15 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 864, more Secrets, 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 and secrets.
The author reveals the unknown, the secrets, in the plot and the characters. There are more secrets than this. For example, within a plot are secrets. The plot itself is unknown, but within the plot, the author introduces secrets and revelations. Likewise, the characters are unknown, but the author introduces secrets in the lives and existence of the characters. In the plot, we usually call this mystery, but there is much more to secrets in a plot than just mystery.
In characters we also call these secrets mystery, but there is much more to this too. I like to read novels that are filled with secrets, mystery if you like. I don’t mean information withheld from the reader for no good reason, but rather the illumination of time in the plot. Here is an example from my writing.
My novel, Khione: Enchantment and the Fox, is about the revelation of Khione. Khione is a demi-goddess. Just this information is about five or six chapters in the novel. This is a revelation novel (as if all novels are not about revelation). In development and revelation novels (such as that is, I consider all novels to be revelation novels). In this type of novels, the skills and capabilities of the protagonist are revealed and developed through the novel. A common example of this is the Harry Potter novels. In them Harry Potter seems to learn about his own skills and develop them. Harry Potter is a poor revelation and discovery novel because the protagonist doesn’t appear to grow or learn anything. In Harry Potter, the plot revelation is somewhat more important than the character revelation. I like revelation and development novels where the characters really are revealed and really do discover their capabilities and really do learn to use them. A wonderful example of this is Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. In this novel, the protagonist does develop, does discover, and does become a skilled fighter, leader, and officer.
In Khione, the character begins as a complete mystery. She has issues of her own. As the novel progresses, the reader and the other characters slowly learn more and more about Khione, until at the climax of the novel, almost everything is revealed. As I noted, this is a true development and revelation novel. These are my favorite types of novel.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic