22 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 506, Queen 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:
Essie stood still, “You must bind my hair.”
Cigfa wrung her hands, “But it is in your hair.”
“You must bind my hair—that is the proper step.”
Cigfa bowed slightly. Then she raised her head, “I didn’t mean to give you an obeisance…”
Essie raised her hands, “But you did, and that is right.”
Cigfa called, “Rhiannon come. You must assist me.”
A woman’s voice rose in protest, “But to touch it…”
Cigfa cried out, “It is our duty. We are bound to it. Come or there won’t be an end to this.”
Another golden haired woman appeared out of the mist. She was dressed in a translucent gown similar to the one Essie now wore. Essie’s gown was pure white. Cigfa’s was rose, and Rhiannon’s was blue. Cigfa and Rhiannon each took a ribbon of white material like Essie’s gown. They stood on either side of Essie and careful not to touch the branch in her black hair, they braided and tied her hair into two long braids. They both stepped back and stood at either side of Essie. They both bowed their heads, then quickly raised them. They both blushed.
Essie put out her hands, “The next. You must crown and welcome me.”
A man stepped out of the morning sunlit mist. His golden hair was covered with a crown of leaves in a complex pattern. He wore riding clothing similar to the robes of the women but of a more substantial weave. He took the crown from his head and gingerly placed it on Essie’s head. He was tall enough and she short enough that he didn’t need to reach far.
When he placed the crown on her head, he backed and bowed. He gave a groan as if some force had compelled him. Another man dressed similarly, stepped from the mist. He held a ceramic chalice in his hands. He stepped forward as Pryderi stepped back. He was also tall. Essie didn’t bend her head or neck as the man placed the chalice to her lips. She drank deeply, then took the chalice from his hands.
Essie raised the chalice, “This is blessed and all may partake.” She handed the chalice back to Manawyadan. Manawyadan carefully took the chalice without touching Essie’s hands.
Essie began to sing. The sun suddenly rested in her hair again. Her song was similar to the music she played for Mrs. Lyons and Claire and Seasaìdh. It was like the organ music she played for Mrs. Maddison and Father Maddison. It was the music of the Tylwyth Teg—a song as old as the Welshlands and as old as the fae. From everywhere, the fae appeared. All those who fled when Essie entered the secret fell of the Tylwyth Teg came to stand around her and listen to her song. It was filled with power. The birds and insects who had been completely silent began to sing it with her. A white bird descended from the sky and sat on the crown in Essie’s hair. The fae did not sing. They listened with their faces bowed and their heads uncovered. When she finished. The white bird disappeared and a panoply of sound and lights appeared above her head for a moment. Essie smiled, “He is pleased.”
All the fae who could kneel, knelt at Essie’s feet. They all placed their heads below hers.
Pryderi turned his face away, “He is pleased.”
Essie demanded, “Now bring me the child of man whom you stole from me.”
Pryderi rose and snapped his fingers, “She is here.”
A fae with great shining golden hair carried Claire forward.
Essie didn’t look at them or Claire, “Has she been harmed?”
Pryderi raised his hands, “We dare not harm her. She sleeps. She is the granddaughter of the White Lady.”
“She is also under my protection. I did not take any revenge on you Pryderi or on the Tylwyth Teg. I could have…”
“Yes, yes. I realize this. I…we just didn’t expect you to come here yourself.”
Here I show you some of the interaction of Essie with the Welsh fae. It isn’t pretty, but it gets prettier. I will show you the rest of this scene–it is a scene that is a turning point in understanding Essie. Only the fae and Essie along with the readers get this knowledge.