13 April 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 648, POV 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.
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.
I’m about to finish up with tone, and I want to complete the ideas of the spoken and unspoken voice and POV (Point of View). Tone have more to do with POV than with spoken and unspoken voice. Study the examples above. The POV determines absolutely how close the reader (and author) is to the protagonist (character). The POV specifically determines this. Tone in close is much different than tone in the omniscient POV.
I mentioned before, first and second person are always close—most of the time too close, because the author can’t ever back away. One of the great powers of the third person is that the POV can move from close to omniscient. The tone of close, like the example, is intimate. The tone of omniscient is stalker (so to speak). The gradients between intimate to public can be produced by the author.
Many, if not most authors don’t realize how the POV they use affects the tone of their writing. This is one of the reasons why your editor will complain and ask you to correct mixed POV in a scene. Generally, the POV shouldn’t change during a scene. There are some exceptions, but not many. I like to hold to a single POV for almost all of my novels. My only exceptions are usually scenes to provide information the readers might not otherwise have, but that I wish them to see. I also like to hold the tone close even in third person. With a close POV any movement out immediately creates a tone. That is, if the tone is close, and the author moves it out a bit, the feel becomes less intimate and less personal. This is a feel the author might wish to develop. It’s like a movie scene where the camera zooms out of close to less and less intimate. From a close up to a whole house or a detail to the whole. I have made these kinds of POV changes to affect feel in a novel.
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