8 October 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 461, more the Modern Novel Ancient Works Q and A 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 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
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 started writing Shape.
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 consuming, thinking, and producing.
One of my blog readers posed these questions. I’ll use the next few weeks to answer them.
1. Conflict/tension between characters
2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
3. Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
4. Evolving vs static character
5. Language and style
6. Verbal, gesture, action
7. Words employed
8. Sentence length
10. Type of grammar
12. Field of reference or allusion
14. Mannerism suggest by speech
16. Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter’s style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).
17. Intro the concepts to my boys, using Homer’s Illiad, chp 4-7.
Moving on to 17. 17. Intro the concepts to my boys, using Homer’s Illiad, chp 4-7.
Slight digression: I’m writing from Paris. I flew from Athens to Bologna to Paris today.
I consider Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine to be one of if not the best modern novel. I would use Dandelion Wine as an example of great fiction writing.
The modern novel is getting better and better. This is true of all arts and sciences in the human realm. That isn’t to say all art, literature, and science is better. It is to say, the evolution of art, literature, and science is getting better and better.
Daniel Defoe wrote in the first person, present tense, implying the past. Since then, the novel has moved to generally the third person, past tense, implying the future. This change was revolutionary for the world of literature. Since the purpose of the novel is to show a story, the power of the novel increased significantly by these improvements. You will see throwbacks, but these are kind of few and far between. You will see first person novels, but the first person does too much telling and should only be used in very specific circumstances.
As you study writing, the point isn’t to copy or imitate, but to see how an author constructs a scene and then to construct your own scenes. The scene is the thing. Put enough scenes together and you have a novel. Again, an ancient work is always worth studying, but not so much for writing skills and technique as for the ideas and creativity. It can’t hurt, but it will not help. I think it’s better to settle on a modern novel that correctly builds scenes and use that as an example. That is my long considered opinion. I’ll move on to the next question tomorrow.