20 July 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 381, Scene Population 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)
When I first started writing, I sometimes wondered how to fully populate a scene. Because of this, my style of writing was more descriptive and artsy. The entertainment in my scenes were driven by action or description (or both). As I matured as a novelist, I discovered that I didn’t need description and action to drive a scene–in fact, if you try to write using description and action, you will find your scenes are really short. If you tell instead of show, you will find your scenes are really short.
I discovered that the way to drive scenes was with conversation. Conversation is the ultimate showing. For example, try this:
They greeted each other.
This is telling. Notice the length of it. Now look at this:
George tipped his hat, “Good morning Mrs. Collin.”
“Good morning, George.”
George raised his hat a bit more, “Beautiful weather we’re having…”
Mrs. Collin smiled, “It is very pleasant. I’d almost like to have a picnic this afternoon–do you think the weather will hold?.”
George tweaked his lips, “I can’t say for sure, but I’d like an invitation if you do–have a picnic, that is.”
You could go on and on with the “greeting.” This is showing, and this is conversation. The conversation builds the scene and the showing is the conversation. There is little need for much action and only limited description. Do you see how showing and conversation can build a scene. If I applied creativity to develop events and then build the events with tension and release, we would have something. If you stick with input and output, you will generally not go wrong–that is, you won’t add in extraneous material. Extraneous is where you don’t want to go…