2 June 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 698, Character Interaction Difference, 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.
If ultimately the way an author handles character interaction is the main component of style what does this mean exactly? Let’s look at history a little bit. Go back to the beginning of the novel in English—basically the Victorian era. Think about love and marriage in this time. It should not be surprising that women led the revolution in the development of the novel. The Tale of Genjii was written by a woman, after all. It should not seem odd that love and marriage and women writers drove the powerhouses of English fiction development. When it comes to two people in love, you can do just so much and most of that is dictated by culture and propriety. This is true today, in spite of what we would like to think. Even with culture and propriety, what you do with the characters has to do with style. So in the dance of culture, the characters make their dance—however, the author always has the capability to move the characters out of their culture and society. This is very risky—even today it is risky. I try to do it all the time. This is called an anti-cultural character, and writers have always said they liked to write about them all the time. An anti-cultural character is a style of character.
In fact, think about character types in the love department. You have aggressive females and reticent females. You have aggressive males and reticent males. You have characters of propriety and characters of mischief. You have characters of virtue and those without. Is this style? It can be. If a type of character becomes a staple for an author. For example look at ERB (Edgar Rice Burroughs). His heroes were similar and his heroines were similar. Many were culturally based on his times. Some of his characters were anti-cultural, but most were intercultural, and almost all were romantic virtuous characters. Now we are getting to the major point. Very few of ERB’s characters are pathetic—you aren’t supposed to feel sorry for them. They are fully romantic (bigger than life, not romance) with few telic flaws. This isn’t a problem necessarily—it’s just that Tarzan’s telic flaw is not internal, it is external. His telic flaw is he isn’t the nobleman on his throne that he is supposed to be. Otherwise, he’s pretty perfect. So there is another dividing point. Internal vs. external telic flaw. Already, we’ve noted: romantic, romance, pathetic, non-pathetic, internal telic flaw, external telic flaw, and these are character styles. Before, I noted characteristics of characters: aggressive, reticent, virtuous, immoral, propriety, and etc. Though I used the word type interchangeably, there is a difference between types or style of characters and characteristics of characters. There we are—styles of characters. Then comes interaction.
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