.

The second point is the use of punctuation in dialog.  The point of punctuation in dialog is to convey the sound and feel of the speech and conversation.  The ultimate point of punctuation is provide understanding to the reader.  The author must properly use punctuation and at the same time convey the proper feel and understanding in the dialog.  I have covered some of this in these pages.  Perhaps more in the future.  The next idea to look at is approaching writing.

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 – part x412, Developing Skills, Writing

18 May 2018, Writing – part x412, Developing Skills, Writing

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.

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 29:  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 30:  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 scene development 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

         

Today:  Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.

To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first.  Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much.  I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.

The second skill set you need is writing.  It would be simple to write that you need a basic writing skill set and then we can move on.  There was a time when I could write, you need a high school or a collegiate level writing skill set—not any more.  Many if not most of the people graduating from high school in the USA can’t read or write.  A pretty large contingent graduating from college or university can’t write.  And even if you can write, the skill of writing requires more than just a basic writing skill set.  I am of the opinion that you can teach these skills to anyone, but the question is one of time and experience.

If you don’t already have a desire to write and some degree of the proper skill set, you likely won’t succeed.  On the other hand, if you are reading this blog, there is a very high probability that you already possess the basic skills and you have the desire to move on to advanced writing skills and techniques.

I’d like you to have a strong knowledge of sentence structure and grammar.  As long as you can use it, however, you are basically set.  You definitely need to know how to compose a strong paragraph.  If you know how to write a basic paragraph and can identify generally where to break paragraphs–that will do.

Let’s write about paragraphs a little.  Paragraphs are composed. They have a subject statement, the first sentence, a body concerning the subject, a conclusion, and a connection to the next paragraph.  In actuality in writing, things are not so cut and dried.  Paragraphs are composed, but paragraphs in fiction writing have a purpose beyond that of basic paragraph composition.  Sentences likewise.  Paragraphs are used to demarcate speakers in dialog, and when writing dialog, paragraphs and sentences can get complex treatment sometimes at odds with “basic” rules and knowledge.  That’s okay, that’s part of the advanced skills set I’m writing about.  The basic skill set is necessary—the advanced skill set is what we learn to make us strong fiction writers.

Let’s put it this way, when you are writing fiction, especially dialog in fiction, the basic rules and concepts can get muddled—the rule then becomes rule 1 above: don’t confuse your readers.  Basic grammar including capitalization and punctuation are used to prevent confusion.  In dialog, the author must use all basic grammar skills along with knowledge of the use of punctuation to appropriately punctuate and break up conversation so the reader understands what is going on.  This is an advanced writing technique and one your teachers may or may not have taught you.

Remember reading?  Reading novels allows you to see how other writers used punctuation and breaks in their writing to keep their writing clear.  This is also advanced writing skills.  We’ll look at resources for writers next.

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 – part x411, Developing Skills, Reading

17 May 2018, Writing – part x411, Developing Skills, Reading

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.

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 29:  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 30:  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 scene development 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         

Today:  Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.

To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first.  Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much.  I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.

The first skill you must have is reading.  When I write “reading,” I don’t mean that you just can read—I mean that you read.  Every good to great writer I know is a reading machine.  I literally have three or more books going at once.  I read every opportunity I get.  If you aren’t this type of reader, you will not have much chance as a writer.

Reading is necessary to give you examples of good writing and to provide ideas for plots.  You aren’t going to get many ideas from technical writing.  I’ll give you that if you write science fiction that scientific writing and papers might give you ideas.  However, the main way you will learn to be a better writer is by reading fiction and you should be reading great fiction.

Great fiction I will define as fiction that is a classic and entertaining.  Classic is that it is more than fifty years old, and entertaining is that you enjoy reading it.  Let me put in a caveat—if you don’t enjoy, for example, Dickens or Austin, the problem isn’t Dickens or Austin, the problem is you.  You must have the reading skills and vocabulary to understand and enjoy a certain level of literature.  Unless you are at that level, don’t even contemplate expanding into writing.

I’ll also mention a “fake” classic.  James Joyce is not an entertaining or even cogent writer.  His works are not classics.  If you enjoy reading Joyce, you are a liar or a fool.  Joyce is like the Emperor without any clothes.  If you remember that the purpose of fiction is to entertain, you will immediately see why Joyce is not good fiction.  It is just jumbled incoherent and boring writing.  A monkey could do better.

Back to great literature.  Sir Walter Scott and especially Ivanhoe is a great classic.  As we move into the Twentieth Century, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Herbert, Vance, Faulkner, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and all should be on your reading lists.  This isn’t exclusive, but remember, we are looking for classics and entertaining.  Tolkien isn’t that great of a writer.  He is entertaining, but his works include way too much telling.

You are reading for ideas and for examples—there are negative examples as well as positive ones.  I have rarely if ever read a perfect novel.  I have read some really great examples of finely crafted novels.  Let me recommend Dragonsong and Dragonsinger as great examples of very entertaining and well-crafted novels.  The final novel in the group, Dragondrums is an example of a not very well put together novel.  Compare and contrast the three and see the power of great fiction and not so great fiction.

The point, you must be a strong reader and an avid reader if you want to be a strong writer.  Start reading.  Get your reading experience and skill down, and you can move to the next step—writing.

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 – part x410, Developing Skills

16 May 2018, Writing – part x410, Developing Skills

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.

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 29:  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 30:  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 scene development 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

Today:  I cleaned up the introductory information a little.  I was acquiring too much extra verbiage.  I hate to take out the outlines I developed to help you design a plot, but so it goes.  Based on where we ended up yesterday, I’m going to move to a slightly different subject.

Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.

If you want to be a scientist, you must excel in school for twelve years, be accepted to a good university, study and work for at least four years in science, graduate, and find a job in your field.  You won’t be a fully qualified scientist for a few years after that.  If you proceed to a higher level of science education, you will need to invest even more of your life in university.

Let’s face it, in any field of endeavor, you must work hard for a long time to achieve success.  Think music, dance, acting, sports, and add those to science or engineering.  In any field, a person must work hard and apply themselves.  If you want to be an author, the same is true.

Let’s break this down a little.  You must plan to be a writer.  Let’s make a plan.  I’ll assume you have absorbed the common skills an exemplary student learned about writing from kindergarten through high school.  I’ll further assume you learned technical and basic writing through university.

If you didn’t, you might need some extra classes and work.  You must get to a level of reading and writing skill that allows you to plan to write fiction.  The first step is the basics of reading and the second is the basics of writing.  Perhaps we should look at reading first.

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 – part x409, Novel Form, Designing a Plot, Is there More?

15 May 2018, Writing – part x409, Novel Form, Designing a Plot, Is there More?

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.

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 29: 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.

This is the classical form for writing a successful 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 (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)
    4. Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (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

The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together. The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw. They are inseparable. This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel.

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

  1. The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  2. The Rising action scenes
  3. The Climax scene
  4. The Falling action scene(s)
  5. The Dénouement scene

So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene? Let’s start from a theme statement. Here is an example from my latest novel:

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: 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.

Here is the scene development 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

If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

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.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

Today:  If I have a romantic character who is pathos building, I can build a plot based on the revelation of the protagonist.  This is flat out how I write a novel.  I do want to write a little more about protagonists and characters in general.

Here’s what I’m trying to do for you.  I’d like to give you ideas that help you develop a plot.  In the first technique, we used a protagonist, a setting, and a theme idea to build an initial scene.  This is my chosen technique for writing a novel.

The second idea I presented you was zero to hero.  We design a protagonist worth writing about and project the zero of the protagonist and the hero of the protagonist.  We develop a telic flaw for the protagonist and the novel.  Then we write the protagonist to a zero and then to a hero while resolving the telic flaw.  Easy as pie.

There are also a couple of other means of plot development.  I don’t recommend them, but they exist.  That is the short story and the scene expansion method.

Are there any other methods to develop a plot?  Let’s go way back—I gave an entire seminar in this blog on developing ideas and the use of imagination.  This was basically a treatise on how to generate ideas.  What I am trying to do now is give you easy and straightforward ways to develop a plot.  I started with my preferred method for writing a novel—that’s basically this outline which I moved from above.

In writing thirty novels, this is what I’ve discovered about developing a plot:

  1. Protagonist and setting are used to design an exciting and entertaining
  2. Initial scene which provides a
  3. Scene output and a theme question based on the telic flaw of the protagonist
  4. The scene output leads to the next scene
  5. The theme question provides a basis for the plot
  6. The scene outline provides the continuing scenes and the theme question focuses the plot
  7. Resolving the theme question (telic flaw) resolves the plot

I write entire novels starting with this general outline.  This is what I call designing a plot from a character—the protagonist.

I went on to show you the zero to hero method of plot development.

  1. Develop a great protagonist (romantic and pathetic)
  2. Determine a zero point for the protagonist
  3. Determine a hero point for the protagonist
  4. Figure a means (plot) to get the protagonist first to zero and then to hero
  5. Determine a telic flaw that conjoins the plot and the protagonist’s development from zero to hero

This method also starts with the protagonist and expands from there.

I went on to show you how to use short story ideas and how to expand scenes to develop plots.  Both of these rely on stuff or storylines to start a plot.  The question is who else might we discover a plot for our writing?  Let me refer back to Shakespeare.  Shakespeare notoriously used old reliable plot staples and turned them into something new through his skilled use of the English language.  In other words, you don’t need a great plot to tell a great story.  Or better, you don’t need a completely radically new or unique plot idea to write a novel.

Writing itself is a skill, an art, and a craft.  The plot is simply a part of that whole.  Just as I have been writing over and over—the initial scene is the most important scene.  This means the climax of the plot is just not as important.  The rising action is important, but not as important as the initial scene.  This means you could have a terrible plot and still produce a great novel.  I’m thinking Harry Potty, the Sparkly Vampires, and Star Bores (Star Wars).  No one would imagine that Star Wars has any kind of good plot.  The plot is terrible and repetitive.  There is no good in it.  What makes Star Wars any kind of enjoyable is the characters and the stuff (mostly special effects).  Shakespeare would not necessarily approve—not with the cheesy lines in Star Wars, but the simple, almost inane plots are not the major drivers of the show.

If you understand this, you can easily build a novel and at plot, you just have to stick with it.  In fact, one of the major sticking points people tell me about is that they started to write a novel and got to a certain point and couldn’t continue.  I understand that.  The difference in success at writing is either the ability to push through and or the ability to realize the lack of excitement in your characters.  The characters are the important part, not necessarily the plot.

I’m not sure I can express this any stronger.  It is always the characters and their interaction that produces an enjoyable novel.  The plot is almost secondary to this.  If people enjoy (love) your characters, they are interested in the characters—the plot then simply becomes the revelation of the characters (mostly the protagonist) and their interaction.  This is the true entertainment in the writing…, and entertainment is the only purpose for fiction writing.

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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