7 August 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 399, History Creativity 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 can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:
1. History extrapolation
2. Technological extrapolation
3. Intellectual extrapolation
Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect). Creativity requires true study and true reading.
How can we glean creative ideas from history? The easiest is to take some little known event from the past and to turn that event into a story or a novel. The best source for discovering such an event is from someone who lived at the time–therefore, research by speaking to people who are articulate and had an exciting life. I’ve interviewed many people and made notes of events from their lives. When I hear an interesting personal story, I jot it down. To get these kinds of ideas, you need to be personable and speak to many people. Plus, the people you want to talk to are not necessarily celebrities or those you might imagine as famous. Even small exciting events from people’s lives can make amazing stories or scenes in novels. I gather them up, modify them as necessary, and fit them into the world I am writing.
Unfortunately, many true events can’t make great stories or novels because they are to unbelievable. Reality is viewed by most people as structured and completely rule-based. Coincidence and happenstance are not accepted as real. Most readers will view it as a deus ex machina (a god machine), an unreal event. A reader can stomach one or at most two such events, but many exciting events in people’s lives are based on interrelated coincidence. These are real and make great stories to relate, but poor stories for written works. They just aren’t believable. The truth is that most ideas and events in novels (or other writing) should turn (or resolve) themselves based on the actions of the characters or the natural world not on coincidence or happenstance. That leads us directly to technology or logic, but there are more ideas to mine in the historical area.