1 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 910, Publishing, Learning to Write, The Theme
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 eighth 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
Would you like to write a novel that a publisher will consider? Would you like to write a novel that is published? How about one that sells? The only way you can do that is with something that is unique and entertaining. You can add to that interesting, but to me, interesting is entertaining. Even if you are the best writer in the world, it is unlikely someone will read fan fiction you wrote or even other knock-off fiction. I’m not complaining about fan fiction or any other type of knock-off fiction—I’m reminding you of something. The reason people were so excited about Harry Potter or Star Trek or Star Wars or A Midsummer’s Night Dream was because, at the time, it was unique and interesting (entertaining). People picked up and read the knock-offs and fan fiction, but publishers weren’t interested.
What publishers and readers are looking for is something that is first unique and second entertaining. I’d say they are looking for entertainment first and unique second, but you can’t ever forget they go together. This isn’t either/or, this is and. Think about the sparkly vampires. The reason a publisher picked it up was it was unique—there weren’t any other writers writing about sparkly upper class vampires and vampire/human love. Second, the author wrote an entertaining work. The entertaining and the unique came together.
A publisher and readers will always go for unique and entertaining. This is the measure of a piece of literature. Think about it. Write a new love story, your work goes in the trash. Write about a sparkly vampire in love with a human and you have a bestseller. Write another detective novel, and you won’t sell a book. Write a detective novel about a vampire detective, you might have a bestseller. Don’t write about vampires at all now—it’s not unique anymore. That’s the point, you need to find a new and inviting idea and produce an entertaining novel.
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