7 October 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 825, Putting It All Together
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.
In general, authors are more concerned with the rising action and the climax than they are about the initial scene and the rest. I state unequivocally, as an author concern yourself about the initial scene first and let the rest flow from the initial scene.
The initial scene is what gets your novel read. The rising action and the climax is what makes your novel entertaining and is fun for the author to write. The rest is just the rest. The falling action and the dénouement have their importance, but they usually write themselves. Plus, no one dumps a novel because of the falling action and the dénouement—it just doesn’t happen.
As we look at writing a novel, the development of the initial scene is the most important part of the writing. It might be worthwhile to go back through this part of the development of the writing using my newest novel for some of the examples.
The rising action comes directly out of the initial scene. The climax builds in the rising action and comes from the protagonist’s telic flaw. The falling action and the dénouement drop into place as the author closes the resolution of the climax and then the curtain on the stage of the novel. I like these theater terms because, to me, they describe how a good author thinks about and develops a novel. The concept of the stage of the novel helps prevent telling. Telling is what the novelist wants to prevent or at least reduce as much as possible.
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