26 May 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 691, Historicity, 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.
I’d like to put historicity in a different pot entirely, but you can’t. I want the historicity of my novels to be perfect, spot on, accurate down to the date, time, event, and person. Many, if not most authors are not that way. Most historical fiction is like historical movies. You watch a sixties based historical movie and the characters have amazing electronics that weren’t even conceived in the 1960s. You see a 19th Century movie and hear people talking about ideas that weren’t imagined by anyone at the time. Reality isn’t much like the movies or popular writing imagines it. That’s cool for entertainment purposes, but rotten for reality. I want reality in my fiction—especially my historical fiction.
It’s the same idea in science fiction. This is why I don’t like any of Star Trek or Star Wars from a science fiction standpoint. Sure they’re both okay science fantasy, but not science fiction—there is more science in a sixth grader’s science fair project than in all of the Star Wars or Star Trek movies. Plus there’s more imagination in a four year olds refrigerator painting than in most of the Star stuff. The problem with both of these is the writers—they aren’t scientists and they don’t understand science, but I’m writing about historicity at the moment.
Science is to science fiction as historicity is to historical fiction. Some authors in science fiction ignore the science, but still put together great novels. Likewise, some, if not many historical fiction authors ignore the history to write great novels. I don’t want to call either “great” but hey, who let a little science or history get in the way of a good story.
The point is historicity is a point of style. You can write a historical fiction novel and be all messed up historically—if you are obscure enough, no one may notice. On the other hand, you can write a historical fiction novel that is as real as the times it includes. Such a work is a true piece of art. Such a novel gives your readers accurate information while entertaining them. This is a function of style in a historical fiction novel. I really wish it weren’t.
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