17 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 866, Example, Ending the Conversation, 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 the ending.
Here is another example of a beginning and an ending. This is from my yet unpublished novel Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. You can see all the parts I mentioned.
I realize that conversations are difficult to write—especially at the beginning. For those who are experts already, here is an example of how I write conversation. For those who are new to this, here is how I write conversation. I’ll annotate on the way through.
That evening, Shiggy found her clothing strewn everywhere around her room. When she was ready for bed, she called, “Dark Ash, Dark Ash, come to me.” [I wrote about greetings. This is a calling, a spell, a call to a creature who can come to you. You can call this a demand or a command. It is a type of greeting.]
Ashly appeared right in front of Shiggy’s nose and gave it a tweak. [This is also a greeting.]
Shiggy rubbed her nose, “That wasn’t very nice.” [These characters have already been introduced, both to one another and in the novel. There is no need for more, so we move almost immediately into casual words that very quickly move into deeper words. I think I mentioned that straight forward speech is a method of moving directly into deeper conversation.]
Ashly sat on the end of the bed, “I’m not very nice. You don’t need to state my true name.” [This is the transition and movement into very deep subjects based on the characters. Ashly is a fae creature, a fairy, if you like, and from the Unseelie Court. She is an evil fairy. She is not nice.]
“I let you use my stuff and everything.” [Shiggy is keeping the conversation at a deep level—she is accusing Ashly.]
Ashly flipped her long, very black hair. [I like to use and interject gestures and tags where I can.]
Shiggy went to her desk, “I have something for you.”
Ashly perked up and flitted over to see.
Shiggy pulled the Barbie clothing out of the drawer and placed it on the desk. The clothing included a black skirt and blouse with a padded short coat, “This should fit you. At least in your current form.”
Ashly examined the clothing. She felt it and turned it over with her small hands, “It won’t fit my wings.”
“I can make a couple of cuts here and there and it should be fine.” Shiggy pulled a pair of scissors out of her desk drawer.
Ashly immediately darted to the other side of the room. [These represent the use of creative elements based on Ashly as a fae being.]
Shiggy looked up, “What’s wrong now?”
“You should know, monkey girl. Those things are made of iron.”
“It’s steel actually…ah, I see—you don’t like iron.” [Thus, in conversation, I can provide my readers some information about the fae. Many readers might know this already.]
Ashly made a face.
Shiggy cut a couple of slits near the shoulders of the blouse and short coat. She put the scissors back in the drawer, “It should fit you now.”
Ashly carefully swooped back to the desk and stood at the far side away from the drawer with the scissors. Shiggy pushed the clothing toward her.
Ashly snarled, “A bit of privacy, please.”
Shiggy didn’t move or turn her face, “You already messed with my clothes. Why should I give you any privacy at all?”
Ashly turned her a very dark look. She shed her ash leaf clothing, picked up the doll’s clothing, and turned her back. With a little difficulty, she pulled on the skirt and then the blouse and short coat. The slots just fit her wings. She turned back around, and smoothed the clothing. Her tiny face bore a great smile, “It fits. It’s a little tight, but I like it.” She looked to the side and then back at Shiggy, “Are you trying to buy my favor?” [Ashly is bright, but this is something that must be asked.]
“Yes…yes, I am. I’d rather you not play tricks on me. If we have to work together, I’d like to be your friend.”
Ashly’s mouth fell open, “You want to be my friend?” [The idea of a fae friend is a big deal in the novel.]
“Very much so.”
Ashly rubbed her chin, “I’ve not had many friends…never with a mortal. What do you want from me?”
“Don’t mess with my stuff.”
“If I accept your gift that has great meaning to me and mine.”
“I don’t know what that means exactly.”
“It means I will be beholden to you. I will owe you in exactly the same degree as your gift to me.”
“Between friends, it doesn’t have to be that way. If I gift you something like this, it simply means I want to be nice to you.”
“I’m not nice.”
“You said that. Could you just try to be nice just a little to me?”
Ashly flew up to face height on Shiggy, “I will attempt to be a friend to you…I’m not certain what that means between the fae and a mortal. Perhaps you will show me more kindness, and I shall not play as much mischief on you.”
“If you mean, you would like more gifts. I can get you things that you like.”
Ashly’s smile became a little more sensual, “Perhaps I can give you things you like.”
Shiggy put out her hands, “Nothing like that. You don’t have to give me anything.”
“But I must.” Ashly rushed forward and kissed Shiggy’s nose. She disappeared. [This is the ending—it is a parting salutation, a kiss. This ends the conversation.]
Shiggy felt a gust of air then heard laughter. [Here is an added piece of foreshadowing that says to the reader, this isn’t the complete end of the conversation.]
Shiggy sighed and went to bed. Her dreams were not bothered by anything very untoward, but she didn’t feel very comfortable with them either.
This ending is relatively positive. The reader (and Shiggy) isn’t certain what to make of this. There are positive elements, but if the Godfather kisses you, you might beware. In any case, I think this conversation represents what I’ve been trying to explain about how conversation develops and how it ends. Everything in between is simply the author’s to develop. I like to develop creative elements in the conversation and the scene to up the entertainment quota. I think you can see this. The interaction of the characters in words and actions sets the stage for the scene and the entertainment in the scene.
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