25 December 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 903, Publishing, Learning to Write, Focus
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.
Merry first day of Christmas.
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
What is your strategy as a writer? What are your goals as a writer? Initially, my goal was simply to write a novel. Everyone thinks they are writing a “great” novel—your first one rarely is. I don’t believe in the idea of a person writing a single novel that is suddenly published and becomes an immediate bestseller. That’s a Cinderella story, but Cinderella is a fairytale. I do believe someone can spend years writing essays, short stories, news articles, technical articles, and possibly write an acceptable piece of long fiction. There are examples of journalists who do just that. Ray Bradbury and G. R. R. Martin are short story authors who broke into novels with related short stories put together in a novel. W. F. Buckley was an essayist who broke into writing novels. There are a couple of examples of writers who wrote one great American novel that became a bestseller and they never wrote again. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, and Gone with the Wind are three very famous novels that fill this imaginary area. I suggest the authors either wrote much before their debut novel, had lots of editorial help, or perhaps something more sinister. Really, fairytales are fiction and fiction is many times not as weird as real life.
The reality is this—if you don’t write about one million words of fiction (or other writing) your chance of becoming a professional writer is about nil. This is the number that equates to about 15,000 hours of effort in writing. This is about 10, 100,000 word novels. If you haven’t written this much, get started. You do get credit for technical papers, essays, short stories, articles, and etc. You don’t get credit for watching TV, playing video games, or messing with your phone.
To be successful in writing you must write—your focus must be writing. The second piece is entertainment.
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