4 April 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x3, more 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
Slow pacing can also be a problem. To tell you the truth, novels with too fast of pacing to me are caused by insufficient tension and release in the scenes. Novels with too slow of pacing either are missing tension and release or are just boring. I haven’t seen too many slow pacing professionally released novels. Most professional publishers will not touch the boring because who would publish boring. No one will touch boring, but it isn’t unusual for professional publishers to mistake fast pacing for interesting and exciting. For exciting, a varied pacing will do the job—fast for the fast parts and slow for the slow parts, but that’s another topic altogether.
Slow pacing usually means you are not developing the tension correctly. This can also be the result of not enough or no creative elements. For example, we have a novel with a meeting between the detective and a woman with some helpful answers. What will be the creative elements in the scene? I could just write about the two meeting and passing information. On the other hand, interject the creative element of a ritzy party. Place the police chief and the criminal at the same party. Add in some drinking, dancing, and bar conversation. You can add much more into such a scene. My point is that if your pacing is slow, put in more creative elements.
I have never seen a modern novel whose pacing was too slow based on description. This is a characteristic of Victorian novels. Most modern writers don’t describe well or well enough. Insufficient description ruins your pacing by making the scene and pacing too quick. Taking time to write description is a great way to slow pacing. To speed up your pacing, don’t cut description. It is much better to increase the action in a scene than to cut description. Action means conversation and action description.
I find it difficult to write with too slow or fast pacing if you write action or conversation. Where pacing suffers by being too fast, the author is usually using omniscient voice to synopsize. I’m not sure slow pacing is as easy to find. Just remember slow pacing means too few creative elements. Fast pacing is not enough conversation or action description. To be most specific, fully describe the action and write out the conversation. Don’t use omniscient voice unless you intend to speed up the pacing.
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