Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x47, Creative Elements in Scenes

18 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x47, Creative Elements in Scenes

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

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 development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

I started with creative elements in scenes. If you look at the scene outline above and the scene development outline also above, you will see that creative elements are the means to write a scene. I also wrote to define creative elements. They are a little complex to explain so I gave some explanations. To be as specific as possible, a creative element is an object or idea from the scene setting that the characters interact with in a scene. I further defined good creative elements as those that are used to create entertainment and excitement in a scene. I use these terms (entertainment and excitement) interchangeably because to me excitement equals entertainment. My writing style is rather easy and laidback so you can have writing that is too energetic and therefore too exciting to be entertaining, but that is a whole other problem.

The author develops a scene first with setting. You can’t have a scene without it. The ideas, place, stuff, things, characters, clothing, objects, buildings, furniture, and all in the setting are all elements in the setting (setting elements). They all have the potential to become or be creative elements. For example, a character walks over to a desk and picks up a pen. He fiddles with it during a conversation. The pen has become a creative element. Now, if that is all, the author has failed as an author. In writing, there is only one reason to draw our attention to the pen. That is the pen must further the storyline, plot, and theme. This is the absolute point about creative elements, the author uses them, not just to engage and entertain within the scene, but to engage and entertain throughout the novel. Thus, to turn a setting element into a creative element means the author intends for the pen to be an important element in the novel. Personally, I’d be happy to see all authors understand the importance of setting elements and their use as creative elements, but all creative elements have a purpose beyond the scene. This is why I spent more than one week going through creative elements from a novel setting and a plot setting level. My point was to draw your attention to the levels of creative elements. Creative elements at the setting level continue through the entire novel—as setting elements that always play as creative elements. Those creative elements directly from the plot also act through the entire novel. Think about the pen. If the novel is about a pen, then the pen might fall into a creative element in the novel setting as well as the plot. On the other hand, most novels are not about a pen. The pen introduced as a setting element becomes a creative element when a character picks it up and uses or plays with it. The pen might be simply there to sign a document, a contract, write a note, or other mundane purpose. Or the pen might connect the plot in some way to the theme or to the storyline. Why set it, introduce it, and use it unless the author has a greater purpose for it?

In the scene outlines, one for the overall scene and the other a method to write a scene, the author chooses creative elements for the scene that connect to the plot and the climax (telic flaw resolution). The author chooses these elements for the purpose of entertainment in the scene and the novel.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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