20 November 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 869, Tea, Dinner, and Dessert, 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 setting for conversations.
I want to look at how much to write or reveal about the life of the protagonist in a novel. In addition, I want to write about the setting of conversation. Both may take a little, I’ll mix them up and try to mush them together.
First, how much to reveal. You can’t tell everything, and you don’t want to. Victorian novels never said a single word about human alimentary actions or needs. They didn’t mention anything about sex, bodily functions, or exposed or unexposed body parts. Take an example from the Victorians. The only things you need to reveal in a novel are those that forward the plot to the climax. Anything else is garbage—remove it. This is the most important thing you need to understand about all writing—nothing extraneous. You might ask, what is extraneous? Perhaps it is better to ask, when should it be included? It should only be included if it drives the plot toward the climax. If something doesn’t move the plot to the climax, don’t include it. Let me help you before you editor tells you.
To tell you the truth, I have not had a problem with that. For some reason (I think it comes out of the way I develop scenes), I don’t usually include anything in my novels that doesn’t move the plot to the climax. In any case, when you write a scene, ensure the scene and all the parts of the scene move the plot to the climax. Look at everything your characters say and do in a scene. You can include creative elements for entertainment purposes, but if they move the plot, so much the better. There is much more to say about this, but I’m going to move to the other subject.
I have written a few scenes where a couple of people sit down together and have an in-depth conversation, but we all know that in real life these rarely happen. These are the imaginary ideas of Government Controlled Radio and not real life. Where real in-depth conversations occur are during tea, dinner, dessert, golf, drinking, cigars, and sometimes on long trips. There may be some other places and occasions—I’ll try to think of them. In my writing, I usually don’t have characters who play golf. They sometimes go on trips. They definitely eat dinner, have tea, drink, smoke cigars, and eat dessert. These are the best settings, in my mind for having deep conversations. Perhaps I should give an example of a private conversation outside this.
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