2 October 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 820, Falling Action
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.
Following the climax is the falling action. Now is the time for the author to get the characters off the stage and close the curtains. If the author developed the climax properly, the plot has played out and the readers are ready for the novel to end. You hope they are not happy to see the novel end, and you hope they are irritated, not at the ending, but that the novel is coming to an end. I know I have a good novel when my main prepublication reader writes that I need more at the end of the novel—following the climax. I usually give a little more, but that indicates to me that I touched a nerve with my reader with the novel’s characters and plot. It means she really enjoyed the plot and characters and wanted more. Sometimes, I do this on purpose—that is I wrap up the novel, but intentionally don’t bring anything new into it.
I think this is important for the end of the novel. The purpose of the falling action and the dénouement is to close out the novel. This is not the place for a cliffhanger or to bring up new plot points. This is literally and literarily the place to wrap up any loose ends and close the curtain. If I’m not clear—don’t add any new plot points or ideas to the falling action or dénouement. The safest and best approach to the falling action is to complete it in the same chapter as the climax, or in the next chapter. If you can complete the falling action in the climax chapter, then use the last chapter for the dénouement. No more than one chapter.
I do not recommend an epilogue. An epilogue isn’t as dangerous as a prologue for a novelist, but what’s the real difference between an epilogue and a dénouement? Perhaps an epilogue is an extended dénouement. There is the problem. Extended, falling action, and dénouement don’t go together. The problem is extended. The problem is that if you have that many plot details to clear up, you picked the wrong thing for the climax.
I’ll admit there are many ways to build the falling action and the dénouement. There is also no reason to not place new information in a dénouement or the falling action—think follow-on novels. Perhaps I should give you a few examples.
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