7 April 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 642, Prepositions English Syntax/re-arrangement of Words in a Sentence Tools for Developing 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.
If tone is the feel of the writing, the author must start first with what tone he wants to convey.
The first method of developing tone is through scene setting–the second method is through tension and release. Let’s look at the specific tools used to create tone in tension and release (these can also be used in the scene setting). I like the list from the question—it is nearly exhaustive: 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. Why don’t we look at each of these tools?
Syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence as tools to develop tone. What makes English so versatile and so difficult as a language are the many verb forms that allow subtle changes in the syntax and meaning of the sentences. We looked at verb tense, auxiliary verbs including the do form, and conjunctions. The next part of grammar we need to look at are prepositions.
Prepositions are a fundamental part of grammar. They are a word or group of words that is used with a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to show direction, location, or time, or to introduce an object. In terms of syntax, the use of a proposition in a prepositional phrase is really what I am writing about—the noun phrase above. Prepositional phrases of all types generally act as adjectives or adverbs. What they allow you to do is to combine ideas into a single phrase, clause, or sentence. This provides a means of connecting ideas related to the subject (nominative), object (accusative), dative, or genitive noun. It also allows the connection of ideas related to the verb. Here are some examples. I borrowed them from the your dictionary site.
- The book with the tattered cover has been read many times.
- All the passengers aboard the runaway train were frightened.
- The present inside the big box is mine.
- Our boss put out a memo regarding the new rule.
- The clues within the first few chapters will lead to the murderer.
Without a preposition, here is how we would have to write these.
The book with the tattered cover has been read many times. Becomes: The book has a tattered cover—it has been read many times. Or you could write: The book has a tattered cover, because it has been read many times. To make it the proper tense for a novel, we would write: The book had a tattered cover, because it had been read many times. Let’s try the next.
All the passengers aboard the runaway train were frightened. Could become: All the passengers were frightened—the train was a runaway. We could also write: All the passengers were frightened, because the train was a runaway. Do you note the subtle changes of meaning and tone between the statements? There are many ways you can write these statements with and without prepositions. Prepositions allow longer and wordier sentences. These can significantly affect the pacing and tone of the writing. Or it might be better to write, these can subtly affect the tone and significantly affect the pacing. Still pacing and tone are related.
There are about 150 prepositions in English. This is many more than most other languages.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic