17 June 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 713, Scene Based Style, Style in 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 itself.
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.
Set every scene. This is my style and my technique. I recommend this for all fiction writing. The style of such a setting comes out of the approach to the setting. This is the setting for a scene from my newest novel with the initial title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This is a simple scene setting and presumes the date and season as well as the location from the previous scene and scenes. The exact point is the initial expression of the time and the place.
In the morning, the alarm rang early, and Shiggy didn’t seem to have any control over it. The noise stopped when she got off the bed. She showered, and just as she stepped out of the water closet, Sorcha appeared at the head of her stairs, “Pick a matching set of underclothing and cover them with a sweater and miniskirt. The same type of mini as yesterday. We’re still training.”
Here is an example of a similar scene setting from my published novel Aegypt.
At noon, Paul and his weary line of Legionnaires reached the road, a dirt track that crisscrossed the steep side of the plateau all the way to the summit. Beside them, the Chott rose to the rock of the plateau, then spread out to the far eastern horizon. If the dead lake ever hoped to reduce the sides of the plateau, those desires were broken long ago when the water had gone. The ancient inroads of the small dry landlocked sea were only preserved in caves, secret grottos, and saltscaled stone.
Compare the two scene settings. One is ornamented with metaphor and simile. The other is simple and simply descriptive. One is my style now, and the other is my earlier style. Not to say I wouldn’t mix and match them when necessary or the writing required it. I’ve just moved from a more ornamented and figure of speech filled style to a more direct style of writing. This is how style works in general. As an aside, some of my earlier readers like my older style and some like my newer style. I just want to entertain. Either style achieves this.
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