16 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 984, Tension and Release Developing the Rising Action, 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?
As I’ve written before, each scene must include tension and release. The ultimate tension and release is the climax of the novel. Specifically, the rising action is the tension to the climax and the release is through the resolution of the climax (resolution of the telic flaw). In this sense, the tension and release in each scene must support the climax and the tension in the rising action. To a degree, this makes the development of the rising action easy. In some ways it makes it very hard. For example, if you know exactly what the climax of the novel must or will be, you can easily write the rising action to the climax. On the other hand, if you write like I do—I only have a slight inkling of what the climax might be. I’m just not there yet with this novel. I know the telic flaw, but I must craft a climax to match and resolve the telic flaw. I haven’t arrived yet. Baring a miracle, I don’t expect to arrive for a while. At least fifteen chapters or so. My plan is to develop tension and release in scenes that all proceed toward some kind of climax. When I get there, I’ll know it and see it, but until then, I’m still developing.
I know there is a climax in there, I just don’t know what it is. In addition, I need to build and develop the climax based on the overall characters and the basis of the novel. The overall idea is very unique: a girl is secretly attending a boarding school I also applied a slightly supernatural concept to this—the girl is the child of a human and an Unseelie fae (fairy). She uses glamour (power of the fae to change the look of people and things) to hide in broad daylight. There is more to this, but that is the protagonist’s helper. The protagonist is the girl who can see through the glamour.
Now, what kinds of mischief and problems can two girls like this get into? There is, of course, more to this. The characters drive this little fictional jaunt.
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