1 June 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 697, Character Interaction, 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.
Character interaction is ultimately the entirety of style and takes into account all the other ideas in novel-based style. It also has to do with scene-based style, but I think you will see eventually how everything works together.
If a novel is ultimately the revelation of a character or characters, then character interaction is what a novel is all about. When I write, character interaction, I mean the interaction of the character with their environment, stuff, people, the world in general, and everything else a character can do. This is fundamentally the novel. There are those sticky details we’ve discussed, but those are just details in the bigger sense.
How the writer reveals their character or characters is ultimately the style of the author. Or said in another fashion, the author’s style is all about how the author shows his characters to the world. Every author has a unique and varied style. Every author chooses to write or is compelled to write in a certain fashion. I don’t think much about my style. I think about how I am going to reveal my characters. I do this through creative elements. I try to determine what elements will show off my characters to best effect and then I put them into those situations.
For example, I’m writing a novel at this moment about spies. Because of my background, I write a lot about spies . Admittedly, you would have to build up to the situation, but I determined that a few dating events would show off my characters exactly as I wanted my readers to see them. I placed them in fine restaurants with food, drink, and conversation. Between spies this can be a problem, so I let them dance. Less problems until someone falls in love.
That’s the point, I have spies falling in love. This isn’t that odd an idea, but the way it is handled in the novel is unusual as well as convoluted due to the individuals. And there you have it. The characters’ actions drive the oddity of the novel, but I chose them and developed them and revealed them. My revelation will be very different from any other author’s, and that is the definition of style.
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