3 April 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x2, Pacing and Creative Elements in the Rising Action
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
I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.
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: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
- 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
I don’t think you can have too many creative elements in your scenes. I don’t think you can have too much tension with appropriate release in your scenes and novel. I think it is easy to really screw up your pacing. I don’t know how to define the correct way to approach this issue to help you. To me pacing is natural to my writing. I don’t think my pacing is too fast or too slow. I have, on the other hand, read novels (I’m reading one now) where the pacing is much too fast. When I read novels like this, I feel like I can’t get my breath. The novel and the scenes move much too fast for me. I’ve also read novels whose pacing was much too slow. To me, these are boring and uninteresting. I can’t stand too fast or too slow pacing, but I’d say I’m open to a large latitude for the pacing.
This may not help everyone, but I think most pacing problems come about because of insufficient or incorrect release. Let me try to describe how I like to develop tension and release. I like to build my scenes just as I outline them above. I have an input. I know the general output. I set the scene. The major creative element is part of the output. This creative element is what builds the tension for the release of the scene. As I wrote, I think pacing problems come about because of insufficient release. In the novel I’m currently reading, the author uses omniscient voice to tell us the release in each scene. The release feels like an afterthought. The tension builds much too quickly and does not have a proper release. If I were advising this author, I would have told them to slow down the tension and make the scenes longer with less omniscient voice and more conversation.
What makes a good release? What makes up proper pacing in the tension development? The release is critical—it should allow the reader to catch her breath and move to the next scene. The overall tension moving to the climax can remain high, but if the tension in the scene doesn’t have a proper release, the reader will feel as if the scene is incomplete. Ah, there is a great point. I’ve written before, each scene should have a proper end with a kicker. The end and the kicker are usually related to the release. If each scene just blows into the next scene, there can’t be a proper release. So, for good pacing, I know in my own writing, I want a strong release with an end and a kicker. To me this forces some completion in the scene and slows the pacing to an appropriate point. What if the pacing is too slow?
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