9 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 493, Gestures 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.
The idea of behavior is quite broad, but the concept of the gesture is a gentle subtlety. Gestures are the life of conversation and the life of the character to me. I think more revelation can come out of the proper gesture than many large actions or long speeches. To me, the gesture is the character. The gesture is the way a writer breaks a phrase or thought to introduce a new idea, identify a character, identify a theme, show a relation, and extend a conversation out of the words that are said.
Let’s look at the last first: to extend a conversation out of the words that are said. I wanted to write, at first, to extend a conversation out of the words that are simply said, but I didn’t. Psychiatrists and those who study speech, tell us that conversation is up to 80 percent unspoken. A hearer gets up to 80 percent of the information from the gestures, tones, and overall body language during the conversation. That means a writer who doesn’t properly tag and work with action while writing a conversation is missing an enormous part of the potential conversation. The context of any set of words can be completely opposite their spoken meaning depending on the tone, gesture, and body language. For example:
“I love you.”
Means something entirely different from:
Janice spat the words, “I love you.”
Mark snarled, “I love you.”
Janice gave him a cold glance, “I love you.”
Mark’s eye twitched, “I love you.”
For goodness sakes, the words spoken are all the same–the implied meaning and understanding of them are all entirely different. The reason is the tone, gesture, and overall body language.