16 June 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 712, Scene Based Style, Setting Time, 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: In California for aircraft Demos.
Scene based style is moving down into the weeds of the novel. So far, I’ve looked at the higher level style of the novel itself. Now let’s look at the elements of style in the writing.
Time is one of most neglected settings in the scene setting. If you look at rules for writing 4a.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
I like to set the time and place at the beginning of every chapter. I started this at the recommendation of my editor with the soon to be published Sister of Light. It should continue with the new release of Aegypt and publication of Sister of Darkness. These three novels are also supposed to be released as a single three in one volume. Here is the example I gave you yesterday:
Operation Start Point, Niger, February 2025
This is a good start, but not sufficient for fully setting the time and the place. I recommend setting every scene. In fact, this is both my style and the technique I recommend for all fiction writing and writers. The first paragraph(s) of the scene should be the setting. The author should describe what the readers can see, hear, taste, smell and feel on the stage of the novel. Only show what the characters can see or that is obvious in the time. Therefore, here is an example from my newest novel.
In the morning, Shiggy rose at 0500. She was more than prepared by 0545. Sorcha didn’t look for her until five til the hour. At that time, Sorcha knocked on the Captain’s room side then the Major’s. A rap soon came at their door. Sorcha looked out. She opened the door. Captain Cross stood in front facing away from them. He wore light slacks and a polo shirt. He made a signal behind his back. Sorcha stepped out of the room closely followed by Shiggy. The Captain led them down to the lobby. He left the ladies, and Shiggy and Sorcha stood unintentionally attracting attention, while he went outside to speak to a driver.
In this example, the place is Cairo and a specific hotel. The place hasn’t changed, the time has. This is the setting for this scene. The time is very specific and the description is very specific. I’ll write about the elements of style in this tomorrow. I’ll compare this with my novel Aegypt.
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