Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 833, The Stage of the Novel, more Setting the Stage

15 October 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 833, The Stage of the Novel, more Setting the Stage

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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 SiEssie is my 26th novel.

Cover Proposal

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 development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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 go back to the beginning. I’ll use my newest novel as an example. It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above. Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play. A novel is not a stage play or a screenplay, but the author should approach some aspects of the novel from this vantage point.

In setting the stage of the novel follow my rules for writing 4a above:

Don’t show (or tell) everything.

4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

At the least, the author should show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel. Perhaps we should give some insight to what is the stage of the novel. The stage of the novel is specifically the point of view (POV) of the novel at the moment of the writing. In most novels and most scenes, this is the POV of the protagonist. In third person novels, the POV can move around. This is a good technique for showing more than the protagonist can know or see without moving into telling. The author should always show the reader everything important to the plot and theme of the novel that is evident on the stage of the novel.

On the other hand, note rule four: don’t show everything. A novel isn’t a data dump. A novel is a focused collection of scenes that drive to a climax. Nothing extraneous is allowed in a novel. I have no problem with obfuscation, but I do have a problem with meaningless catharsis. Additionally, secrets should abound in all novels. Novels are ultimately about the unveiling of secrets. This is true of all novels. There are secrets the protagonist knows and doesn’t share. There are secrets the other characters know and don’t share. There are secrets from the characters and secrets from the readers. Everyone, like in real life carries secrets—sometimes to the grave.

For example, Oliver Twist is a novel about discovering the secret background of Oliver Twist. Treasure Island is about the unveiling of the secrets of the pirates, the island itself, and the protagonist’s background. All novels are about secrets even if it is as simple as the revelation of the plot. The plot (rising action and the climax) are both unknowns to the readers (and usually to the characters). As the plot builds, the storyline is revealed—you could write (and I do) that the secrets of the plot are revealed. No matter how mundane the novel might be, every novel is about the revelation of the characters and the plot.

Every character has secrets to hide and every plot has secrets to reveal—if this weren’t true, what would be the fun of reading a novel?

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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