11 April 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 646, Rule 4 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?
The inflections of the silent or spoken voice as tools to develop tone. The silent or spoken voice has two levels of play in writing. The first is conversation and the second is narration. When I write “narration” I don’t mean the omniscient voice of the narrator. Narration is everything that isn’t conversation. I need to clarify because I just read a writing book that defines narration as the voice of the author.
In conversation, the silent and spoken voice means times when characters are speaking and times when they are not.
In narrative, the silent and spoken voice means the times when certain obvious or not so obvious descriptions or statements are not made.
In almost every case, the author needs to show the readers what they would and could see, hear, feel, smell, and taste on the stage of the book—this is showing as opposed to telling. On the other hand, many times the author will want to leave things off stage. This goes to my fourth rule of writing: 4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
Many things will naturally remain off the stage (out of view). For example, the side events and side stories that are unnecessary for the plot or theme of the novel. In a novel, side characters Jack and Jane may be involved in a torrid affair, but all the events related to that affair (unless they bear on the plot or theme of the novel) should remain off stage and not make it into the novel. If their story is so exciting and entertaining, the author should write another novel about them.
In any novel, there are many things (incidents, events, ideas, thoughts, conversations, etc.) the author may want to keep off stage. Remember this, if it is obvious on the stage of the writing, the author should describe it—as necessary. I already gave an example from Hemingway where this would reduce the power of the story. There are many such incidents. If you remember the pacing and concepts of tension and release, you will know what to describe and what to exclude. You will also understand that nothing is better than a punchline (release). Anything you add beyond the punchline (the release) should be completely unnecessary.
To continue our discussion, I want to leave up the levels of the third person POV below.
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.
So, a new rule of writing—the author may always describe what the audience (readers) can see. Perhaps I should refine this rule a little. This is true in the narrative, but conversation is a little different.
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