13 June 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x73, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Predestination Paradox
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
Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.
Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)
Flashback (or analeptic reference)
Predestination paradox – Current discussion.
Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)
Predestination paradox: Here is a definition of a predestination paradox from the link– Time travel paradox where a time traveler is caught in a loop of events that “predestines” them to travel back in time
Let’s express this as a time or experience travel paradox where the character(s) are caught in a causal loop that forces them to repeat experiences or their travel back into time or experiences. Let’s further add those plots where the characters break out of the loop. Perhaps the most egregious and modern of these is The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. This is a light novel, an anime, and a manga. The cusp of the anime is repeated experiences that the characters finally can break out of by causing a difference in the mind of the protagonist. The protagonist is a girl who created the reality that is our world, and she unknowingly controls the world, including time. The characters are forced to unknowingly repeat their summer over and over thousands of times until they can break out of the loop.
The example from the link is In Doctor Who, the main character repeatedly finds himself under the obligation of having to travel back in time because of something his future character has done.
I have used this plot device to a degree in my novel, The Second Mission. In The Second Mission, the characters go back into time, but the changes they make in time causes the loop to be cut without repetitions. I think The Second Mission has a really neat trick that closes the time travel loop—I’d say almost entirely unique in literature. I won’t post any spoilers. I will tell you that the creative elements of a time travel novel drive the novel. I found this to be true for The Second Mission. I also found this refreshing. It is very pleasant to have a creative element that drives the plot. Let me throw in that the current novel I’m writing has a wonderful creative element that drives every scene and the plot—that is a girl’s school. The main characters are, of course, girls in the school, the school is the creative element that drives the entire novel. If you look at the major settings, telic flaws, characters, and etc. as continuing creative elements in the novel, those creative elements will project the entire novel’s plot.
The predestination paradox is a plot device with limited use, but it can be used to great effect. I think the real point you should get is the use of setting creative elements through the entire novel.
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