20 February 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 596, Immersion in Allusion 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 12. 12. Field of reference or allusion
Here is a dictionary definition of allusion:
Allusion an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.
Here is definition of allusion I like even better:
Allusion, in literature, an implied or indirect reference to a person, event, or thing or to a part of another text
And, with that we have the purpose for field of reference and allusion—they immerse the reader into a historical world. They immerse the reader into a frame of reference that is different than the present. They immerse the reader into a place, event, or time such that those become real within the context of the writing.
The purpose of field of reference or allusion is immersion. You might ask, what about those who don’t understand the reference or the allusion—does a work detract for such a reader? The answer is not at all. If anything, the lack of understanding of an allusion or a reference should either make the uninformed seek out that reference or allusion or grab them on a later read—because that is the power of a novel strengthened by reference and allusion. Such a novel encourages readers to return to the novel and delve deeper. This is true of many literary classics—the reader is drawn to them again and again because they are entertaining and part of the “entertaining” is the reference and allusions in them.
An author must seek common allusions and common fields of reference. It does no good to make a reference to an unknown work or allusions to something that is outside of the normal human context. On the other hand, all classics and classical writing and especially those from antiquity are easily used for reference and allusion. It also doesn’t pay for an author to base a reference or allusion on a modern fad or non-classic popular work. Even a hard reference to such a work can fall flat—the work itself might be out of fashion or out of print. A great example of this is the youthful wizard and friends. It is highly unlikely that Harry and his world will survive as a classic—it possibly could, but what author would take that risk? On the other hand, an author might make a direct reference to such a work or the movie—that is, the characters in a novel might go to see a Harry Potter movie or read a Harry Potter book, as long as the book or movie fits the times and plot. Otherwise, the characters should just read a book or see a movie.
The point is, you can use direct references to set a work in a time and place. This is a field of reference in a setting—or a setting in a field of reference.
So as we move forward with this topic remember: use common, but classical references and allusions, and don’t allude to modern non-classical works.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic