6 April 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x5, Examples of Varying the Pacing 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
A good example of bad pacing—what would that be? I already mentioned, I’m reading a novel with terrible pacing. It is much too fast. The author has neglected the release in each scene by using the omniscient voice. Let me try to give an example without incriminating the guilty too much. So let’s have a couple of scenes where the characters need to accomplish a task. Most of the characters are attempting to complete the task and win—the protagonist wants to fail the tasks and lose. The reason the protagonist wants to lose is there is another climax (telic) level task that she must complete and only through losing can she get there. The pacing is horribly fast and much of that comes from incomplete release in the task accomplishment scenes. Instead of writing, The teacher turned to so and so, “You completed that task perfectly, dear. I award you ten points. You, darling, failed miserably and receive no points,” and so on, the author writes at the end of the abbreviated scenes: the teacher gave so many points to this person and so many points to that person, and to our heroine no points.
Can you see how the use of the omniscient voice increases the pacing and ruins the power of the scenes? I’m not into the omniscient voice at all. I definitely want my novels to show and not to tell. All this telling not only screws up the pacing, but it ruins the power of the novel as a means to relate the plot and theme.
What about pacing that is too slow. I can’t remember any novels like this in the modern era, but it is likely they just don’t get published. If in setting up the scene, the author writes something like this. The scene is of Jack and his girl at the amusement park. They stop under part of a water log ride to kiss. The log comes overhead, and they are drenched in the middle of a smooch. This is a creative element. The kiss and the drenching are both release from the tension of the scene. Correct pacing would bring out the elements in clean long description and then bring them together for the final clash. If instead of making a single point of the release and the drenching, the author wrote on and on and about the kiss and the drench, that might be too slow of pacing. I also imagined what I might do with such a scene. I would do a close-up description of them while drenched. That would provide good comedy in the scene. Okay, it is difficult to find a good example of too slow of pacing. I know it can happen, but I’m not certain too slow of pacing is a problem—I know too fast of pacing is.
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