10 July 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 736, Scene Based Style, Style in 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.
What about style? In general, writing in the first or second person, you will have a real problem trying to use POV style. You can use many other methods to vary your style, but just not POV. This is because there isn’t any scope in the first and second person.
In third person, the author can move around in terms of POV. To be most specific, the author can vary the POV. How this works in terms of style is the detail on the stage of the novel. Use your imagination with me here. If the novel is imagined to be a stage, the author shows what is on the stage. First, he sets the stage (scene setting). Then, he describes the people on the stage (also scene setting). Next, he sets them in motion (the action and conversation in the scene). This is the most basic part of the novel and the scene. The stage of the novel is everything the author describes. Unfortunately, some authors move the camera in too close and tell us things the reader should never know—the inmost thoughts or reasons for the characters’ actions. This is perhaps not a good analogy. The author, in this case, has told things no camera can ever show. Don’t tell or show things off stage or that can’t be seen. This means, you aren’t allowed to tell what the characters are thinking. These are all off limits. This isn’t a question of style, this is a question of writing skill.
Good authors only show what can be seen and not what can’t or couldn’t be seen. I will give you scope to give hints. I’d rather you provide those though gestures and expressions or words than through telling. Here’s the difference.
Telling: He ignored Jane. She felt like crying.
Showing: He ignored Jane. She teared up.
One is telling the thoughts of the character. The other is showing the thoughts of the character. One is a camera, the other is a god.
Now, let’s move the camera. Moving the camera is style. In general, moving the camera is always showing. Even when you move it out to the omniscient sphere, you can still be showing and not telling. A skilled writer might hold the POV to a specific character, but move the camera to give different views. Here is an example from my newest novel. I’m still writing it, but this part is pretty complete.
William and Shiggy danced with grand abandon. Near twelve, Herbert brought out poppers and party hats for everyone. They all stood together on the dancefloor and waited for the official time clock. Mr. Calloway called the time, and in the end, everyone caught it up, “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.” The clock in the ballroom began to chime, and everyone popped their poppers. The air filled with confetti. William pulled Shiggy into his arms, and she put her arms around his neck. He gave her a heady kiss. Shiggy wanted that kiss to go on forever, but Angel began kicking the side of her head. Shiggy ignored the kicks for as long as she could. When Shiggy finally stepped breathlessly back from William, she noticed Dustin and Sorcha sharing a slightly provocative kiss. That Dustin and Sorcha should experience a little excitement while she was getting kicked in the head, just set Shiggy off. She grabbed Angel from her shoulder and threw her toward Sorcha then went on for another clinch with William. That’s when the fun ended.
Angel beaned Dustin on the side of the head. Which sent Sorcha and Mrs. Calloway running toward Shiggy, and Angel flying. Dustin stood rubbing his temple. Sorcha pulled Shiggy out of William’s arms, “That’s enough of that.” Angel meanwhile gave Shiggy an earful, which Shiggy completely ignored.
Mrs. Calloway turned Shiggy a slightly unhappy glance. All Shiggy could do was open her hands and shrug.
Sorcha’s neck was red. She shook Shiggy, “One kiss was quite enough. Twice is a bit over the top.”
Shiggy snarled at her, “I was going in for a third until you stopped me.”
Sveta came around, “That’s enough girls.”
Shiggy wasn’t finished, “I’ve never had a love life before. She doesn’t have to ruin mine too.”
Sorcha stopped suddenly. Her eyes glistened.
Sveta stood in front of Shiggy, “That was uncalled for, Shiggy.”
Mrs. Calloway stepped forward, “Just when things were getting good too.”
Shiggy wasn’t about to stop, “It’s the truth. You shouldn’t have given me that twit Angel for a conscience if it means she’s going to prevent me from…”
Mrs. Calloway looked her up and down, “Prevent you from what, dear?”
Shiggy clenched her fists and stared at her feet.
Sorcha calmed a bit, “Shiggy doesn’t understand everything about her mark yet.”
Sveta turned to the guests, “Strike up the band.” The band began to play a dancing tune.
Mrs. Calloway laughed, “Everyone dance.” She whispered to Sveta, “Good idea, dear.”
Sorcha turned to Dustin and William. She pushed them toward the side, “Be a couple of dears and let us have a little girl talk. We’ll be back in a moment.”
Just for your information, Angel is a fae creature–a fairy, if you like.
Look back, if you need to and see how the camera moves from point to point, but he POV is still Shiggy throughout. It doesn’t ever move to the omniscient, but it pulls back to show the room and moves forward to focus on the action. This is what I mean by style and the movement of the POV in terms of distance in a scene.of a novel. What about style?
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic