13 October 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 466, always Character 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
Without some degree of conflict between characters, there is usually nothing to write about–end of novel. Let’s just note, you can write a scene with the most subtle of human conflict. I do this all the time. I like to write about silent, unstated conflict that smolders just under the surface. I like even better silent, partially stated conflict that smolders just under the surface and that rears its ugly head every now and then.
Thus in Shape, Essie has some type of unknown conflict with Ceridwen. This conflict is stated, but it’s origin is only hinted at. The Morfrans say the fae gave Essie into their care in the name of Ceridwen. Mrs. Lyons knows the real Ceridwen. She doesn’t believe Ceridwen could allow such abuse to Essie. In Shape, this is an idea that surfaces every scene or so. Likewise, the idea of the fae becoming involved. This idea keeps surfacing because the fae (or something) keeps messing up the tea things in the garden. Essie knows it is the fae. Somewhat impotent against Essie, but the fae have power.
The point of each of these examples is to show that in any novel, the author must keep a balancing act of the conflict development–that is, much of the conflict is subtle and indirect. Some of the conflict is obvious and direct. This is part of the power of a novel–the ability to express both to excite and entertain the reader.