19 June 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 715, Scene Based Style, more Setting, 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.
Look at my 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.
The scene setting for the initial scene is likely the first thing your readers will read in your novel. This is a big deal. What is the setting? This is the first question you must answer as a writer. Let’s put it this way. When a person picks up your novel, you want to orient them into the novel as soon as possible. Have you read any of those novels where you have no clue where, when, who, or what is going on? I have. I usually dump them immediately. I’m reading for entertainment and enjoyment not for work. Look at the first paragraph of your novel and see where you and your readers are. Here are some examples. I haven’t shared this one yet. This is the initial paragraph from my newest novel, Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. That’s the working title at this point.
Shiggaion Tash woke with a start. Her eyes flew open. Her mouth tasted vile like bile and chemicals. She tried to swallow the taste away, but her throat felt dry. Bright light shone all around her. She tried to raise her hand to cover her eyes, but her arms wouldn’t move. She tried her legs. They wouldn’t move either. She attempted to wrench her body around, but without any success. She could move her head—at least that didn’t seem to be completely immobilized.
In this example, the protagonist has no clue where she is or the time. This is still a novel with a strong setting. It is a discovery setting. The setting gives you taste, sight, smell, feel, but no hearing yet. How about this example from Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si.
Lyonshall, Herefordshire, Great Britain
Mrs. Lyons, actually, Matilda Anne Robina Acland Hastings Lyons, who happened to once be married to Colonel Bruce Lyons, and who held onto the Mrs. and the Lyons as mementos although the man was long dead, heard a crash in her kitchen. She was a light sleeper anyway, but the crash rang loud enough to wake the dead. She reached under her pillow for the prototype Etan Arms AP-1 nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol she kept there. She examined the sleek weapon, a gift from her favorite adopted great grandchild, Leila, and returned it, with the safety still on, to its hiding spot.
Here you have many of the senses and information about the time and place. I’ve shown you this before. My point is you must have an exciting setting for your initial scene. This is what interests people in your novel in the first place.
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