19 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 987, still more on Characters, 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?
What about Sorcha? Sorcha is the focus but not the protagonist of my newest novel. She is the protagonist’s helper. Let’s look a little into her development and her history. As I wrote, I wanted a character who would produce strong pathos. In one of my blogs, I proposed a girl who was abandoned and snuck into a boarding school where she is now attending. To build this character, I needed one who had some trick that allowed her to hide in plain view. My simple solution to two problems: abandoned and hide in plain view, was to make the child the offspring of a human and an Unseelie fae. I’m not certain how I could elegantly touch this topic without this little slip of the supernatural. It could be done, but not without a host of other problems and issues. The simplest was to have Sorcha be abandoned because of who her parents were, and to have the ability to sneak into the school because of the power she gained from one parent. This mix of human and fae still keeps a powerful strain of the human in the novel.
I also chose to have Sorcha be a bit of a bad girl. She is so greatly overpowered by Deirdre that there is little bad for her girl. This aspect still comes out now and then. Sorcha was in British foster care and homes until she escaped. She beat up another girl(s) and was incarcerated in a juvenile prison. She used her abilities to escape prison and wandered to Wycombe Abbey, a school which is not too far away from the juvie prison. Sorcha isn’t a bad girl at all—she’s a child who hasn’t had anything. She is slowly clawing her way out of the mire. This is one of the powerful themes and features of the novel.
The excitement and entertainment about Sorcha is her natural pathos. She is pathos. The interjection of Deirdre into Sorcha’s life will cause her exceeding headaches and problems. What I would like to do, is try to keep the reader acutely aware of Sorcha’s pathetic condition while showing her slow movement out of it. Cap this with the recognition that she could return to her pathetic state at any moment. This is the power of pathos in the rising action.
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