12 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 980, I’m Moving from the Initial Scene, Themes and Pathos
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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.
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.
For novel 28: 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.
For novel 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre 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?
To me, the initial idea and the initial scene is enough to propel the novel. You might ask, then where are you going? I don’t know. At the moment, I’m letting the story tell itself. I wrote before that the idea came to me while writing about a pathos based idea (theme). I wrote: what could be more pathos building than an abandoned girl who is secretly attending a British boarding school? I’ll add to this. Part of the key in researching and developing the ideas in this novel was to find ways that the girl could hide in plain sight in the school. Think about it—I could just have her be a normal girl who is hiding out in the school. How would she attend classes and be graded. How would she interact? Where is the pathos in that? There is little or no pathos if there is no emotional experience for the characters and the reader. A girl hiding in a school is one type of pathos—the danger is discovery, and the tension and release is pretty much limited to a singular climax—the girl is discovered.
That’s not the type of world, plot, or theme I wanted. I wanted my little freeloader to be out in the open—not quite blatantly, but real, interaction, and too obvious to ignore. The question becomes, how do you hide in plain sight? I came to the conclusion that a normal human likely couldn’t hide in plain sight, plus I wanted a unique twist to the novel—remember what I’ve written before the theme and plot should have a unique twist. My twist is usually some plug of the supernatural. In this case, I’d already laid the foundations in other novels for fae glamour—that is fairy glamour. Fae glamour is the ability to change the appearance of people and things to look better. In Sorcha, I used glamour as a creative element to drive some of the scenes and the entertainment in the novel. In this novel, School, I declared the girl was the abandoned child of a human and an Unseelie fairy. As Deirdre states, “That happens all the time.” The girl has the ability to use low level fae power which includes glamour. This is the setup in the novel that provides the ability to meet the needs of my idea. Do you see? I get an idea first and then develop the circumstances to fit the idea. Is this a trick of writing or just the way the world is? If you ever wondered how a writer makes the novel and the climax work out so well and perfect—this is it. The trick is to get an idea and then to match the initial circumstances to the idea. For example, if in the climax, my protagonist requires the ability to pick locks, I develop the ability in them from the beginning. If I wrote most of the novel before I arrived at that part (the locks part), I simply go back and rewrite the novel to meet the needs of the climax. Bingo—as easy as that.
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