16 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x45, Creative Elements in the World of my Science Fiction Novels, The Ghost Ship Chronicles: Ddraig Goch
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:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
- 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
Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
To me, the most interesting themes are about worlds, people, and life that goes on around us that is hidden or unrealized. I have developed this type of world and theme and used it to build creative elements for my plots and scenes. I’ll use my own novels as examples for this. I’m moving to my science fiction novels. The Ghost Ship Chronicles are a series of five novels (so far). They are titled after space ships. The fifth is Ddraig Goch.
In science fiction novels, the creative elements or at least one creative element must be based in science. Usually, the writer is creating an entirely new universe. That universe is based on the world we know, and the universe follows scientific ideas or concepts from the world we know. It must be based on ideas and concepts familiar to the reader or there is no way the novel would be readable or interesting.
The basic creative elements of the world of The Ghost Ship Chronicles are: mercantilism, capitalism, family traders, family trader space ships, trade, and love. These are the basis of the universe of the novel. I threw in love at the end because all five of these novels is ultimately about love.
The universe of The Ghost Ship Chronicles is based on various cultures and societies on different planets but focuses on the mercantile and trading culture of the Family Traders. The Family Traders have organized their society and culture aboard their ships on the principle of trade that also governs their commercial endeavors. This colors and affects their society in many ways. That is one of the entertaining creative elements or set of creative elements that form the universe of the novel. By the way, this universe, even just considering the Family Traders, is so large, the reader is still discovering parts of it in the fifth novel.
The plot line and theme of the novels in The Ghost Ship Chronicles is another level of complexity in creative elements. Most specifically the creative elements in the plot and theme (as opposed to the setting) are: warrior, prince, telepathic, power, spirit being, soul swap, lost ship, escape, loss, and love.
I’m getting tired of this and I’m sure you are too. I haven’t written Ddraig Goch yet. If you look up the name you will see it is the name of a Welsh dragon. Since I haven’t written the novel yet, I can’t write about the creative elements of the plot of the novel. What I want to note is the levels and complexity of these novels. Look—there is a universe level that defines the universe (world) of the novel. There is a second level that defines the most basic concepts of the plot and theme. There is another level directly related to the novel in play. There is, of course, another level at that of the scenes. Each scene has its distinctive and specific creative element(s) that define the tension and release and connect the scene to the rest of the novel. Most of the creative elements at this level are interconnected in the overall scheme of the novel(s). I should give an example. Perhaps I will tomorrow.
Ultimately, each creative element in each scene drives to the creative elements in the plot and the setting of the novel. In a science fiction novel, the setting and the plot can and should have their own distinctive creative elements. This is to some extent the power of science fiction and fantasy. Fantasy is the same. If you ever wondered why science fiction and fantasy is so popular, this is one of the reasons. Science fiction requires creative elements as part of the setting, plot, and theme. It also requires creative elements in the focus of all of these parts to be integrated into the whole. What this means is there is a lot of great science fiction and a lot of poor science fiction. Science fiction requires many creative elements. The author has to provide strong and entertaining elements or the novel will be terrible. On the other hand, science fiction and fantasy provides the writer with lots of creative elements—it is a characteristic of the genre. The author should be able to write something, anything worthwhile with all this help in entertainment. If this doesn’t prove how important creative elements are, I don’t know what will.
I’m looking at my science fiction novels. I’ll discuss the creative elements in Escape from Freedom next.
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