28 May 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 693, more Real World Ties, 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)
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.
The ties of a novel into the real world are a matter of style. I like real world ties. I want the places in a novel to be real, so I use the real world. Not to mention, the real world provides immediate and wonderful descriptions. If you use an actual restaurant, you have a name, a place, a description, a menu. Your characters can just go for a meal. The degree of descriptions can be great or small. I like the Arlo Guthrie Jr. method of description. At least do that. Even better, you can vary the degree and the reality based on your novel. Here is an example from the newest novel I’m writing. This is a first cut, but it shows how to use a real place in a novel.
Major Easom drove back down the path and to Church Street. It turned into the less auspicious B6034. They continued down it until they crossed Friend Lane and Boy Lane.
Shiggy clucked her tongue, “What peculiar names for a road: boy and friend. Perhaps the intersection should be boyfriend.”
Sorcha glared, “You’re not helping things, Shiggy.”
The Major turned left into the parking lot of a large old fashioned building that looked very much like an inn. The sign read: The Dukeries Lodge, Edwinstowe.
Shiggy put in, “It is an inn. A lodge.”
Captain Cross sounded hopeful, “You can get a room for the night. If you need one.”
Sorcha glowered, “It’s Christmas Eve. I’m certain they’re all booked up.”
Shiggy put up her hand, “Surely not all.” And Sorcha punched her arm.
Major Easom stopped at the front door. An attendant immediately opened Sorcha’s door. She moved to Shiggy’s just as the Captain opened Shiggy’s door. He stood staring at Shiggy much too long. Finally, Shiggy swung her feet around to exit and accidentally, intentionally kicked him. Captain Cross backed with an apology.
Sorcha nodded, “Very good, Shiggy. That’s just the way to handle things.”
Shiggy smiled and whispered, “I’d rather not hurt him.”
Sorcha tilted her head toward Shiggy, “Just show him who’s boss.”
Shiggy exited the automobile and put out her arm, “William.”
The Captain moved like a puppy to her side. She grasped his arm a little tighter than necessary, “Take me inside. It’s cold tonight.”
Major Easom handed the keys to the valet and moved around the back of the car to escort Sorcha. Sorcha took his arm. She was just in time to see Shiggy push William a little further from her and say, “You’re a bit too close, Mr. Cross.”
William apologized, “I’m sorry, Shiggy.”
Shiggy continued as they stepped up to the brightly lit round top oak framed door, “If you can’t behave yourself, I will insist that you address me as Ms. Tash.”
Sorcha stifled a laugh. Her little monster was learning a new trick.
They entered the lodge and Major Easom went to the restaurant front desk, “Good evening. You should have a private room for Mr. Easom and party.”
The matre de seemed a bit put out, but he nodded sagely, “Yes, sir. You are right on time.” The restaurant was bustling, and every table looked full. The matre de spoke to a young woman.
She stepped forward, “If you will please follow me.”
They followed the woman to a set of wide double doors. She opened them and led them inside. A round table sat next to a large radiator and an enormous white framed window. The view wasn’t that great, but Christmas lights and decorations outside lent a cheerful grace to the room and the exterior. The table was set for four and Champaign cooled in two gold buckets at either side. Crystal Champaign flutes and wine glasses sparkled on the table. A couple of waiters immediately came into the room.
Major Easom seated Sorcha next to the wall.
Captain Cross seemed like he wasn’t about to let go of Shiggy so she pinched him, “William, seat me this instant.”
The Captain rushed to seat her across from Sorcha. A waiter seated the Major to the right of Sorcha and another seated Captain Cross to Shiggy’s right. Captain Cross immediately shifted his seat closer to Shiggy. Shiggy poked his arm, “You have ruined the symmetry of the table, William. Move back to center a bit.”
Captain Cross complied instantly.
Shiggy smiled at Sorcha, and Sorcha gave her a hidden thumbs up.
The waiters right away popped open the Champaign and poured it. Their performance was a little eye-catching.
When they all held a flute of Champaign, Major Easom raised his glass, “To Christmas Eve and to these most gorgeous women who accepted our invitation this evening.”
Sorcha laughed, “You know we can’t drink to ourselves. Perhaps we should leave it at the evening and to our friendship.”
Major Easom turned toward her, “I’ll agree to that, but for both William and me, we must insist that we add growing and potentially broadening friendship.”
Sorcha raised her glass. They all touched their ringing glasses together, “Cheers.”
Major Easom continued, “We chose from the lodge’s special menu tonight. I hope you enjoy our selections.”
The first course came around. They started with salmon with dill and citrus. Then moved to wild mushroom soup.
Sorcha had to add, “I hope they didn’t pick the mushrooms in the dark.” She grinned at Shiggy.
Shiggy wiped her lips, “They don’t taste anything like morels.”
They both laughed.
The Major and Sorcha conversed very pleasantly. Captain Cross had barely said a word to Shiggy. When the fish course came around, cod Louis with leeks and cream sauce, she turned to the Captain, “William, you haven’t entertained me a wit this evening. Cat got your tongue?”
He sat a little straighter, “I’m sorry, Shiggy. I don’t know what’s got into me.”
“Am I so beautiful, you can’t take your eyes off me?”
“Well, what you said is absolutely true. I can’t seem to take my eyes off you. Tonight, you look ravishing.”
“I’m wearing he earrings you gave me. They are beautiful, and they match the rest of me.”
“William. Look at my face. The other parts are certainly off limits.”
He looked into her eyes.
Perhaps that was the wrong approach altogether. Shiggy took a bite of cod, “Your selections are excellent. I’ve also enjoyed the novels you recommended to me. I never read much science fiction before.”
His demeanor changed almost immediately.
Shiggy knew she hit on the correct approach.
He leaned toward her slightly, but didn’t neglect his meal, “Have you had much time to read?”
“Not as much as I would like, but I find Jack Vance interesting. And I’ve been reading some of the Asimov and Clarke. I think I’d like to read more Vance.”
“I could share my library with you.”
“Isn’t that a bit risky. You don’t know me that well.”
Captain Cross got an odd look on his face. His voice became a little more earnest, “I would very much like to get to know you better. I think I’m in love with you.”
Sorcha dropped her silver.
Shiggy choked on her cod.
Major Easom sat up, “Perhaps William such confessions could wait for a more private exchange.”
The Captain colored, “I’m sorry. I do apologize to the table. I didn’t intend to make such a candid statement. Not at the moment.”
A waiter ran from the side and replaced Sorcha’s silver. Shiggy took a clearing sip of Champaign. She waved her glass and said a little sadly, “I will ignore your statement at the moment, and I will not hold you to it at all.”
Sorcha glared at the Captain, “Keep those thoughts to yourself, William. I’ll not have such sentiments gumming up our evening no matter their source.”
The meat course was a slow braised steak. Major Easom ordered a red wine severed with it. The bottle came around and everyone pronounced it a perfect match with the meat. Major Easom added, “This is a specialty of the lodge. I couldn’t pass it up.”
Sorcha complemented him, “You did choose well. Exactly what I like. You seem to know my tastes well.”
“I’ve been observing them for a long time.”
Sorcha didn’t frown, “Yes, well I don’t want to hear any confessions quite yet either.”
Captain Cross tried again, “Shiggy, I did mean what I said about sharing my library. At the next opportunity, I’ll give you my address and password.”
Shiggy liked this kind of talk, “I’d like to see more of your recommendations, but books can’t be your only love.”
“I also enjoy hunting and shooting.”
“What type of shooting?”
“Pistols, rifles, and shotguns. We have a range for practice. Would you be interested?”
“Very much. I like to cycle to keep in shape, but I haven’t had much need or opportunity lately.”
Sorcha interjected, “It’s a bit cold for leisurely cycling, but perhaps we could add that to our schedule later.”
Major Easom took a sip of wine, “In the spring, perhaps we could take a cycling tour and picnic.”
Shiggy became exuberant, “I’d like that very much.”
Captain Cross smiled, “When you have some time, I’ll take you to our shooting range. Are you familiar with pistols and rifles?”
Sorcha tapped her glass with her fork and raised her eyebrows at Shiggy.
“Actually, I’m not very familiar at all, but it sounds exciting.”
The waiters cleared their plates and brought coffee and dessert. The dessert was Christmas pudding and a mince pie to finish.
When the meal was done, Major Easom leaned back with his cup of coffee, “I found that very good. Should I order another round of Champaign?”
Shiggy bounced, “Oh yes. Please.”
Sorcha chuckled, “I should check Shiggy’s blood-alcohol levels first.”
Shiggy slouched, “I’m not too woozy.”
Captain Cross asked, “Are you fit enough to dance?”
Shiggy sat up quickly, “Where is the dancing. I’d love to, and it’s been part of my training.”
“Shiggy,” Sorcha warned.
Shiggy sucked her lips, “That is to say, I’ve been taking instruction in dance.”
Captain Cross stood, “I’d very much like you to dance with me, Shiggy.”
Sorcha leaned forward and wrinkled her brow, “I’m sure you would.”
The Captain turned toward her, “Ma’am?”
“Go ahead and dance. Come Dustin. I want to dance too, and I need to keep an eye on Shiggy.”
What I didn’t tell you is that Shiggy has been affected by fairy glamour. The poor Captain can’t keep his eyes off her for that reason. They all go to a real restaurant in a real place. The actual time is 2025, so the restaurant may or may not really be there at the time. In any case, the menu is real although I fixed it a little. I took their Christmas Eve set menu and made it a little more expansive. The reason is that the characters are wealthy and sophisticated, Major Easom can fix up a dinner as he and I would do it for a very special set of ladies. Which Sorcha and Shiggy are in the novel. The Major and the Captain are wooing the ladies, if you couldn’t tell. This method of tying a novel into the real world is what I recommend, but it is a matter of style.
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