31 May 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 696, still more Punctuation, 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.
And here we are, the use of the ellipsis, conjunctions, and the double dash becomes a question of style. Okay, a conjunction is not a punctuation, but it drives a punctuation. We are talking about the use of either an ellipsis, a conjugation, or an em-dash in conversation. The question is when, and how is this style?
You would always use the ellipsis if the speaker did not complete a thought or if the speaker is cut off. For example:
Jack made a gesture, “Well, you can just go to …”
Jack smiled, “I love…”
Jane cut him off, “We’ll have none of that.”
On the other hand, what you do with these are style:
Jack made a gesture, “Well, you can just go to…to h-e-double toothpicks.”
Jack made a gesture, “Well, you can just go to–to h-e-double toothpicks.”
How much of a pause do you want? In this case an ellipsis gives a longer pause—in my mind, that’s better for the punchline.
How about a little simpler case,
Jane took a sip of tea, “Really, I don’t know what you are thinking about—are you really thinking at all?”
Jane took a sip of tea, “Really, I don’t know what you are thinking about…are you really thinking at all?”
Jane took a sip of tea, “Really, I don’t know what you are thinking about. Are you really thinking at all?”
My editor would pick the last case. A little simpler,
Jack looked up from his cards, “I should fold, but I’m not.”
Jack looked up from his cards, “I should fold… I’m not.”
Jack looked up from his cards, “I should fold—I’m not.”
Again, how much of a pause do you want in the conversation? This isn’t really a question of the writing as much as it is how the conversation sounds out loud.
This is likely too much on this very simple area of style, but I think it’s interesting. My prepublication readers and my editors always get into the writing and fix the egregious problems for me. I’m aiming for feel and tone in the writing. They usually help keep me on the straight and narrow. Ha ha.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic