9 April 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 644, the Inflections of the Silent or Spoken Voice 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?
I feel refreshed. I had the chance to review some very basic grammar ideas with you, and at the same time, we looked at tone. Tone in these cases is very subtle and this type of tone development doesn’t lend itself well to cut and dried rules. More indicative of tone is the setting and the tension and release. Tension and release is really a function of pacing—thus anything that affects pacing affects tone. I have looked at tone in regards to conversation, but the next subject gets directly to the heart of the matter. That is, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice as tools to develop tone.
Let’s look at voice in writing. When I write voice, I don’t mean the writer’s voice that is style. I am taking the point of the tool for tone. This tool for tone, I take to be the voice of the speaker. In other words, let’s look at point of view—that is the voice of the speaker and how the voice or point of view (POV) of the speaker affects tone. We will also look at the silent or spoken voice in terms of POV and its use in the development of tone.
First, POV, the author has three basic choices in POV and then a bunch within those. The POV are first, second, and third person. First person is all the rage, I don’t like to write in it, and I don’t advise writing in it. One of my novels does start in first person for very specific reasons I’ve explained before. The problems with first person is there is only close with no intermediate POV. The POV can only come from one view. The author has too much desire and incentive to tell and not show. I think most first person novels should never have been written in the first person, and I don’t think they have any legs (they won’t last long). Daniel Defoe was the last great English writer to write in first person and he basically invented the novel in English—he had an excuse.
Only use the first person when you have a character that is the focus of world-wide events and plot. The theme and storyline must completely wrap around such a character. They must be the end of everything in the novel.
Second person—don’t even think about it. I have heard of a few experimental novels written in the second person, but I can’t remember them—no one remembers them. Second person has many of the same problems of the first person, but it is just not a very useful POV for writing a novel.
Third person is where it is. Third person has the additional flexibility to allow close, not so close, far, and omniscient POV. Here’s where things get really fun. Example time:
Close: He touched her hand.
Not so close: The waiter saw him touch her hand.
Far: The bartender looked up and thought he saw him touch her hand.
Omniscient: Everyone knew he touched her hand.
Some writers and teachers of writing may define other POV within these or beyond these. The point is that in third person, I can write from many POV. Some better than others, but all affecting tone and conversation—the silent and spoken voice in the writing.
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