27 June 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x87, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Three Way Love
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)
Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)
Two way love
Three way love (love rival) – Current discussion.
Celebrity (Rise to fame)
Rise to riches
Military (Device or Organization manipulation)
School (Training) (Skill Development)
Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)
End of the — (World, Culture, Society)
Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)
Mind Switching (Soul Switching)
Three way love: here is my definition – three way love is the use of competition for love in a romantic relationship between three or more people to further a plot.
If you take a two way (normal) love relationship and interject a love rival, you have an entirely new plot device. The love rival plot device is another name for three way love. You can have more than three competing in love, but that becomes purely capris and perversion. Although it makes a great gameshow for the vulgar and perverse, the idea of more than two with the possibility of winning just seems odd. It doesn’t fit with the concept of human love. We aren’t talking about sex or sexual gratification here. In the long term concept of love, we are taking about classical view of love for eternity. We are at least writing about love for a couple of semesters. It’s love as a many splendored thing. Take that kind of love and apply a love rivalry.
The level of rivalry doesn’t matter. I’ve always felt uncomfortable about writing novels with a strong love rivalry—that is one where the love interest, is ambivalent or indeterminate about more than one person. I see this more as a character failing than a strong concept to base a relationship. I have used this plot device in a few of my novels. I’ll give you an example below.
From Khione: Enchantment and the Fox:
A little later, Jason, Jennifer, and Yumi brought their trays over to where Pearce and Khione sat. They took their normal places around the low table. After a while, Jennifer asked, “Hey Pearce, I’ve got a couple of tickets to a movie on Saturday. Would you like to go with me?”
Pearce glanced up from his notes. He tapped his pencil on his lips and thought a moment, “Next weekend’s a three-day, I have to visit my parents.”
Jennifer looked unhappy.
“Could I get a rain check?”
Jennifer licked her lips, “Sure, I guess.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t leave to visit them during Thanksgiving, and I promised I come see them. There aren’t any classes on Monday or Friday.”
Khione piped up, “Is that a date? Did Jennifer ask for a date?”
Jason laughed, “That is a date. Hey, Jen, you aren’t asking Khione to come too, are you?”
Jennifer scowled at him, “Of course not.”
Jason continued, “Are you taking Khione to visit your parents? That sounds serious.”
Pearce thought a moment more, “I really hadn’t thought about it. I guess I’ll take Khione.”
Jennifer shook her head.
Khione smiled, “I’d like to go.”
Jennifer scowled again, “I’m sure you would.”
Yumi touched her arm, “I’m certain Khione doesn’t know what that means.”
Jennifer wasn’t mollified, “Yeah, sure.”
Jason wasn’t about to be put off, “Do you know what it means to meet the parents, Khione?”
Khione gave a puzzled look.
Pearce scowled this time, “I don’t mean anything by it. It would be good for Khione to see how normal people live.”
“Yeah,” Jennifer looked down.
“Yeah,” Jason smiled.
In Khione, I use three way love, a love triangle that includes Khione, Jennifer, and Pearce. Pearce is the love interest. Khione falls in love with Pearce slowly as she gets to know him. Jennifer has been pursuing Pearce for almost a year in college. Pearce is unobservant of Jennifer’s interest especially. Through the entire novel, the reader slowly gets the message. The scene portion I gave you was more to the point than most. Jennifer wants to ask Pearce to a movie, but Pearce has plans to take Khione to visit his parents. Like all love triangles, there is confusion, attempts at communication (mostly that don’t work), miscommunication, and all. I advise using a love triangle to spice up any novel where you have an obtuse character—no that’s not right. Some plots and themes accommodate this type of plot device better than others. I wouldn’t have used it in Sorcha, it would have been a detractor. In Khione, it is a powerful part of the plot development. As I wrote, certain novels work better for the love rival plot device.
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