27 October 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 845, The Stage of the Novel, Developing Conversation on 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:
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
What do you know? What are you familiar with? There is an easily misunderstood adage in writing: write about those things within your experience. This idea has been branded in the minds of English and writing students and reinforced by numerous youth novels. The idea isn’t necessarily a bad one, but it leads to a false conclusion.
If authors wrote only about those things they experienced, there would be no science fiction or historical fiction. We would have no fantasy and few mysteries. Authors routinely write about things they (and sometimes no one) have never experienced. Here is where we can begin to point out the timelessness of the human experience. We can also note the extreme cultural and societal differences of the human experience. Let’s take one as an example.
Let’s look at fencing that is fighting with swords or knives. The purest will say knife fighting is much different than sword fighting. I’m not so sure. I’ve been taught some rudiments of the knife and very much about fencing. I have enough experience, and I’ve read enough about weapons hand to hand fighting that I think I understand it well. I used to fence competitively in high school and as an adult. I have experience to write about sword fighting, and enough knowledge to write about knife fighting. With this experience, I could likely write a pretty good action scene with sword fighting from any past era. I’d need to study the history a little to get the details right.
Now, what about the future? There is no way a person can have experience of the future. I have written more than one sword fighting scene set in the far future. The trick is to design or develop the weapons, the culture, the society, etc. and then place futuristic sword fighting into them. Sword fighting, if it is a skill in the future, will not be much different than fencing today. Just like the different blades used in today’s fencing, future sword-like weapons will have their own capabilities, vulnerabilities, and strengths. The author examines, develops, and perfects these differences and applies them to the experience of fencing. The experience is the skill of fencing. This experience can be developed by an author to fit numerous times and places.
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