20 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 988, Tension and 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?
There is a very deliberate tension between Sorcha and Deirdre. Sorcha is the one with the secret, but Deirdre has a secret too. Sorcha is the one whose life will be very painful if Deirdre lets out her secret. The tension is very powerful. If Deirdre lets out Sorcha’s secret, that is the return of Sorcha’s full pathos. She returns to the gutter. She returns to hunger and having nothing. The power of this tension is that it is itself grounded in pathos. The reader, however, recognizes that Deirdre, for whatever faults she might have, will not give up Sorcha’s secret. This is the tension, but this tension is expected to last. We realize that Deirdre is honest and good. We have a feeling that her lack of self-control led to her being sent to Wycombe, but we know there is much much more to this banishment. It was a banishment that she desired. Something else is in play, and we aren’t sure what it is. The treat to Sorcha might not be Deirdre, but there is an entire rising action to build these ideas.
Who might betray Sorcha? That is the ultimate question the novel and plot begs. Luna knows more than she lets out. There is obviously some duplicity, and here is the opportunity to write about another major character. Luna is not the antagonist, but she is an obvious foil to Deirdre. Luna is there, not exclusively, but actually, to keep an eye, and a hand, if necessary, on Deirdre. She’s already accosted Deirdre physically. Luna Bolang is a person very similar to Deirdre. Luna’s mother’s mother is a goddess. The readers don’t know this yet, but it colors all of Luna’s actions. Luna has knowledge and takes actions that are strange and that directly affect Sorcha and Deirdre. If you contemplate that Luna’s family and Deirdre’s family are both involved with the MI structures to some degree, you might begin to imagine what Luna is about. If you say, why would a French teacher bother with two girls (or more for that matter), you might contemplate the idea that identifying and training the next generation of spies and operatives is a job for such a teacher. Where better to find your trainees than at an exclusive boarding school. What better person for such a job than a kid who snuck in for the opportunity of learning. Skills are what such a person would want to encourage and test. We will look for these skills and tests from Luna.
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