30 September 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 818, Climax Examples, Ddraig Goch
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.
I’m writing about how to develop the climax of a novel. I’m giving examples from my published and yet to be published novels. I’ll try not to introduce spoilers. You can’t read some of these novels yet, but it’s worth writing about the process of developing the climax for them. I have two contracted novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. These are supposed to be published in a three-in-one with Aegypt and individually. The economy has delayed their publication. These first three novels are called Ancient Light. They include Aegypt, Sister of Light, and Sister of Darkness. In addition to the Ancient Light novels, I’ve written some other novels.
The Ghost Ship Chronicles are a set of five science fiction novels centered around a single theme idea. The novel started as one, but the theme idea was so large, it kind of took on a life of its own. I don’t like trilogies or other super long novels in multiple volumes. I wrote these novels to be stand alone, but provided an introduction to each to bring the reader up to date. You could read these novels separately, but they all drive to a common problem and theme.
The common theme of The Ghost Ship Chronicles is that Den Protania picked up a new soul from a derelict ship. For some reason, the soul from the Athelstan Cying was necessary in the current age. Den’s mind is now the mind of an ancient psionic warrior. His friend, now wife Natana Kern is also caught up in his misadventures and something is affecting her soul too.
The fifth novel is Ddraig Goch. At the end of Shadowed Vale, Alex and Nikita are an item, own a star ship, and are heroes of the family traders. I think I will make Nikita’s sister, Mara, the protagonist of Ddraig Goch, but I’m not certain. I haven’t written the novel yet. I’m still working and planning.
In any case, you know the novel must have a climax that resolves the protagonist’s telic flaw, that is expected, but with an unexpected resolution, and action based. As I’ve tried to show you, you can use these characteristics to develop the climax of your novel. That’s the reason I gave these guidelines to you. You can also check to make sure your climax meets these criteria. I haven’t really read a published novel that doesn’t. I have read some indie novels that had mixed up climaxes and resolutions.
The reason you don’t see these problems in most normally published works, is that these are the problems the publisher either won’t touch, or during editing with an agent or publisher, they get honed out. The evaluation of the climax from the protagonist’s telic flaw is about the first thing they teach novel editors. Plus, you can usually easily tell when a novel has a problem. It either doesn’t answer the protagonist’s telic flaw, or the climax is flat. A flat climax comes from having an expected climax and expected resolution, or no action in the climax. Either one will kill the climax. If your novel is otherwise well written and unique, your editor might ask you to fix the climax. This is rewrite city. So, when an author tells you their editor or their agent made them rewrite their novel, this is usually why.
If you are an indie writer, and you haven’t had at least one person read and edit your novel—you need to. When I say edit, I don’t mean for spelling or grammar, although that can only help. I mean that you have had someone review your work for the plot. The question this kind of reviewer should ask is: is it entertaining? If the novel isn’t entertaining enough, how can I make it more entertaining? A strong climax always improves a novel with a strong initial scene, but always remember, if the initial scene isn’t entertaining, no amount of work will make the novel entertaining.
I tried not to introduce spoilers in these discussions on climax. Since I already gave you Aksinya, I might as well go into detail about its climax. You can read it on this blog anyway.
We’ll look next in more detail at Aksinya.
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