27 July 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 753, Sorcha, Character
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 my 27th novel, working title Claire. I’m working on marketing materials.
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)
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Here’s the theme statement from Sorcha.
Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
With a name and a physical description, we have part of a character. This is the part the author may show to the reader right away. Anything else is pure revelation. In other words, there is much much more to Sorcha (Claire) Davis, but the only way to get to this part of her is through revelation. The author must show. I can give you descriptions of her personality, but not in a novel. If you do that, you are telling and not showing. Show and don’t tell. I can’t tell you Sorcha is a hard bitten irascible and domineering person. In a novel, this is what I must show you. I show you (reveal) to you her personality, not by telling you about it, but showing her in action.
Sorcha doesn’t have much patience for Shiggy. If Shiggy doesn’t toe the line exactly, Sorcha doesn’t get mad, she gets out her stick. This is easy to show and fun to write about. This, in fact, is one of the great powers of writing. Sorcha treats Shiggy terribly, but yet Sorcha is kind in some ways and Shiggy richly deserves most of her whacks. In real life, this is a tragic situation—in a novel, like a movie, the author can move us to pathos, satire, and irony. The beauty of writing isn’t that it is real, but that it can appear real. The incidents might look and feel real, but they can entertain rather than end in police custody.
If you don’t believe me, think about most of the action movies you’ve seen. Every James Bond movie has the hero committing actions and acts that would result in you or me going to jail or worse. Action movies, like certain types of novels allows us to suspend reality to some degree. In my novels, I like to push every humor button I can. I want irony, satire, and pathos to seep from every scene. I want my readers to both like and hate Sorcha. I want my readers to be happy when Sorcha is happy and angry at her when Shiggy is angry at Sorcha. Sorcha is in some ways the antagonist as well as the protagonist’s helper. She is the boss instead of the sidekick.
All of this must come out in the character revelation. All of this is how the characters act on the stage of the novel. None of it is told—all is shown.
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