7 April 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x6, Showing 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
Bad pacing comes down to telling and not showing. I’m sure you’ve heard” show don’t tell. That is because novelists show a story they don’t tell a story. Writing novels was the great transition from the storyteller to the story shower. Let’s be very clear about this, novelists don’t tell stories. You might have heard babbling in your primary education about novels and telling stories. I hope you never heard that in your secondary education. Both or either are educational maleficence. Calling novels or equating them with storytelling is a complete misconception of what a novel is and represents in art and literature.
A little history—in the beginning was a bunch of half-dressed savages sitting around their campfire recounting their hunting exploits. You know where those went—right? The foes and prey got bigger and the tales did too. The skald, bards, and storytellers came into existence. Some made up the stories all recounted them. The stories were told. They were in a singular voice and with the typical storyteller’s omniscient voice. We see examples in Beowulf, The Aeneid, The Odyssey, The Iliad, and many others. When these were eventually written down, they still showed evidence of the storyteller and not a more advanced style.
The next great change in literature was the movement from the storyteller to the play. In an epic, the omniscient storyteller (narrator) gives the entire story. Early Greek plays (they were the first) kept the omniscient narrator, but added in the voices of the characters—usually only two: protagonist and antagonist. In the early Greek worldview that’s all you needed for a good play—three: narrator, protagonist, and antagonist. Later on, they added more supporting characters and walk-ons. Even with the narrator, the play mostly showed the story and didn’t tell the story.
Now to novels. The earliest novel is Genji, by a Japanese lady in 1000 AD. Don Quixote may be the first European novel. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is the first novel in English. Daniel Defoe is considered the first modern novel in English.
The novel took the play and turned it into a single narrative that included description, action, and conversation. To be very specific, the Gospels of the New Testament were the forerunners of the modern novel—they were some of the first works in antiquity that included narrative and dialog mixed together in the writing. Novels were conceived from a similar construct. Plays don’t need much description: they show the description in the scene setting on the stage. Plays have visible action and audible conversation. The novel incorporates the scene setting as description and the action and conversation in the scenes as writing. In this regard, the novel shows the story like a verbal play. A novel does not tell the story, or I should say a good novel does not tell the story.
The novelist has other tools available that the playwright does not. We’ll look at these next.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic