24 April 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 659, Example 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
I’ll give you an example of conversation from one of my as yet unpublished novels. This is from Children of Light and Darkness, which is one of the Ancient Light novels. Let me give you the scene, and we’ll discuss it. Sveta and Klava are in the fifth year and 10 years old—just for reference.
Kathrin thought afternoon tea was a delightful idea. She helped Sveta and Klava write invitations on fancy cards. Sveta and Klava handed them to Susan and Clare on Tuesday. Susan and Clare brought their acceptance cards the next day. On Friday, after school, Susan and Clare with their mothers arrived in front of Rosewood House.
Mrs. Worth glanced at her daughter, Susan, “Are you certain this is the right address, dear? I thought your friends were poor and disabled.”
Mrs. Keigwin, Clare’s mother, stared at Mrs. Worth, “Well, this isn’t what I expected at all.”
They smiled and headed up the walk to the front door. Sveta and Klava saw them coming. They had been waiting in the front window of the study for almost thirty minutes. They rushed past Herbert and down the walk, “Hi, Susan. Hello, Clare.” The girls all giggled.
Susan pointed to her mother, “Mother, may I introduce Sveta and Klava to you? Sveta and Klava, this is my mother, Mrs. Worth.”
“How do you do, Mrs. Worth?” pronounced Sveta and Klava almost together. They curtsied and shook her hand.
Clare introduced her mother to them. Sveta took Susan’s hand and Klava, Clare’s and led them up to the house. Herbert opened the door with a broad smile, “Good afternoon, Ladies.” He helped Mrs. Worth and Susan and Mrs. Keigwin and Clare with their coats. Then, he glanced at Sveta and Klava, “Miss Sveta, Miss Klava, should I announce our guests or will you do that yourselves?”
“We will, Herbert. Come on.” They skipped to the foyer and were about to head toward the bright sunroom at the back of the house.”
Kathrin and Tilly had heard Herbert’s door signal and waited in the foyer. Kathrin stepped forward and Sveta and Klava took her hands. Klava spoke for them both, “Mother, may we introduce you to Mrs. Worth and Mrs. Keigwin?” Kathrin nodded and shook their hands, “Good afternoon, Mrs. Worth and Mrs. Keigwin. I am Kathrin McClellan.”
Mrs. Worth was surprised, “You are these girls’ mother?”
Kathrin smiled, “I am.”
“Mother,” continued Klava, “May we introduce, our friends Susan and Clare?”
Kathrin shook the girls’ hands.
Kathrin glanced at Klava and Sveta, “Please don’t forget Aunt Tilly.”
Klava opened her mouth and rushed to Tilly’s side, “I’m sorry, Aunt Tilly.” She pulled Tilly forward, “Aunt Tilly, may I introduce Mrs. Worth and Mrs. Keigwin and our friends Susan and Clare?”
“Hello,” Tilly shook their hands, “I am Tilly Lyons. I am so glad to meet you.”
Kathrin waved them forward, “Let’s go to the sunroom. The girls have planned a very nice tea.”
They all moved to the sunroom. Mrs. Worth and Mrs. Keigwin’s eyes were everywhere. They had expected a hovel, at best a cottage. In the sunroom, Klava and Sveta, assisted by Mrs. Lamport and Herbert served tea.
“We made the biscuits ourselves,” bragged Klava, “It’s our Gram’s recipe.”
After tea, Sveta and Klava took Susan and Clare up to their room to play. Their mothers and Tilly remained in the sunroom.
When the girls left, Mrs. Worth put her hand on Kathrin’s, “Miss McClellan, I am so glad you invited us to tea. And I do apologize that I have not had you and your wonderful girls over after school.”
“I second that,” Mrs. Keigwin stated, “We had no idea.”
Kathrin frowned, “I hope Klava and Sveta didn’t leave you with a bad impression before.”
“Not at all. Not at all, Miss. McClellan,” Mrs. Keigwin continued, “I am ashamed to admit, I wasn’t sure I could handle your girls at my house. I had heard so much that was rumor. I think those rumors are wrong.”
“You just can’t trust everything you hear.” Mrs. Worth went on.
“What did you hear?”
“Oh, that Klava and Sveta were poor and didn’t have much to eat. Susan said they were on a nutrition watch at the school.”
“A nutrition watch?” laughed Kathrin.
“Well, what else are people to think? We knew they were from a missionary family and that you are still a Miss, we naturally assumed…”
“You assumed they didn’t have much.”
“And they do have…you know…disabilities. Although I am not sure they act disabled at all.”
Kathrin spoke very clearly, “They don’t imagine that they are disabled at all.”
“Oh, I see.”
The ladies continued in other conversation for a while longer. Then it was time to go. Sveta and Klava said a nice farewell to Susan and Clare and their mothers. When they had gone, Kathrin and Tilly broke out in uncontrolled laughter. Klava and Sveta couldn’t figure out what was so funny.
This is the kind of conversation that I really enjoy writing and reading. The tension and release in the scene is all about conversation. The visitor expect to find a hovel and poverty. They find wealth and capability. The conversation brings this out. Once we gain the trust of the characters, we can learn even more. In this way, the readers learn about how Sveta and Klava are viewed in their school and by the students and their parents. Without conversation, the author could tell you, but that would be telling—don’t tell.
Plus, what could be more interesting than hearing from others what you might even already know. That is, repetition that expands on knowledge or clarifies knowledge between characters or readers is one means of entertainment. Too much may be too much, but expansion of knowledge and corroboration of information can be incredibly entertaining, but only when delivered through conversation. Conversation is the most powerful means of expressing ideas in any novel. The reliance on it is a part of style, but I advise using it as much as possible.
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