10 October 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 463, Tension Conflict 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).
Moving back to 1. 1. Conflict/tension between characters
Slight digression: I’m writing from Wichita back in the good ol’ USA.
Tension is the word used to describe all conflict in a novel. The word tension is used to mean the tension and release cycle in a scene as well as the tension plot development that results in the climax. Every scene in any novel must include tension and release and every novel must include a building tension that results in the climax and the falling action.
Tension can really only take place in two ways in a novel. The first is tension against an or the environment. The second is between characters. Character interaction is usually more interesting and common than interaction with the or an environment. Therefore, conflict between characters is usually one of the main focuses of any novel.
I’ll describe conflict between a character and an or the environment to get it out of the way. A character can have conflict against the environment through a person stuck in a wilderness and working to survive. This type of conflict is a very classical novel idea. Novels by Jack London about the Alaskan gold rush or the northern wilderness are these types of novels. Likewise, there are a host of survival novels depicting a similar conflict. These are great novels, but unless they include some other human conflict, they rarely rise to adult literary novels. Jack London’s greatest novels usually include some degree of character interaction and conflict along with the environmental conflict. That’s what makes them great novels.
The other type of environmental conflict is that against a human based or created environment. Usually these are focused on a conflict between the protagonist and a government, society, or culture. This is an even more common novel type. The novel I just finished, Escape from Freedom, is a novel that includes conflict between individuals and the governmental system. In this type of novel, it is almost impossible not to include other human conflict–since the conflict is between a human based system and a person. I write, almost, because novels like THX1138 and Logan’s Run as well as some others do pit the individual entirely against the state or the system. Usually, these novels also benefit greatly from human conflict as well as environmental conflict.