29 October 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 482, Examples Speech Characteristics Character Presentation Q and A
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 on to 2. 2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions).
An author develops a character first and then reveals the character through the plot. Plot revelation is what it is all about. We do not reveal characters by telling. First develop, then reveal.
Appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, and actions are means of character revelation. I really like this list–let’s look at each piece.
Here is an example from the newest novel I am writing, working title, Shape:
Tabitha laughed, “Ah, you’re that girl. You’re the one they were talking about. You gave that concert a week ago. I wish I could have heard it. Still, that isn’t very good for you…too much attention. I don’t want that rubbing off on me.”
Essie stared at her, “You are supposed to show me around and help me become acquainted with the other students. Isn’t that your job?”
“Perhaps my job, you just keep my secrets.”
Essie asked, “Dr. Rowley is your form tutor too?”
“Yes, because of the Welsh. You are I are part of the new Welsh curriculum. Dr. Rowley was hired this year to teach it, but don’t expect too much from her. I hear she was kicked out of university and had to come here to teach. I’m just happy to get out of French. I was flunking out and went over to Welsh to pull up my grades. My mum would kill me if I didn’t.”
“I see. Where’s your roommate?”
“Amie’s working her schedule with her form tutor.”
“Is she studying Welsh too?”
“No, she’s good with most subjects. She’s my best friend here.”
“I’d be happy to be your friend too.”
“Let’s just hold it at house buddies for now. If you keep our secrets you might be friend material. Right now, I think you’ll stand out too much.”
“I don’t try to stand out at all.”
Tabitha gave her a long look, but dropped her eyes, “You won’t be able too. I’m sure of it. You look too young, and you’re the new music scholarship student. Just keep your distance for now—and don’t spill the beans.”
“Spill the beans?”
“What part of Britain do you come from? Don’t let out our secrets.”
“What other secrets do you have?”
Tabitha just stared at her for a moment. She snubbed out her cigarette and put it in a sealed glass container. She waived the incense around a little, then put it out, “You’re hopeless. Let’s get it over with…come on, we’ll go to dinner. Do you have your student card?”
Essie looked quizzically at her.
“For goodness sakes, didn’t they tell you anything? You need your student card for the dining facility and for just about everything around here. Didn’t they give you a packet of materials?”
“It’s in my room.”
“Come on.” Tabitha gestured with her head, “Let’s go to your room and get your card. We’ll go to dinner. Dinner starts at five every evening. They did tell you that, didn’t they?”
This is a conversation between two 15 year old girls. Tabitha and Essie are both 10th year. Essie is new to the school and Tabitha is her house buddy. Notice, standard English is used everywhere, but exclamations and the words used show the youth of the characters. You can notice many other features you will only find in youthful conversation: very direct address. Very specific and unhidden (generally) actions and motivations. Adults don’t normally speak this way. Especially note the condescending tone Tabitha uses with Essie. This is also a characteristic of young people–they nearly always have a tendency to want to establish hierarchy.