18 December 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 896, Novel Development, more Writing and the Insufficient Telic Flaw
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 sixth.
- 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.
The telic flaw must match the level of the writing, or more precisely, the theme of the novel must match the level of the writing. This is why a simple love theme in Shakespeare is no simple love theme. Perhaps the best known comedy in Shakespeare is The Taming of the Shrew. This is a love theme, but the focus isn’t on love, but rather on how to change behavior. It is a treatise on behavioral modification. It is additionally, a treatise on human interaction. We find that Kathrine has learned the lesson too well—the lesson of being a woman.
The same is true of all of Shakespeare’s plays—they are wonderful adult themed works that on the surface appear a farce, but resonate with the power of human life and living. They are also great examples of pathos.
Likewise, Shakespeare’s tragedies. The best know is likely Hamlet. How convoluted a tale is Hamlet where a man is confounded in his every dealing in seeking revenge. The psychological elements in Hamlet make most modern tragedies look like weak imitations of pathos. Perhaps, in comparison, they are bathos, and here is where you as an author must stake your works. This is my entire point represented in a single work. Hamlet is a powerful adult work about murder, kingdoms, families, love, lust, sex, and will. In the end, the author reminds us that countless others died unknown. Hamlet is the tale about people in conflict, love, and interaction. Hamlet is not about the end of nations, but rather then end of families and people. In the end, Hamlet is about people—this should be an example for adult themes. Ultimately, adult novel (and play) themes are about people. They are not about the end of nations nor the end of the world. These are immature themes that make popular movies and comic books. They should not be used in adult novels.
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