21 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 989, Secrets in Tension, 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?
So we are back to secrets. Deirdre has a secret. Sorcha has a secret. Luna has a secret. Others will have secrets. Everybody has a secret. This is true in real life. Most of our secrets are mundane, but most of us have secrets that, if they were revealed would mortify us. Everybody has secrets. If you don’t have secrets, there may be something wrong with you. As I wrote, most of our secrets are mundane. Most people don’t care about your secrets, but some secrets are wonderful. Some secrets are terrible. Some secrets are horrific. A novel is the revelation of the protagonist’s character and specifically the protagonist’s telic flaw and the resolution of that telic flaw. Protagonists always have secrets. That is the point of a protagonist. Their secrets may remain a secret for a long time or a short time. My protagonist are not vomited onto the page—their secrets and their character remain a part of the revelation of the novel through the entire novel.
This is all part of the tension and release. Secrets are tension. Release is the revelation of the secrets. As you might note in this novel, School, Sorcha’s secret is a wonderful secret. Currently only Deirdre knows it. The fun thing about secrets is that you can let them out slowly. It’s like a balloon. One secret known by one person lets just a little of the secret (the air) out. Add another, and a little bit more gets out. Another and a little more. What if someone knows the secret, but doesn’t let on. What about the secret balloon. If enough of the secret remains, the author can let it out with a pin prick—bang. A big revelation—whoosh. A little revelation here, one there—it goes flat. My point is there are lots of ways to bring an end to a great secret. You can even keep it alive and full. Remember, the tension is the secret—the release is revealing the secret.
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