26 December 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 540, Standard English Historical Speech Language and Style 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.
- Scene input (easy)
- Scene output (a little harder)
- Scene setting (basic stuff)
- Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
- Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
- Release (climax of creative elements)
I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:
- History extrapolation
- Technological extrapolation
- 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.
- Conflict/tension between characters
- Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
- Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
- Evolving vs static character
- Language and style
- Verbal, gesture, action
- Words employed
- Sentence length
- Type of grammar
- Field of reference or allusion
- Mannerism suggest by speech
- 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 5. 5. Language and style
Short digression: I’m writing from Skagway, Alaska.
Always write using standard English. Even when you are using idioms or accents, always write using standard English. What is standard English? That is very difficult to define. Generally, if you can use it in Scrabble or you can find it in the Oxford English Dictionary, it is standard English. Obviously, standard English does not include proper names—in other words, you can use any proper name you wish and still be using standard English. However, you need to use caution with some names. I haven’t written about which names not to use in a while. I might go over that.
The point is that most of the time, if the word is accepted in a standard dictionary, you may use it in your writing. I will warn you about using certain words. But as long as the words are in the Oxford English Dictionary knock yourself out.
Here is the warning. First about words. Although I write with a very erudite vocabulary, I try to write so that the educated don’t need to have a dictionary at their fingertips. If you notice, modern ebooks do possess dictionaries integrated into their programming, and everyone can use them to look up any word. That is no excuse for writing using words that are either not common or normal. I some cases, there is only one word in the world that will fit—use that word, but if you are simply replacing one good word with another that is less well known, use the common word.
Use words your readers will understand.