4 March 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 608, Rage Examples of Tone 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 13. 13. 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.
I’m writing from Florida–thought you should know.
If tone is the feel of the writing, the author must start first with what tone he wants to convey.
Aksinya is a great example of tone in a novel. The novel moves from horror and murder to blissful elegance and high society. The tone of the scenes range from love to hate and from great happiness to despair. The peaks of human emotion and human suffering are found in Aksinya—the tone of the novel must therefore fit the scenes. This is part of the theme climax of the novel. I already revealed the tone to you—it is love turned to rage.
Monday after school, Aksinya and Natalya awaited in the parlor for Herr von Taaffe’s arrival. A wood and coal fire warmed the room. Natalya sewed and Aksinya read a Russian novel. Sister Margarethe sat in a servant’s chair at the side of the room near the door to the hall. Aksinya kept glancing up from her book. She hadn’t turned a single page in an hour.
When they heard hooves outside, Sister Margarethe stood. The two novice nuns must have waited just outside the door, they rushed into the parlor.
Aksinya smiled. Her face filled with joy.
Natalya glanced at Aksinya then bent more diligently over her sewing.
When the bell rang, Sister Margarethe and the novice nuns ran into the foyer. Aksinya heard the door open and Sister Margarethe greet Ernst. She heard the rustle of Ernst’s great coat as they took it from him. In a few moments, Sister Margarethe led Herr Ernst von Taaffe into the room. Aksinya rose to greet him, and she almost fell backwards into her chair. Just behind Ernst stepped Asmodeus. The demon grinned at her, but he didn’t say anything. A whiff of sulfur followed him into the room. Natalya glanced up at Ernst and the demon. She colored, but immediately lowered her eyes back to her sewing.
Ernst’s face was radiant. He stepped to Aksinya and embraced her. His lips touched hers in a light but fervent caress. Aksinya returned his kiss for a moment, then thought better of her response and pushed him slightly away. Ernst didn’t seem put off at all. Sister Margarethe took a step forward as though she was about to intervene, but then she stepped back again.
Ernst pulled Aksinya closer, “Dearest Aksinya, I know your answer before you speak it, and I’m here to take you home with me.”
Sister Margarethe gave a gasp. The novice nuns gasped.
Aksinya pushed him back again, “My answer? You know it before I even speak it? You are a bit too forward and presumptuous, sir.”
“Today, I received your letter in response to mine, and the joy of my heart knows no bounds. But your attentions the other evening spoke more strongly than any letter or any words you might say.”
Aksinya’s voice raised, “My attentions?”
Ernst stared at her with a puzzled look, “Yes, your attentions.”
Aksinya stepped back and almost tripped over her chair, “I don’t have any idea what you are talking about, Ernst von Taaffe.”
Ernst continued to stare possessively at Aksinya. His eyes swept up and down her body in a very intimate glance.
Aksinya was suddenly filled with desire. She immediately pushed any such thoughts out of her mind. She glanced at the demon, then back at Ernst. Only she seemed to realize Asmodeus was in the room with them at all. Aksinya’s voice turned suddenly hard, “Sister Margarethe, leave us. Take the novices with you. I need to speak to Ernst privately.”
Natalya began to rise.
Aksinya didn’t turn, “Lady Natalya, you may remain. I am in great need of a chaperone.”
Ernst laughed, “In need of a chaperone? I think not, but dear lady, I will accede to your will.”
Sister Margarethe and the novice nuns reluctantly departed the room. Sister Margarethe halted a moment beside the door.
Aksinya raised her head, “Please close the door to the parlor, Sister Margarethe.”
Sister Margarethe nodded and slowly pulled it shut.
Aksinya stepped over to the door and made certain it was fully closed then she turned back toward Ernst, “What do you mean, sir by your statements? I did not send you a letter, and I did not attend you the other night.”
Ernst’s face fell for a moment, but he reached into his coat and pulled out a letter. He shook it open and handed it to Aksinya, “You sent this to me.”
Aksinya reached out and carefully took the letter without touching Ernst’s fingers. She scanned the letter. Then read it again, carefully.
Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna
Sacré Coeur Straße
8 January 1919
My Dearest Ernst
I hope I proved my love to you Wednesday night. I couldn’t imagine a more suitable man to take into my arms and reveal my every desire and delight. My answer to you on Monday is yes and yes and yes. I am already yours. You have my heart and soul and body. Please don’t be late because my love for you only exceeds my desire.
I love you with my body and soul,
Aksinya was suddenly breathing hard, “I did not write this letter. After the opera, I did not spend Wednesday night with you.”
Asmodeus laughter filled the parlor.
Aksinya stared at him, “What do you have to say about this demon?”
Asmodeus’ lips rose over his fangs, “Ask your handmaiden where she was on Wednesday night.”
Aksinya’s voice rose in volume, “Natalya, what do you know about this?”
Natalya cringed. Then she raised her eyes and met Aksinya’s angry glance, “I could not give you to this man. He would take away your virtue and your sorcery. So I gave him mine.”
Aksinya rushed forward and threw the letter at her, “Did you write this?”
Natalya jerked her head to the side and shook her head.
Asmodeus laughed again, “I wrote it. I wrote it in answer to the impassioned missive from this stupid young man.” He glared at Aksinya, “It is all true.”
Aksinya pressed her hands over her ears, “It is not true. None of it is true.”
Asmodeus wrinkled his nose at her, “This evening, you were about to answer Herr von Taaffe that you would wed him. You were planning to give up your virtue to him. You would have gladly lain in his arms and moaned out your every desire. You would have pleasured him already if you had the courage. You would have loved him just as he foolishly loves you. Do you think I could allow that?”
“Don’t you want me to sin?”
“I want you to do evil. That is your purpose and my purpose, and the evil you created in your wake is truly breathtaking. Can you not appreciate it? I would help you bed him now, but you realize he has already been taken.”
“What do you mean?”
“Didn’t you hear your lady-in-waiting? Ask her again. She already told you.”
Aksinya’s hand slipped to the side of her face, “Natalya, what did you do?”
Natalya wailed, “I could not let you do this thing. So I did it for you.”
Aksinya spat at her, “You did what for me?”
“I seduced him for you and gave him myself in your place.”
Ernst stepped beside Aksinya and grasped her arm, “What does she mean? I slept with you, Aksinya. I did not sleep with her. I saw your face. I touched your body. I heard your voice.”
Asmodeus cackled, “The Countess herself made the Lady Natalya appear like her. While she was in a drunken stupor, the Countess made her favorite enchantment. She made the Lady Natalya appear exactly like her and befuddled the Sister Margarethe’s thoughts. I sent the Lady Natalya to your bed. You did not sleep with the Countess.” He crossed his arms, “You had her maid.”
Aksinya shook off Ernst’s hand. She moved away from him—toward the demon, “You did this horrible thing?”
The demon sneered, “I didn’t do it—you did.”
Ernst pleaded, “I love you, Aksinya. I don’t love anyone else.”
“But you slept with her,” Aksinya thrust her finger at Natalya.
Ernst put his hands over his face, “I thought it was you. I only wanted you…”
Aksinya pushed him away, “You defiled her, and you defiled yourself. Do you think I would have slept so easily with you?”
Asmodeus voice was droll, “She would have.”
Aksinya barked at him, “Shut up, demon.” She whirled toward Ernst, “Get out, Herr von Taaffe. I don’t wish to see you again. I am not damaged goods, and I will not accept damaged goods.”
Asmodeus laughed again.
Aksinya ignored the demon. She scowled at Ernst, “Leave my house. You stain my honor by remaining here.”
Ernst ducked his head, “But, I didn’t know. I still love you. I want to marry you.”
“Do you think I could love you now? Do you think that after you took the virtue of my servant I could ever think of marrying you? I am not so low. You may have had her, but you will never have me now.”
Asmodeus gave a yawn, “The Lady Natalya had no virtue remaining to give. Others took it from her long before Herr von Taaffe. He was just one of many.”
Natalya bowed her head a little lower.
Aksinya stared at Natalya then jerked her eyes back to Ernst. She didn’t look in his eyes, “Herr von Taaffe, you disgrace my house. I already told you to leave.” She motioned violently toward him.
Ernst ducked his head and bowed, “I am sorry. I will leave. May I contact you later?”
Aksinya screamed at him, “Do not try to speak to me again. I will not entertain your letters or abide your presence again.”
“Very well. I do still love you. I am sorry.” He dropped to one knee.
Aksinya kicked at him and missed, “Take your apology and get out. Now!” She pulled back her hand and this time connected with the side of his face.
Ernst stood wide-eyed. He took one other glance at Aksinya then backed out of the door into the foyer. They heard the outer door open and close. The fire rose and fell among the coals.
Asmodeus inspected his claws, “He got off easy. If he had taken you, he would be dead. There is still the problem of your handmaiden.”
Aksinya whirled around. She stared at Natalya as though seeing her for the very first time. Natalya was so beautiful. She was so much more beautiful than Aksinya. Aksinya wondered why she hadn’t noticed before. No wonder Ernst or any man would choose Natalya over her. Aksinya moved slowly toward her lady-in-waiting, “Natalya, you took him from me. You took away the only man who ever loved me.”
Natalya crumpled in on herself, “I did it for you, mistress.”
Aksinya’s voice rose to a scream, “For me? For me? How could you do such an evil a thing for me?”
Asmodeus smacked his lips, “Actually, it was my idea.”
Natalya cried, “I didn’t want you to lose it.”
Aksinya’s voice rose again nearly inarticulate, “Lose what?”
Asmodeus smirked, “I told her that if a man took your virtue, you would lose your power to accomplish sorcery. The Lady Natalya knows how important that is to you.”
“But that was all a lie. I could have loved him.” Aksinya’s furious features were distraught.
Natalya raised her eyes, “But not any more. Now, you can do what you love the most. You can have what you love forever. I love you, mistress. I could not see you hurt like that.”
“Hurt? Hurt?” Aksinya’s eyes were wild she sought anything around her that she could take into her hand. She ran to the side of the fireplace and removed the poker from the implements there, “I will let you know how much this has hurt me.”
Aksinya struck Natalya’s side, and she fell to the floor on her face. Natalya put her hands over her head and Aksinya struck her shoulders again and again with the poker. Aksinya’s blows were so wild half of them hit the floor. Curses and cries flowed from Aksinya’s lips, and bright blood suddenly appeared on Natalya’s dress. At each blow, a breath burst from Natalya’s lips. Dark red stains drenched Natalya’s back, but the girl didn’t make any other sound. While Aksinya raised feral and shrill screams, blood began to streak the floor. Sister Margarethe rushed through the door. She grabbed Aksinya’s arms and wrestled the poker from her. Aksinya fell back. She cursed the nun with her remaining breath. After that Aksinya’s mouth only opened and closed without a sound.
Sister Margarethe knelt beside Natalya and hesitantly touched her. She glanced up at Aksinya, “What have you done? What have you done, Countess?” Tears streaked Sister Margarethe’s face. She cried out again, “Sister Rita.” She screamed, “Sister Rita, Sister Tria, come help me.” The novice sisters ran to the room and halted in the opening of the parlor. They glanced at Aksinya and at Natalya’s silent body beside Sister Margarethe. Their eyes widened, and they trembled. Aksinya, still filled with rage, rushed at them, and they scattered screaming.
Aksinya ran into the foyer and to the outer door. She tugged at the handle. It wouldn’t open at first. She screamed and ripped it open. She ran out into the freezing night. Behind her, she heard nothing but sobs. She knew nothing but cries, but these were no longer hers. They were the cries of the nuns who knelt beside the broken and bleeding Lady Natalya.
I hope you are beginning to see how tone works in a novel. I’ll give you a hint and then begin to piece out the answer. Look back at the beginnings of each of the scenes—or at least the beginnings I showed you. If you go back and review the entire novel, you will see the whole of my point about tone. Right now, I want you to get the feel of tone—later we will look at the how of the tone.
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