30 October 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 848, The Stage of the Novel, Developing Action on the Future 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 about the future world—that is populating the science fiction stage? Just like the past, science fiction requires knowledge of your subject. I should write, experience of your subject. I’d recommend everyone try to light a campfire with matches at least once before you write about it. If you write about the twentieth century, you should light a fire in a fireplace or a stove with a match at least once. The question then is how did people light fires before that?
Before matches, there was the eternal match. These were in use from the end of the 1800s until the invention of the lighter in the 1920s. The warning, ‘three on a match’ refers to an eternal match. Before the eternal match was flint and steel. People also packed their fire in coals. Many early societies never let the hearth fire go out. Many early cultures did not light a fire that did not come from the temple of the gods.
If you haven’t, you should try to light a campfire with flint and steel. You should look at an eternal match. You should try to light a campfire with a magnifying glass. I’ve used all these and a fire bow. I don’t recommend a fire bow. Anything is easier than that. Societies that used the fire bow remained stone aged for a reason.
The point here is that before you write about an action, you should try to experience the action. Now, how does this apply to the future stage? We don’t need to build many fires today. There might be less reason in the future. That may be true, but if you write about making a fire now or in the future, you should know how to make a fire, and experience the various methods used to make a fire.
So, setting the future stage. Every human action likely has an antecedent in the past, present, and future. The trick is to turn a now experience into a then and future action. Thus my little history lesson about making fire. In the future, someone will need to make a fire–the means and the mechanism will not change much from the past. Likewise, the future will see fighting and warfare. What antecedents and experience will apply to future warfare? Let’s explore this idea a little further.
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