11 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 556, more real Classics 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
- Tone – how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.
- 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
To increase your vocabulary, you need to read the “classics.” I’ve never done this before. I’m going to give you a list of 100 books that I consider “classics.” I’ll also give a little info about the novels. Obviously the list isn’t from best to worst or from worst to best—it is just random.
|1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – Victorian and not the best example of a modern novel.|
|2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien – Tolkien is a great story teller, but not the best novelist.|
|3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte — Victorian|
|4 Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury – Best modern novel in English|
|5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee|
|6 The Bible – Most important book to understand Western culture.|
|7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte – Victorian|
|8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell|
|9 We The Living – Ayn Rand|
|10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens – Victorian, but more modern than others in the period.|
|11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott – Beginning of the US Victorian|
|12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy|
|13 Dune – Frank Herbert|
|14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – better to see as plays|
|15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier|
|16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien|
|17 The Cadwal Chronicles – Jack Vance|
|18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger|
|19 The Green Pearl Novels – Jack Vance|
|20 Middlemarch – George Eliot|
|21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchel|
|22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald|
|23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens|
|24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy – I’m not so sure this is a great novel in English|
|25 Starship Troopers – Robert Heinlein|
|27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky|
|28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck – In Dubious Battle may be better|
|29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll|
|30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame|
|31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – Not so sure about this one, but it’s worth a read|
|32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens|
|33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis|
|34 Emma -Jane Austen – Victorian|
|35 Persuasion – Jane Austen|
|36 Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand|
|37 The Tale of Genji – Murasaki Shikibu – the first novel ever written|
|38 The House of Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|39 The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne|
|41 Animal Farm – George Orwell|
|42 Dracula – Bram Stoker – First Gothic horror novel|
|43 Til We All Have Faces – C.S. Lewis – two for one—you get Cupid and Psyche at the same time|
|44 Le Morte D’Arthur – Thomas Malory – chief basis for Arthurian Legend and chivalry|
|45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins|
|46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery|
|47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy|
|48 Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott – perhaps the most important historical novel about England|
|49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding|
|50 The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand|
|51 What Katy Did – Sarah Chauncey Woolsey under her pen name Susan Coolidge|
|52 A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett|
|53 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett|
|54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen|
|55 The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling|
|56 Kim – Rudyard Kipling|
|57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens|
|58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley|
|59 Beowulf – Unknown|
|60 The Odyssey – Homer|
|61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck|
|62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov|
|63 The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins – first detective story in English|
|64 The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett – first noir detective novel|
|65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas|
|66 As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner|
|67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy|
|68 Robinson Caruso – Daniel Defoe – First novel in English|
|69 The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane|
|70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville|
|71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens|
|72 Don Quixote – Miguel De Cervantes|
|73 Heidi – Johanna Spyri|
|74 Hans Brinker – Mary Mapes Dodge|
|75 Ulysses – James Joyce – really not worth the read and not really a classic, but you might as well know what a bad novel is.|
|76 The Inferno – Dante|
|77 The Big Sky Country – Arlo Guthrie|
|78 Germinal – Emile Zola|
|79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray|
|80 The Black Arrow – Robert Louis Stevenson|
|81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens|
|82 Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson|
|83 The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn|
|84 The Miser – George Elliot|
|85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert|
|86 For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemmingway|
|87 Tarzan – Edger Rice Burroughs|
|88 The Death of Socrates – Plato|
|89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle|
|90 I, Robot – Isaac Asimov|
|91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad|
|92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery|
|93 Huckleberry Fin – Mark Twain|
|94 Watership Down – Richard Adams|
|95 Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift|
|96 Matilda – Roald Dahl|
|97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas|
|98 The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer|
|99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl|
|100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo|
101 The Once and Future King – T.H. White
102 The Deerslayer – James Fenimore Cooper
103 The Black Book of Communism – Various
104 Ben Hur – Lew Wallace
105 The Robe – Lloyd C. Douglas
106 The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
107 The Histories – Herodotus
108 Lives – Plutarch
109 The Call of the Wild – Jack London
110 Stand on Zanzibar – John Brunner
111 The Shockwave Rider – John Brunner – prediction of the computer virus and inspiration for it
- The Aeneid – Virgil
I left up the list. If you haven’t read these books, you really need to. If you haven’t, your education is suspect. I would like you to especially note—many women authors are on this list. Most are early novelists and the earliest novelist. I can keep adding to the list, but what I really want you to take away is what you can gain from these books and novels. We started with the employment of words.
The only way to fully comprehend the proper employment of words is to read works in English (or the language you wish to write in) and get the feel of the proper use of words. The vocabulary you use in the proper times and mouths is the employment of words. The descriptions you make in scene and character setting are dependent on the proper employment of words. The conversations you write must subtly and not so subtly convey your character(s) age, education, class, culture, etc.—all this through the words employed.
The first step is knowledge of and enjoyment of the classics—the second step is the employment of the words themselves. Now, I will assume for now you are knowledgeable about proper grammar and the use of English. I hope you also learned this from the classics. In word use (employment), I have some advanced advice for the best use of language. This is a true secret of writing—I’ll show you next.