5 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 854, The Greeting, Developing Conversation on the Stage of the Novel
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.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
All conversations follow a similar development and cycle of events. If an author is sensitive to this development and cycle, he can write more natural sounding (read realistic) conversation. The cycle of conversation moves like this: greetings, introductions, casual words, deeper words, ending. Let’s look at the greeting.
In almost every human interaction when people meet one another, they greet one another. Every conversation will generally begin with a greeting. It doesn’t have to be strained, but an author should key into the characters, the times, the culture, and the society in crafting the greeting.
In a greeting, the characters usually speak a name, but they don’t have to. This allows the author to provide a tag—an identification of the speaker beyond a normal tag. For example:
Jack raised his hand, “Good morning, George.”
The author provided a tag for Jack, but Jack provided the tag for George. The responder can only, or should only be George. Most conversations should begin in this manner—not exactly in this manner. Here’s some examples.
Marjorie jumped up, “Hi, Janet.”
“Hi, Majorie,” Janet mumbled.
Jackson stuck out his hand, “Good to see you, Mr. Cassy.”
Mr. Casey took the proffered hand, “Same here, Jackson.”
Mrs. Lyons answered to door, “Good morning, Constable.”
“Morning, Mrs. Lyons.”
James made a sign, “Even’n, Seth.”
In each example, I tried to convey a different culture, class, education level, society, times, places. The author needs to take each of these into consideration in crafting the greeting. It is from the greeting that everything in a conversation moves. I didn’t mention mood or emotion. These can play a very powerful role in the greeting and move the conversation quickly ahead. For example:
Mandy’s chest was heaving, “Jake, I thought I wouldn’t see you this morning.”
Jake’s mouth twitched, “I didn’t expect to see you either.”
The conversation is a greeting that has already moved into a further stage. Once the greeting is out of the way, we can move on to introductions.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic