13 December 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 891, Novel Development, more Excessive Storylines
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.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Thrones is a great work from an entertainment and economic success standpoint and I wish everyone that kind of success. What I’m trying to help you understand is to get rid of your extra storylines to make a cohesive novel. I assure you, if you have extra storylines, and if you even get close to publication—you get the novel accepted for publication, your editor will rip out each of the extra storylines or make you rewrite them to fit the plot and climax of the novel.
The worst is, you might never get to this point. In other words, an extraneous storyline in a novel will prevent a publisher from contracting your novel. This is my warning. You might get away with an extraneous character or setting or description or any other material not relevant to the plot or climax. A publisher might really enjoy your novel and your editor will help you edit out the irrelevant stuff. Irrelevant storylines are much more intrusive and difficult to shrug off—they usually mean you have to completely rewrite your novel…ouch. The point then is to find these extra storylines and get rid of them before you finish the novel.
Is there any more I can do to help you find them? The best advice I can give it to examine each scene. If a scene does not directly support the telic flaw or the climax (build up to the climax), it is likely an extraneous storyline. If your protagonist is not in a scene or only in a scene for a short time, that might mean an extraneous storyline. If the protagonist is not mentioned or a subject of the conversation in a scene, that might mean you have an extraneous storyline.
In any case, if you find an extraneous storyline, pull it out and use in in another novel. Rewrite your current novel to remove the extra storyline and focus on the resolution of the telic flaw of the protagonist. That will give your novel some chance at publication.
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