11 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 495, Type 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 through showing.
Appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, and actions are means of character revelation. I really like this list–let’s look at each piece.
What kinds of gestures shall we use:
1. To identify a character?
2. To identify an idea?
3. Is there more?
Character identification (and revelation) is one of the primary reasons for gestures. Another really primary reason for gestures in the first place is make your characters appear human. The reality is that no character in a novel is really human. Humans are too complex and even the most complex novel can only provide a miniscule look at the true personality of any character. Plus, characters in a novel are not really human. Humans live every moment for about an average of 70 years or so–a character in a book has a life measured in moments compared to that. The author needs every possible tool to make their characters come alive in the minds of the readers. Gestures build reality into characters. Gestures in humans remind us they are alive–gestures in characters remind us they are like real humans.
The author should study gestures. If necessary, make a list of common gestures. For a protagonist, make a list of their normal gestures and repeat them at reasonable junctures. All humans have gestures they repeat. Some humans are more obvious than others. Those who are really obvious might be slightly insane. Those who have no remarkable features or actions (gestures) might as well be dead. Real humans are somewhere in the middle. Think of the simple and the mundane and bring it out in your writing. It may be as simple as moving her hair behind her ears (Natania in my Ghost Ship Chronicles) or running his hand thought his hair (from Khione) or keeping her eyes down (Essie from Shape). Each of my protagonist have habits of gesture that identify and humanize them.