30 June 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x90, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Rise to Riches
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)
Celebrity (Rise to fame)
Rise to riches – Current discussion.
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)
Rise to riches: here is my definition – rise to riches is the use of the accumulation of wealth to further a plot.
Accumulation of wealth (rise to riches) is similar to accumulation of power (rise to celebrity). The focus of the result is somewhat different. If you notice, just the idea can suffice as a plot device, and you can also use the opposite—riches to rags. The idea is the yearning or goal to achieve riches. This is sometimes used as a motivation for characters, but it can also further a plot. I noted that you can also use riches to rags to further a plot. The motivation usually isn’t to actually become poor, but the result of the character’s action is loss of wealth. You can also use the idea of giving up riches as a plot device. For example, the character who gives up her wealth and celebrity to accomplish charity work or become a nun. Just the thought of riches as the motivation for a plot device is sufficient to further a plot.
Now, as to the question of examples. I really haven’t used this as a plot device. I’ve used celebrity (rise to celebrity) in more than one way, but I haven’t used riches. I should—riches would fit beautifully with a pathos type character. The character who comes from a completely poor and underprivileged background and who works to achieve riches.
Likely the reason I haven’t used riches as a plot devices is that most of my themes are redemptive. I’m more interested in characters who give up riches for the good of themselves or others than for those who are motivated to achieve riches. Still, I haven’t used the riches to rags plot device either. I bring this all up to give you a major difference between a plot device and a theme or plot idea (creative element). A theme is an overall motivator and idea for a novel or plot. A plot device is a concept the author uses to further a plot—especially to the theme. The plot device might be rise to riches, but the theme could be good business sense or intelligence leads to the rise to riches. Or the plot device could be rise to riches and the theme, loss of friendship or another result of the rise to riches. I’m using simplistic examples, as I noted, I generally like to use a redemptive theme. If I used the rise to riches plot device, my plot would most likely end with the character realizing that riches were not the appropriate goal, but this isn’t a characteristic of my writing. In any case, rise to riches in all of its types and glory is a classical plot device and can be used in many ways and settings.
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