20 October 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 838, The Stage of the Novel, more Place and 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.
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 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.
It isn’t enough to show specifically what is on the stage of the novel. Part of description is more than simply showing what is on the stage. The description of the stage means showing what each piece means in context to the world of the novel. This makes more sense when you consider a science fiction novel. In a science fiction world, the reader (observer) will have no idea at all about the world. The description of a place must explain names, history, culture, and reasons. So, when describing a place, you should ensure names and other details are part of the description.
Descriptions include more details than simply what you see. Things possess characteristics that are not evident to the senses. This is true of characters as well, but let’s stick with places.
In describing places, the author has the opportunity to give more than what is experienced with the senses. This is important and perhaps self-evident. The reason I think it is important to mention is because although we write show and don’t tell, showing involves more than just sensory descriptions. Therefore, what can be described beyond the senses?
The answer is that you may describe those things which are well known or easily discovered. For example, finding the name of a place might be as simple as looking at a sign. Within reason, it might be reasonable to just state the name of a place. You could also describe the sign—in a stage play, the name might be on a sign-board. As an author, you might just state the name in the description. You might provide some background. A purist might use a conversation to provide the background. I’m not giving you the freedom to tell, I’m advising you that descriptions can include items that are not those just defined by the senses. Let’s get a little deeper into this.
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