19 July 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 380, Tension and Entertainment in Scenes Developing 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.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape–a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer. Lilly is my 24th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I’ve just started on the next major run-through of my novel, Escape.
I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.
1. Scene input (easy)
2. Scene output (a little harder)
3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
6. Release (climax of creative elements)
I made a list of the steps in the order of writing a scene. This kind of list isn’t as helpful as some other lists because it is endued with the need for creativity. Although creativity to me is simply the part that makes the scene entertaining, the entertainment in a scene is the unexpected that might possibly be predictable or expected. For example, simply based on Lilly and Tolinka’s cultures, brining the two of them together will create entertainment–that is predictable. The creative part might just be bringing the two beings together. Once you have them together, the elements of their cultures (or the cultures they represent) automatically build tension and release. This is the predictable part.
Further, the personalities of Lilly and Tolinka are significantly different–bringing them together as people is guaranteed to build tension. For the author, determining how to use those character differences and how to make those differences unexpected and entertaining is part of the creativity I’m writing about.
Perhaps a good exercise is to take your characters and list the points at which they must conflict. Those points are where creativity can build tension and release. Tension and release means entertainment.
I’ll add a final point about these concepts. When I first started writing, I sometimes wondered how to fully populate a scene. I don’t even think about that anymore. I’ll finish this idea tomorrow.