19 May 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x48, more 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.
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
Let’s look at some creative elements. Since I’m writing School at the moment, I can pull examples from those scenes. Here is the first example. Perhaps I should explain a little. Luna has a promise from Deirdre and Sorcha to participate in the activities she specifies. One of those activities is fencing. Another happens to be shooting. There is one of the creative elements in this novel and in this scene shooting. Here is part of the scene moving into the shooting activity:
They ate their very late lunch cum breakfast and Luna paid the bill. She ushered them back out to the black Triumph and headed back out of the airpark and to the M40. As they pulled away from the airpark, Deirdre stated, “I thought we might be going flying.”
Luna answered almost too quickly, “That’s a later elective.”
Deirdre shut up again. She and Sorcha were both getting a little interested. Finally, up the M40, Luna pulled off on Park Lane and they drove toward an area with some signs for shooting clubs. Luna pulled up before a low building with a small billboard that read: High Wycombe and District Rifle and Pistol Club. She parked at the back. The location was somewhat odd since the main parking lay at the front of the building. They exited the automobile and Luna went to the boot. She took out a heavy looking bag and handed Deirdre and Sorcha ball caps. The caps said, High Wycombe Shooting Club on them. She put one over her own hair and tucked it up inside. She pulled the cap down a little over her eyes, and gestured for Sorcha and Deirdre to do the same. Deirdre was starting to get really excited. She was obviously becoming a little skittish. Luna frowned, “Easy, Ms. Calloway.”
Luna put the bag over her shoulder and nodded for them to follow her. They all went to the back entrance. It comprised a heavy door at the side of the building. Luna pressed the call button at the side and the door opened quickly. A man glanced out, “Ah there you are Ms. Bolang.” He slaughtered the French pronunciation with his midland accent, but they could understand him, “I have the range dedicated to you and your students for the next hour. What are you using today?”
Luna didn’t stop moving. She pulled the door open and pushed past the man. He edged quickly out of her way. He wore a cap similar to theirs and had a pair of ear protectors around his neck. Luna glanced back at Deirdre and Sorcha, “Don’t stand out in the open. Come inside.”
They rushed through the door.
The man shut the door quickly.
Luna turned to him and gestured toward Deirdre and Sorcha, “These are my students. We’ll be using the pistol range exclusively. Only .22s today.”
The man seemed disappointed, “I set you up for bigger stuff.”
Luna grinned, “Perhaps we’ll fire something with more power on a later visit.” She moved her gesture toward the man, “Ms. Weir and Ms. Calloway, this is Bob. Bob runs this range.”
Deidre stuck out her hand. Bob grasped her hand in a maw-like shake. He didn’t squeeze it too hard. He seemed like he could have.
Sorcha almost reluctantly put out her hand. Bob shook hers too.
Luna shifted the bag over her shoulders, “Come on girls.”
They followed her to a brightly lit fifty meter range. Ten stations lined the range. Each station had a movable prop, a safety bucket, a clearing bucket, and a side shelf. Already, targets of head and chest silhouettes with graded targets on the head and chest were mounted on cables at about five yards. Luna moved to the middle of the range. She placed her bag on the table there and unzipped the bag. Deidre and Sorcha moved close. Bob stood directly behind them with equal anticipation.
A scene of students shooting at a British pistol range. First, we have the main creative element of the scene. This is what I started the scene with. In this novel, the students, Deirdre and Sorcha are forced to participate in many electives (activities). I have my list of activities they will participate in these are the major creative elements for the scenes. Not every novel is like this, but as an author you can approach any novel in this way. The activities I intend for Deirdre and Sorcha to participate in are shooting, flying, fencing, dancing, meeting girls, meeting boys, finding a boyfriend, finding girlfriends, a tea party (or more), studying with others, learning about magic, learning about the fae, attending church, meeting a goddess, and more. These activities are intended to prepare both Sorcha and Deirdre as women, as finished humans, and as…well that’s part of the novel too. Just what they are being finished to be is part of the climax, plot, and theme of the novel. Luna is preparing them for something, and these activities are the preparation. If you put it all together, you might figure it out. If not, I’ll have more to write about.
Back to the creative elements in this shooting scene. We need a setting. This place is a real shooting range in the location I described. I like to use historical and real places as much as possible—here’s one. The creative elements of a shooting range and an attendant—that’s Bob. Luna brought the tools. These are also creative elements. They, like the description of the range, flow from the activity. If you can’t tell, I’ve been to many ranges. It helps for the author to be familiar with the subject of the creative elements. I won’t repeat all the description of the setting. I will note that these become creative elements the moment the characters use them. The pistols, clips, and ammo are obvious creative elements in the scene. The targets and other range accouterments are creative elements. All of these fit into the scene are make the scene entertaining.
They also are part of the bigger picture of the novel. Even if this were the only experience of the girls with shooting, this would be a viable, but less important scene. What gives it potency is that the girls are preparing to compete on the Eton Shooting Team. This is a secret preparation for them. They practice every Saturday and Monday on shooting. Eventually, they compete with Eton and against other shooting teams. The connections allow their skills to be displayed (Luna is a great shooting instructor), they meet boys, and they validate their skills. You might ask: why is Luna, a French teacher, such a great shooting and fencing instructor? Also, why is it important to meet boys and compete against them? Look above. Meeting boys and finding a boyfriend are creative elements in the novel that are important to Deirdre and Sorcha’s finishing (development). This is Luna’s list by the way. I just don’t tell you or the girls this at first if at all.
So, we have our creative elements for a shooting scene, and we see how a simple idea like a shooting scene develops or causes an entire list of other creative elements. I haven’t mentioned the extras in this scene or others–yet.
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