9 July 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 735, Scene Based Style, more Third Person POV, 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 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.
I could continue about theme development, but that’s enough for now. Let’s look at POV. POV is point of view. Point of view (POV) is the technical “person” of the grammar of the writing, and the approach of the writer in who and how they observe a scene.
Let’s look at this. First the technical “person” of the writing. In English, you have three choices:
- First person (I, me, mine) – popular modern form. I don’t recommend it.
- Second person (You, you, your) – not used in any literary writing.
- Third person (he, she, it, him, her, it, his, hers, its not to mention the plurals)
You used to have a fourth choice in English, the beide form, but the only word left of that English form is both—too bad. Plus most modern readers and writers wouldn’t like the warlike connotations of the beide form.
When we speak about POV, we mean two different things. The first is the POV of the grammar and the second is the immediate POV of the scene. Here are examples of scene based POV:
Close: He touched her hand.
Not so close: The waiter saw him touch her hand.
Far: The bartender looked up and thought he saw him touch her hand.
Omniscient: Everyone knew he touched her hand.
You can’t do this in first or second person writing. Only in the third person can the author vary the POV in distance and between characters. You editor will become upset at you if you vary the POV by persons in a scene, but they usually won’t complain about the distance.
Usually, in a third person novel, the POV comes from the protagonist’s viewpoint, but the viewpoint can be ambivalent. You can’t do this in any first person or second person novel. Thus, if I need to reveal something new to you readers that isn’t known or seen by the protagonist or the protagonist’s helper, I can move the POV completely to another place or person to make that revelation evident. This is a very powerful tool.
The first person and the second person are defined as close—they can’t be otherwise. In the third person, you can vary the action of the scene from close to omniscient and every gradient in between. I recommend staying out of the omniscient—that’s too much telling. I quick slip for effect or comedy is okay, but the omniscient voice is simply telling. No one likes telling. A skilled author uses varying degrees as necessary to develop the plot and theme of a novel. What about style?
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