23 April 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 658, About Conversation, Style 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 editing many of my novels using comments from my primary reader. I’m on Children of Light and Darkness at the moment.
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 15. 15. Style
Woah—style is huge. I just spent more than six months defining style from almost every angle I could imagine. Here are the elements I found for an author’s style.
1. Novel based style
a. Writing focus
c. Scene development
d. Word use
g. Use of figures of speech
i. Character revelation
k. Real world ties
m. Character interaction
2. Scene based style
c. Tension and release development
e. Theme development
What you do with conversation is an immense part of style. You shouldn’t try to do everything with conversation, but it might be possible. As an exercise, you might try to write an entire story or scene using only conversation. You can put action, tags, gestures, description, everything into conversation. For example,
“Good afternoon Bill. The crab trees look gorgeous with their autumn colors—don’t they?”
“Yes, yes, they do George. I particularly like the way the fruit still dangles from the branches.”
“Let me pick up your keys for you. That’s not a very good place to drop them…”
“Especially, if you’re too stiff in the knees to pick them up again.”
“Here they are, Bill. Ah, I cut myself on your knife.”
“Sorry, it must have snapped open. Let me look at it—I am a doctor.”
And so on…not too exciting, but you can write like this. I’d recommend not, but everything is pure showing. So, everything expressed in conversation is too much. Nothing in conversation is bad storytelling. Nothing in conversation means the novel is not really about humans. I do know an author who wrote about dogs, but I didn’t read her works, so I don’t know if the dogs spoke. My point is this, the real difference between humans and animals or anything else is their intelligence and their ability to converse. Any novel about humans or human-like beings must include some type of conversation. Even those who are mute converse using some type of language (sign, writing, or otherwise.)
So every novel should include some degree of conversation. I want my novels conversation based. I want the focus of the novel to be conversation, and the plot, tension and release, and theme to come through the conversation.
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