23 July 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 749, still more Conclusions, My Distinct Manner of Writing 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-sequiturs, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).
Moving on to 16. 16. Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter’s style includes gaps, silences, non-sequiturs, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).
Always remember, the point of novel writing is to entertain. The way to develop a manner of writing and style is through practice, feedback, and understanding. I’ll discuss understanding next.
When I started writing novels, I had many good examples and some practice. What I didn’t have was lots of practice or any real understanding of how to construct a novel or a scene. There’s much more to understand, but just the information I leave in the preamble to this daily blog is more than I had in my writer’s mind or training. I have to say I did learn about the parts of a novel from my high school English teacher, Mr. James Martin—except, and this is a huge exception. I don’t remember any discussion of the importance of the initial scene. I’d have to look back at my notes, but I think the basic English studies outline of any regular novel is this:
- Rising action
- Falling action
Basic English studies focuses on the understanding of writing and the writing of novels themselves. Authors want to know how to write. Thus, I teach you the fundamentals (plus a bunch of very detailed secrets). This is understanding.
Look back at my outline for a novel (above)—you know inherently this is the way a novel should be constructed. If you know this, you have a chance at writing a great novel. Even if you can’t write a great novel, you know what should go into one. This is my point—it isn’t enough to identify how a novel is constructed, what the author needs to know is how to construct a novel. If I tell you, you need an entertaining and exciting initial scene, and you write one—you are on your way to writing a good novel. I wish I knew this from the start. I might have written some of my published novels a little differently.
I’ve already confessed and explained the mistakes I made—my novels still were published. They are fun and exciting novels. They just could have been better, but so is life. As authors, we progress—unless we are the very very few who write one bestseller and give up writing forever after that. How that could be, I don’t know. I think such a person either didn’t really write their “great” novel or they need a bop on the back of the head. So troublesome. An author is supposed to love to write. If you don’t, please don’t try. Thank you.
Back to understanding. This is what I do for you and for myself. As I analyze my writing and others’ writing for the purpose of understanding, I become a better author. If you read this blog, I’m trying to pass some knowledge to know about what I’ve learned over the years. Many times I know my ruminations might not be as clear or well developed as you or I would like, but much of this is trying to put into words very difficult ideas and concepts. Concepts like manner and style or about how to write a scene or conversation. I suspect many experienced writers would balk at trying to explain these ideas. They are difficult for me, and I’m used to explaining hard ideas and concepts.
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