23 February 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 599, more Classical 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.
All good writing is filled with field of reference and allusions. The author himself may not fully comprehend how much allusion and reference plays in his own writing. The reason is that all creativity in writing is tied to the past—to history. No one can write about love without some tie to the loves of the past. No one can write about human suffering or human joy without some tie to past human suffering or joy. As some wag wrote, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. What is joy without comparison, and what is suffering without comparison? Additionally, what is love without comparison?
Writers don’t write (or shouldn’t write) about the trivial. The theme and plot of all writing should be entertaining. Generally, the status quo is not entertaining. An author only understands the creative and entertainment from knowledge of literature. How can I know what is entertaining without some comparison to past entertainment. As long as an author understands that fiction writing is about entertainment, the purpose for allusions and reference should become clear.
As I wrote, all creativity in writing is based on the past and usually past literature. Someone made the observation that all themes have been used already and that artists simply reused those classical themes. I don’t necessarily agree. I believe I have developed themes that have not been used before in literature. Most of the time, an author can point to another novel that is in some ways similar to his. I have written novels that are singular—there are no other novels similar to them. This doesn’t mean these novels are not tied by allusion or reference to the past—it simply means the themes and ideas are newly extrapolated from the past. Plus, I seek to infuse as much reference and allusion as possible in my writing.
The simple point is this—all writing must allude to the past and all writing must reference past human ideas and themes. It behooves the author to accentuate and focus his writing with those ideas and themes—therefore reference and allusion.
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