21 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 505, Essie Actions 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.
Actions define a character. Words are actions. Here is an example from the newest novel I’m writing. Essie is the Aos Si. She is also the goddess (guardian) of the fae. The fae don’t like being ruled by a creature less beautiful, refined, and intelligent than they:
The sun was just topping the trees and the banquet to celebrate the morning light and the beginning day lay out on the deep green grass. Knolls rose at convenient spots just high enough to provide a place to sit. The Welsh fae, the Tylwyth Teg, lived in the forest and the meadows. They didn’t like anything over their heads. They relished the open air and the open skies. Many diverse creatures sat awaiting the blaze of the sun on the meadow and the coming of their king and queen to begin the day. Essie could see them. Some like humans beautiful and fair with golden locks and pale petite faces. Some appeared like humans mixed with animals: cefftk dwr and cwn annwn. Others were hideous and still others like small humans with wings. All together all celebrating the rising sun.
Essie didn’t slow her run now. She rushed down a forest game trail and burst out of the forest near the center of the open space. She ran toward the center and creatures scattered shrieking. Some rose into the air on bright wings. Some jumped out of her way. Others ran to the side and back into the forest. Many disappeared into the mist rising from the lake. A great angry and forlorn cry went up.
Essie, the Aos Si stood in the center of the meadow for a long moment. She began to pace around that center until she had beaten down the grass. She stood and turned. One moment, she was a black wildcat—the next she stood naked in the center. A great cry went up all around her, but she couldn’t tell if that was because of her nakedness or because they recognized her.
Essie turned around slowly twice to make certain they all saw her. She spoke the language of the fae. It was a bit rusty on her tongue, but she knew it, and she spoke it very sternly, “Listen to me. I am the Aos Si, and I have come for a reckoning.” The sunlight suddenly blazed full on the center of the meadow. A rush of morning breeze rustled in the tops of the trees. A bright light seemed to settle at the top of Essie’s head—like a tongue of dancing flames.
No one spoke.
“Are you afraid? You should be. You took a human who is under my care. Bring her immediately to me.”
Still she heard not a sound.
Essie stepped to the closest repast she kicked over the woven platters there. She knocked over their clay cups and broke them against each other. She tore apart the platters. She gathered the pieces and the fae food and kicked them into the center. She began to squat above them on the center of the knoll.
A voice rang out of the mist, “Stop. Don’t desecrate this place any further.”
Essie stood, “I have barely begun to desecrate this place. I have not loosed my power at all. You have not showed me the honor I deserve.”
The voice was filled with anguish, “Must we?”
“I demand it. I am the Aos Si, and I demand you honor me as you are required.”
A sudden cry went up. Angry voices surrounded her.
Essie stood silently. She was completely at ease. She sat in her hip. She didn’t attempt to hide her nakedness. Essie yawned, “You might as well show yourselves. I can detect you all anyway. I know where you are, and I know who you are. Pryderi fab Pwyll of the Tylwyth Teg show yourself.”
“Nay. This not fitting. We may not look upon you while you are…you are…”
“While I am not clothed? Then bring me my robes and give me the proper greeting. Have you been so long without my guidance that you can’t even remember your manners?”
Pryderi called out, “Cigfa bring the robe.”
A woman’s voice rose over the din, “The robe, my lord?”
Pryderi snarled, “Yes, the robe. Bring it now or we will not be rid of it.”
Another man’s voice called out, “I thought you said this would bring the White Lady on her head and not this creature on ours.”
Essie growled, “Do it now, or I will ruin your secret place for ages to come. You know I can do it.”
“Aye, I know this. I didn’t think you would come…”
“Yet, I am here and waiting very impatiently.”
A woman of dazzling beauty with long golden hair appeared behind Essie. She held a simple robe of nearly translucent material. It looked as if it had been woven of spider webs. Essie held out her hands and Cigfa placed it on Essie’s arms and wrapped it around her body. Cifga did everything she could not to come into contact with Essie’s flesh.
Here I show you some of the interaction of Essie with the Welsh fae. It isn’t pretty, but it gets prettier.