Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 664, more Input, Outline Scene Development, Style Q and A

29 April 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 664, more Input, Outline Scene Development, 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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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 FreedomEscape is my 25th novel.

 Escape Cover proposal sm
Cover Proposal

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 editing 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 development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:

  1. Historical extrapolation
  2. Technological extrapolation
  3. 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.

  1. Conflict/tension between characters
  2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
  3. Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
  4. Evolving vs static character
  5. Language and style
  6. Verbal, gesture, action
  7. Words employed
  8. Sentence length
  9. Complexity
  10. Type of grammar
  11. Diction
  12. Field of reference or allusion
  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.
  14. Mannerism suggested by speech
  15. Style
  16. 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
b.  Conversations
c.  Scene development
d.  Word use
e.  Foreshadowing
f.  Analogies
g.  Use of figures of speech
h.  Subthemes
i.  Character revelation
j.  Historicity
k.  Real world ties
l.  Punctuation
m.  Character interaction

2.  Scene based style

a. Time
b.  Setting
c.  Tension and release development
d.  Revelation
e.  Theme development
f.  POV

When I write about scenes, I mean, a sequence of continuous action in a novel. This is the smallest element of a novel.

My method for scene development will accommodate the focus and style of any author, but it is a method. Here is my method for scene development.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

The question then is what does style have to do with the scene input? The answer is everything and nothing. If you note that the subject matter, tone, language use, complexity, and focus of the novel, just to name a few, are all elements of the writer’s style, then the input of the scene(s) comes directly out of the subject matter and indirectly out of the other elements.

Directly is what we should really focus on. The point here is to aid you in determining the initial scene input. The input for every other scene in the novel becomes predetermined by the previous scene output, but the initial scene is the first and the most difficult. It also requires the greatest creativity.

What is the focus of your writing—that is, from the standpoint of your subject matter? For example, I write both science fiction and historical fiction (with a twist). My science fiction is usually very intimate and culturally focused. (I realize I’ve used focus in two senses: focus of the writing and focus of the subject matter). When I say culturally focused, I mean, I write science fiction that is about the culture of future societies. I always dwell on cultures that are uniquely different than our own and from other normative cultures. For example, my published science fiction is based on a feudalesc Anglo-Saxon, honor-based culture in space. My yet unpublished science fiction series is about a commercially based space trader culture in space. My yet unpublished novel, Escape from Freedom, is about an extreme socialistic/fascistic culture on a colonial planet.

My historical fiction is likewise based in culture, but culture in ways most people don’t imagine it. I take fringe elements of a culture and bring them to life. For example, in Essie, I take the idea of the Aos Si, a kind of shape-shifting British fairy creature and build an entire culture and existence based on this creature and modern history. In the real world of my novel, the Aos Si is a potent power that has meaning in the structure of the British Isles in spite of what anyone might imagine about the world.

So, I ask again, what is the focus of the subject matter of your writing? Mine is unique cultures and beings (in historical fiction) and unique cultures (in science fiction). Therefore, when I design an input to my novels, this is where I begin.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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