23 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 507, more 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’s voice turned slightly dangerous, “Only a my lady. You already knelt to me. Where are your manners, Pryderi fab Pwyll?”
Pryderi stuttered, “Yes, your majesty.” He put out his hand, “Your majesty, you will only be able to rule as long as the White Lady gives you leave…”
“I was made to hold and protect all of you. The Dagda made me for this. Do you not understand this?”
“The world is different now, your majesty.”
“I realize this, perhaps more than you do. I know you hate me because you are all beautiful and intelligent, and I am slow and, to your eyes, ugly. I am the forest and the vales. I am the meadows and the hills. I have found a place. I am sworn to it. It is best that you know your place, Pryderi.” She raised her voice, “Do you all hear me Tylwyth Teg. I am your sovereign. I rule under the hand of the Dagda.”
Pryderi seemed taken aback. The fae all called out, “Under the Dagda.”
“Yes under the Dagda. Did you not see the Hagios Pneuma and hear the voices of the angels? I will forgive you the past as long as you obey me in the future.”
Pryderi took a deep breath, “Then if the White Lady makes demands on us, what shall we answer?”
Essie nodded, no obeisance, “I answer to the Dagda. You will answer to me. If the White Lady asks, this should be your answer.”
Pryderi didn’t look very comfortable, “Yes, your majesty.”
“Now, I will dine with you and bless you. Bring me my just repast and show me to my place.”
Pryderi led Essie to a knoll near the lake. It was the highest place in the vale. The grass was the greenest. Cigfa and Rhiannon placed translucent cloaks on the ground. Manawyadan and Pryderi brought platters of meat, a chalice of milk, and a woven plate of cheese to her. They sat below her and served her. The male fae who held the sleeping Claire sat behind Essie. As the sun rose, Essie dined with them. When the banquet ended, Essie began to sing again. It was another ancient song of the Tylwyth Teg. Sighs rose around her. Cigfa and Rhiannon lay on the ground their eyes closed, and their pointed ears pitched toward her.
At the end of the song, Essie up out her hands, “I will speak a blessing on you my children, of the Tylwyth Teg. I will also grant any who wish a blessing from my hands—a blessing from the Dagda.”
Cigfa and Rhiannon’s eyes glistened. With halting movements, they slowly came to their knees. Cigfa was first, “I beg a pardon from you, Aos Si.” She whispered to Essie so only her ears could hear. Essie placed her hand on Cigfa’s golden hair. Cifga grimaced, but bore the touch. A bright light blossomed at Essie’s touch. Cifga smiled and bowed, then backed away. Rhiannon came next and after her Manawyadan. Essie heard their petitions, touched the tops of their heads, and they bowed and backed away from her. They all came then. All of the Tylwyth Teg. Finally as the sun came to near its zenith, Pryderi fab Pwyll came on his knees to her. His whispered request was simple, “To lead the Tylwyth Teg properly and honorably.”
Essie granted his request and whispered back, “You did not lead, Pryderi fab Pwyll, but the first shall be last and the last first.” She smiled at him, and Pryderi fab Pwyll smiled back, but not directly in her eyes, “Yes, your majesty.”
Essie stood, “I must return to my place. You will attend, will you not?”
Pryderi fab Pwyll bowed deeply.
While he bowed, Essie took the crown from her head and placed it back on Pryderi’s. She put out her arms. Cigfa and Rhiannon moved to either side and untied and unbraided her hair. They untied and grasped her gown. Essie called out, “Bring the child back to the place you found her. I will follow and I will watch both to guard and to guide. I will not embarrass you on your return, but I will be with you. I will return when you need me and for the great festivals. Watch for me.”
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.