4 October 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 822, Dénouement
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.
Let’s talk about the dénouement compared to the falling action. The falling action competes the novel. The dénouement closes the curtain. This is definitely not the place for a cliff-hanger. The wise novelist wraps up the novel with the falling action and completes the novel with the dénouement. A really good dénouement includes a kicker if possible, but no cliff-hangers. A kicker is something the reader can tie back into the novel and, if possible, back to the earlier parts of the novel. For example, here is the dénouement from Children of Light and Darkness.
In the morning, Kathrin, James, Seumas, Sveta, and Klava found themselves back safely in their warm beds. They did not wake until dinner time, and they were still too full to eat. Mrs. Lamport and Herbert accepted no explanation of Seumas’ loss and sudden recovery. None was ever given. Seasaìdh just clucked her tongue. She said nothing.
Queen Elizabeth sat at the ancient bureau and brushed her hair when, outside her windows, the snow began to fall. She opened her bureau drawer and picked up an ancient telephone inside. The voice of Britannia came abruptly across the line, “Good afternoon, Elizabeth.”
“Britannia, does the late snow mean what I think it does?”
“Yes, Elizabeth, thank God, she has taken up the mantle of the land. The courts all celebrate, and I must soon go too. We are safe for at least a generation longer.”
With a click, the line closed on both ends.
This is the dénouement from Children of Light and Darkness. This is the sixth Ancient Light novel and a really fun one. There is a kicker. The characters are hustled off stage. I bring back two important characters from the earlier parts of the novel. Their conversation and communications indicate the completion of the events of the climax and the novel. With that, the curtain of the novel closes and bang—that’s the end.
The kicker is the declaration of how important Kathrin’s actions were. There is no cliff-hanger. There is no loose baggage. If you must put in anything new, do it in the falling action. I really don’t advise putting anything new in the falling action either, but I did show you how I added a little nudge to another novel in the falling action to this novel. That was yesterday.
Also, notice, no epilogues, nothing extra, no uncleared activities, short, sweet, and to the point. Curtain is down, phone is hug up, and you can’t see the stage anymore. All metaphors to tell you—that is the end.
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