18 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 563, Conclusions 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 Escape from Freedom. Escape is my 25th 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
In terms of words employed, I’ve looked at standard English and basic vocabulary. I’ve explained how to expand and how to constrain your vocabulary. I’ve looked at the best use of words and which words to not use or to reduce in your writing. This is about all except for a few examples I’d like to mention.
In science fiction, Jack Vance is one of the most erudite writers whose use of English is absolutely magnificent. He invents and creates words, places, creatures, worlds, people, and cultures like no one else has. You should definitely read his works for enjoyment, but to review the skill he uses with words and especially the correct fit and feel of words.
Ray Bradbury is a magician of the English language whose prose works are literally like poetry. You should read his works to gain an appreciation for how the words of standard English fit into scenes and produce tension and release simply by their use and sound. Bradbury’s writing should be read aloud just for the strength of the prose. You should do this with your own writing as part of the editing, but many novels read excellently and some better aloud. Bradbury is just magnificent.
Alan Bradley is not a writer of classics, but his novels are worth a read just for his word use and choice. He writes with a slightly Oxford depth and cultural darkness that feels both very British and fresh. He turns phrases and words in ways that are entertaining and drive tension and release. His touch is tongue in cheek—perhaps tongue in cheeky. The style is pleasant and delightful and the word use drives both.
Catherynne M. Valente is not a children’s writer although he books are sold as such and they are listed as such. They are acceptable for children, but her very complex use of the English language makes her books wonderful standouts. You need to read at least one of her short well written novels just to get a feel for the use of English prose as a poetical form. Ms. Valente does not write poetry. She writes only prose, but her writing is an extreme of a specific style of writing. It is a throwback style, but her use of it is excellent.