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 on the tarmac at home.
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.
In scene development, the author takes creative elements and builds them in tension development to a release or a series of releases. So, the trick to developing an entertaining scene is the creative elements and the way the author uses them. This is also an element of style.
When I begin to write a scene, I review the scene in my mind and jot down creative elements I want to use in it. For example, in Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse, Shiggy became airsick while riding in a helicopter during the infiltration. This messed up her makeup and caused a little ruckus. This leads into another scene development for me. I need to get the ladies, Sorcha and Shiggy out of the house again and with their “boyfriends” (and teammates). So, the next trip is to RAF Waddington for airsickness training. The RAF should have T-6s by then—that is no secret. One of the teammates is an RAF pilot, Dustin Easom. The next question is what creative elements should we employ to make the scene entertaining?
The obvious ones are the clothing, makeup, weapons, and hair. That is a creative element theme through the entire novel. The next is airsickness. In airsickness comes the airsick bag and the events that lead up to airsick. I don’t think I’ll have Shiggy get airsick in this scene. I do think I’ll have Angel get airsick. Whoops, who is Angel? I wrote before, I use supernatural creative elements in my writing. Angel is a Seelie fae (fairy, if you like) who was assigned to Shiggy to help her with judgement and knowing right from wrong. Angel is a bit obtuse, so she mostly causes Shiggy problems. No one except the sensitive can see Angel, and Angel is always with Shiggy, by orders of Mrs. Calloway when Shiggy is in the Gaelic lands. So, there is the list of creative elements—there are actually more, but I’ll leave that for next time.
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