Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 690, Style and Character Revelation, Style Q and A

25 May 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 690, Style and Character Revelation, 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, 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 SiEssie is my 26th novel.

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 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 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

Quick digression: Back in the USA for the holidays.

Character revelation comes directly out of the theme. The theme and subthemes are pure elements of the writer’s style. This makes the theme and the subthemes very important, however, since the character revelation comes out of the theme, the author must pay very careful attention to this element of the novel.

To reveal a character or characters, obviously, the writer must know the characters. First and foremost, who is the protagonist? Likewise, who is the protagonist’s helper and who is the antagonist? What is the protagonist’s telic flaw? What do these characters look like? What do they think like? What are their names? Who are they? Where were they born? This is just basic information the author must develop outside the novel about the main characters (and perhaps about some other major characters). The development doesn’t happen in the novel. The development of a character is what the author does to build a character from nothing to whoever that characters happens to be. The development of a character is only a function of style if the fundamental part of the character is a function of the writer’s theme or subtheme style. For example, I write about the supernatural hidden in the modern world. My major characters tend to have some claim or touch or association with the supernatural. An author who writes about Wall Street might create characters who are bankers or stockbrokers and who are acutely aware and knowledgeable about money.

The author develops a complete character then reveals the character(s) in the novel.  The development of a character may fit within the theme or subtheme style of an author, but the telic flaw of the protagonist always is directly related to the theme. If you remember, I wrote, the author’s style is directly related to the subthemes and somewhat related to the theme. The tie of the theme to the style is important. The theme is directly tied to the telic flaw of the protagonist. The climax of the theme must resolve the telic flaw. By this reasoning, the theme style of the author and the revelation of the protagonist go hand in hand. I wrote on a somewhat simplistic note before, an action based writer will have an action based resolution and a less action based author might have a more intellection resolution.

Remember, all climax and climax resolutions are action based. You can’t really have a conversation based climax and resolution. You can, but few will like your novel. For now, just note climax means action. This should help you with your climax. The means of the resolution of the climax will vary with style. This means the approach to the climax must vary with style. Therefore, in my novel Hestia, the characters go through all kinds of intellectual study, conversation, and reasoning to discover the place where the obvious climax must occur. The characters don’t know they are going to a climax—they perceive they are resolving a mystery. They are solving a mystery. The solution brings them in conflict with the antagonist of the novel. Any reader and writer should expect this. The climax is action based—they must confront the antagonist. Action occurs, but with the resolution comes conversation and action to complete and resolve the telic flaw of the protagonist, the climax of the novel, the mystery in the novel, and etc. Thus, you can directly see my style in the character revelation, theme, and climax of the novel. You should, they are all interrelated.

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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