31 August 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 788, Developing The Climax
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 started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja.
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. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
To me, the most important part of any novel is the initial scene. However, the climax is the peak of the novel. This means the author is focusing every part of the novel toward the climax. How you can have a poor climax after that, I can’t fathom. Indeed, the entire focus of the protagonist, the telic flaw of the protagonist, the plot, the storyline, the theme is always and only the climax. Everything in a novel is the climax. I will admit that I have kind of backdoored a few climaxes. What I mean by that is that the climax of the novel was slightly ambiguous and I made it a bigger climax that it ordinarily might be. Lilly is a novel like that. The run up to the climax begins to slowly break down all the good that Lilly and Dane achieved. When Lilly loses everything, her friend Coyote helps her recover her place and power.
The climax can be big or little—I recommend big and as big as possible. Now, by that I don’t mean end of the world. You can see that most of the movies made today aren’t about personal tragedy—they are about corporate world tragedy—the end of the world. The climax should be big, but human big and not inhuman big.
How can I make the climax of Red Sonja really big? Well, no one is going to launch a nuclear attack because of a single spy. The tragedy of Red Sonja is Red Sonja and whoever gets sucked into her plot and circumstance. The ultimate climax of such a novel builds to the potential loss of her life and perhaps her friends, lover, or acquaintances. Her capture during a time of peace and quiet. Her accidental injury or perhaps being shot. The lack of understanding of those around her and their confusion. Perhaps the Soviets tried to capture and shoot her the week before then turned her in themselves or another spy turned her in. The details are all part of the plot—that I haven’t written yet.
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