11 December 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 889, Novel Development, Information not Relevant to the Plot
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.
These are the steps I use to write a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
Here is my list of ways an author might add extraneous writing to a novel. Let’s look at the second.
- Material not relevant to the climax or plot.
- Characters or character arcs not relevant to the climax or plot.
- Side stories.
- Information not relevant to the climax, setting, or plot.
- Excessive storylines.
- Lack of a sufficient telic flaw.
- Incorrect protagonist.
Plot? Climax? I may be equivocating a little. Let’s be very clear, the plot is the revelation of the protagonist telic flaw to the climax. Therefore, the plot and the climax are practically the same. For purposes of continuing this discussion and hopefully providing more insight, I’ll approach them as separate items.
However you approach the climax, storylines, plot, and theme, you must always be aware that the telic flaw governs all. The plot relates the telic flaw to the climax. Every element of the plot supports the telic flaw. The climax is the resolution of the telic flaw. The storylines are all components of the plot. We come back again to the idea of extraneous parts.
Most likely the extraneous or non-relevant parts will be found in storylines, characters, action, settings, and conversation. As I’ve mentioned before, the presence of the protagonist many times will indicate the relevance of a scene or elements of a scene. This isn’t always true. The true measure is the expression of the telic flaw. For example, a storyline about the background of the protagonist that has nothing to do with the telic flaw, is likely extraneous. This is a side story. A storyline about the love life of the antagonist that doesn’t somehow touch the telic flaw, is likely irrelevant. This is also a side story. The description of a unique item the protagonist discovers in a temple that has nothing to do with the telic flaw, is likely an extraneous description. The description of what the protagonist ate alone the night before, unless it directly applies to the telic flaw is completely irrelevant and should be removed. On the other hand, the description of a meal the protagonist and protagonist’s helper has with others about the telic flaw is completely relevant. In general, conversations and meals and events with the protagonist where the telic flaw (the mystery in a detective novel, for example) is completely relevant.
There is another indicator—many times things the protagonist does alone are completely irrelevant unless they directly apply to the telic flaw.
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