12 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 861, Misunderstandings, 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. 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 deeper words.
An important part of deeper words in conversation is misunderstandings. In general, misunderstands occur because characters (and people) don’t properly communicate. Some culture’s art forms and societal art development is based in misunderstandings. Pointedly, many oriental cultural literary forms are almost entirely based on misunderstandings. The western reader of Japanese literature can’t help but exclaim, “Just talk to each other!” If you haven’t had the experience of Japanese literature, I recommend it to you. I do not suggest you write in the Japanese or other oriental cultural styles, I do recommend you study them. Their authors are quintessential experts at the art of misunderstandings. Some are small. Many are large. Most lead to the climax of the novel. Many writings in Japanese are not based in the typical telic flaw of the protagonist. They are based in the telic flaw of their culture—that is unintentional misunderstanding.
The western author can learn from this. I don’t advocate the oriental method of approaching literature with a cultural climax, but I do suggest that unintentional and intentional misunderstanding in literature is a very powerful approach to writing. I use this all the time in my writing. The power of misunderstanding both unintentional and intentional can be seen in much writing, especially psychological based novels. The means to build misunderstanding is either to intentionally keep your characters from building a deeper level of conversation, or allowing them to mislead themselves or others within a deeper conversation. My novel Aksinya is a perfect example of both of these. I’ll bring you some examples, but you can read the novel yourself with commentary. It’s the one I released as a training tool here and on my other blog.
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