19 May 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 684, more Use of Figures of Speech in Style, 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, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
I just started writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Trainee. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is something like this: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, the dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si. Essie is my 26th 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 finished editing Children of Light and Darkness and am now writing on my 27th novel, working title Claire.
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
Quick digression: Back in the USA for the holidays.
Let’s look at figures of speech and style.
a word or phrase used in a nonliteral sense to add rhetorical force to a spoken or written passage.
Can a writer use too many figures of speech? I’m not sure. Many writing books and help guides advise against the use of clichés. Yeah, dump the clichés, but real figures of speech are not clichés. A cliché is an overused figure of speech. If an author creates his own figures of speech, there is no problem with clichés at all. If you invent them, you can’t overuse anything. From this standpoint, an author can’t overuse figures of speech. Many authors don’t fully understand the ubiquitousness of figures of speech. I wrote about all the defined figures of speech in English on my other blog and listed more than a year’s-worth of figures of speech. That’s a lot of figures of speech.
Figures of speech are not always what we think they are. They fill speech, and they fill writing. The power of the writer comes from the identification and use of figures of speech. You don’t need to know all the types or identify all the types of figures of speech, you only need to be able to use them. The more you use them, the more powerful your writing—that is a guarantee. Admittedly, it takes more than figures of speech to write well, but usually those who have the mental capacity to use using figures of speech, also write well.
Figures of speech add power to writing. The style comes from the use of this power in the writing. As I mentioned, the amount and the types are questions of style. Writers like Ray Bradbury, who use metaphor and simile in great power, use figures of speech as a function of their style. Some writers don’t use metaphor and simile to a great degree, but use other types of figures of speech. The types and amount determine style.
I use a moderate degree of metaphor and simile, but my forte is not in these types of figures of speech. I like allegory, allusion, and reference. I use them extensively. I also like paradox and logical conundrum. These are also figures of speech.
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