Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 673, Creative Elements in Tension and Release, Outline Scene Development, Style Q and A

8 May 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 673, Creative Elements in Tension and Release, 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)

I’m writing from Paris on another short world tour.

I guess I’m writing in the area of scene based style, but we’ll just hit it again in the future. Creative elements become the basis for the tension and release in a scene. These are the ideas that make the scene work and be entertaining. Tension and release is simply the climax of the scene. Note, however, a scene can be filled with small climaxes. You can have more than one tension and release cycle in a scene. I call it a cycle because it doesn’t necessarily begin at the beginning of a scene and end at the end—tension and release cycles can be acting throughout a scene and even through multiple scenes. Tension and release cycles can overlap and compliment one another.

The tension begins with the introduction of a creative element—an event occurs. Once one character reacts to the event, the tension builds. Here is an example:

The butler stepped to the side, “Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Long, may I present Mr. George Mardling and his niece Ms. Heidi Mardling.”

Mrs. Long immediately stepped forward and put her hand out to Heidi. She maintained a very bright smile on her face. She took Heidi’s hand in hers and her eyes went wide. Heidi instantly released Mrs. Long’s hand. Mrs. Long became breathless. She stammered a little, “Good evening. I’m Sveta Long.”   <The tension has begun building>

Heidi made a deep curtsy, “Thank you very much, Mrs. Long for inviting us to your party.”

Sveta reached out to Heidi again. Heidi stepped back, but Sveta connected with Heidi’s shoulder. Sveta froze, and her head came up. She frowned and stammered again, “You’re very welcome. Make yourself comfortable in our home,” but her face clearly said exactly the opposite.

Heidi glanced in Sveta’s eyes, then quickly turned her head away, “What I really need is a glass of sweet wine.”

Sveta looked as if she was about to say something, but she lowered her head and stepped back.

Heidi sighed.

Daniel’s lips twitched, “I’m not sure what is going on, exactly.” He grabbed George’s hand and shook it, “Good to see you back in England, George.”

George forced a smile, “I’m glad to be back. I’m looking for a new assignment as soon as possible.”

Daniel clapped George on the shoulder, “I really hoped to keep you here in London for a while. I have some new recruits and training for you to supervise.”

George grimaced, “Sounds long term. I guess we’ll make do.”

“We’ll?”

“Heidi and I.”

Daniel frowned and put his head back, “Don’t tell me you are sharing your flat with this young woman.”

Heidi blinked, “I am happy to have a place to stay while I’m visiting in London.”

Sveta stepped forward, “No, you should stay here. As I understand, the single flats the organization is assigning now are barely suitable for one—I can’t imagine a young woman having to put up with such close quarters…”

Heidi glared at Sveta, “I would feel completely out of place anywhere else.”

Sveta glared back, “I insist.”

“I equally insist and respectfully decline—Mr. Mardling is my guardian in London. It would be unthinkable for me to stay anywhere else.”

Sveta narrowed her eyes at Heidi and Heidi squinted back at Sveta.

Daniel stepped between them, “Sveta, dear, I’m certain I can assign George a larger flat.”

Sveta let out her breath. She visibly calmed, “Yes… I’m sure we can work things out. Are you certain, Heidi, you don’t want to spend your time here until we can get George a larger place.”

Heidi didn’t back down. She made a slicing motion with her hand, “I will not.”

Sveta forced a smile, “Very well. But, I do think you are a bit young to drink wine.”

At that moment, a maid carrying a platter of filled wine glasses walked by. Heidi gracefully plucked a glass off the platter. She downed the whole glass in a swallow and turned Sveta a deep frown, “I do not like dry white wines. Do you have something more acceptable to my palate?”

Sveta’s eyes bulged. She took a step toward Heidi and appeared like she was about to leap. Heidi crouched slightly.

Daniel grasped Sveta’s arm, and she came to herself.

George raised his hands, “Heidi is much older than she looks. We just came from Poland where there are no age limits for drinking alcohol. She usually has a glass or two every evening.”

Sveta narrowed her eyes again, “I see. Heidi,” she almost spat the name, “You may drink as much as you desire in my house. Harold, please bring up a sweet German Riesling for Ms. Mardling.”

Heidi raised her head high, “An auslese, if you have it.”

Harold, the butler, bowed, “Yes, ma’am.”

Heidi glanced at Sveta from the sides of her eyes, “Thank you again for your hospitality.”

Daniel pulled Sveta back a step. Heidi grasped George by the hand and led him toward the buffet tables.

You can see in this example, the tension and release cycle begins with the introduction. The tension itself begins to build with the touch. The reader of the novel knows Heidi is a vampire—they don’t know yet that Sveta is a similar being. The touch begins the tension and the tension continues to build until the characters are separated. There is no full release from the tension. A few other creative elements are used to sustain and build the tension. What about style?

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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