2 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 547, Words Employed 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’m on my first editing run-through of 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 7. 7. Words employed
What and how do you use words in your writing? Novels range from the elegant and poetic style of Catherynne Valente to the loquacious tense style of Jack Vance to the more simplistic and sparse language of Ernest Hemingway. All of these are styles and all can make a great novel. Catherynne Valente is an extreme. Every writer should look at her style—it isn’t for everyone. It is very word intensive and as I wrote—poetic. Ray Bradbury has a similar style although nowhere near as poetically intensive as Valente. Valente is a niche and her writing is wonderful although not easy to master.
Hemingway, on the other hand, is notably sparse and terse. His writing is so simple and stylistic, there are contests that functionally ridicule his style of writing through imitation. Like the style of e.e.cummings, Hemingway is an extreme that likely should not be used except every hundred years or so.
Between Hemingway and Valente is some middle ground. This is the point where most authors should aim and let their own style fit within. I personally aim for a style similar to Jack Vance although my writing has moved from very descriptively stylistic to more strongly conversation based. Jack Vance writes with short very strong and elegant descriptive narrative and driving conversation. This is where I aim my writing, and the word choice and word use follows this course.