15 February 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 591, Styles of Grammar 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:
- Historical 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 suggested 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 10. 10. Type of grammar
Short digression: I’m writing on an aircraft from a short world tour. I visited Paris and the Check Republic and flew missions in the Check Republic.
Back to English grammar. Although there is definitely a standard English vocabulary—there is no standard English grammar. Grammar is not willy-nilly, but you will find much direction and little standard according to officialdom—still works are written, published, and read with relish, though the grammar is not set into concrete.
Definitely, the basics of grammar are set in stone—tense, verbs, changes in verbs, nouns, adverbs, pronouns, adjectives, and the basics of speech are tenants of the language that are very strongly set in English. However, capitalization, numbers, and a few other details are not.
The most important details of communication are well developed and known—the lesser details are a bit muddled. As long as you comply with the basics of the language, your editor and readers will likely not complain—although, you might find, like I did, some will disagree with the way you handle numbers. What is funny about this is that in the novel Centurion, the greatest concern from my editor was the capitalization and titles in the work. The numbers were in accordance with Chicago and unimportant, but we went through at least three iterations about the capitalization of Centurion. I was ambivalent, the work is published, and I am happy with it.
As I mentioned, I struggled through numerous rewrites to make the capitalization of the titles work for the editor. In English, this is not a hard and set concept like it is in German or other languages. Capitalization follows general rules only, and the latest advice I read said to reduce it to the the maximum extent possible. Perhaps this is a good idea, perhaps it isn’t. Obviously, capitalization is a question of style more than rules. Or perhaps rules with a touch of style mixed in.
At the same time, there is a question of standard grammar against types of grammar. I began this topic with an expose’ of dialects. Dialects in English do exhibit differences in standard grammar. Let’s look next at this.