8 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x98, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Human God
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
Military (Device or Organization manipulation)
School (Training) (Skill Development)
Human god – Current discussion.
Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)
End of the — (World, Culture, Society)
Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)
Mind Switching (Soul Switching)
Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)
Human god: here is my definition – Human god is the use of a god-like being who happens to be human to further a plot.
I’m not sure that a plot, theme, or plot device about an actual god who isn’t human in some way could ever sell a novel. Without the appeal of human, you are writing about something completely outside of the human sphere or experience, on the other hand, a romantic character is like a human god—to a degree. The degree is important. Harry Potty is a romantic character—he is also a human god. He has god-like powers and lives among a god-like people. This is purely the human god plot device, but in the case of Harry Potty, this is a human god theme and plot.
Likewise, almost every superhero is a human god plot device. In most cases of super heroes, they are human god plots and themes. You might ask, what is the difference? If the climax of the novel resolves on the human god powers, then the theme and plot is likely human god. If the climax is based on something else, then it is simply a human god plot device.
I use the human god plot device extensively. In general, my climax resolutions are not based in the human god’s powers thus, I use it as a plot device and not a theme or a plot in itself. I’ll be more specific for the purpose of understanding. A great example is Superman. In comics where Superman uses his powers to resolve the climax, that is a human god theme or plot. If Superman happens to be Superman, but the climax doesn’t use his super powers for resolution, the plot device is human god and not the theme or plot.
I wrote that I use human god frequently as a plot device. My gods are human first and godly second. Their godly powers are restricted in some way and the climax resolution isn’t about their powers. I’ll provide an example.
Here is an example from Sister of Darkness:
“Mother,” out of breath, Robert rushed through the door and into the house.
Leora laid down her book, “Why are you home from school so early? Where are your sisters and brother?”
Leora sat up straighter, “Tell me.”
“The Germans have invaded France. The radio said they are coming through the low countries.”
“Why did the school send you home?”
“The Father said they needed to spend the rest of the day in prayer.”
“That is right and very good. We should all spend today in prayer.”
Jacques followed by Marie and Lumière fell through the doorway.
“Mama,” Marie screamed, “Is Leila coming to get us?”
Leora pulled the girl to her and held her. She glanced around at her other children. Their eyes were wide and questioning, “Don’t be silly, Marie, she is not coming to get us. Whatever put that thought in your head?”
Marie glanced at Lumière.
Leora frowned and put her fingers over Marie’s lips, “Don’t say that name again—or I will tell your father.”
Marie ducked her head.
Jacques grasped Leora’s arm, “But why not, mama? What is so important about her name?”
“Some names have power. Her name is one that has power in this world…” Leora paused a moment, “Just as my name has power in this world.”
Lumière stared at her, “Your name?”
“Yes. My name.”
“But why? How?”
“It is just like I call in the light. It is something no one else in the world can do. The Aton God gave this to me. It is a protection for you and for those who trust the Aton God.”
Robert stepped closer, “Lumière can call the light.”
Leora sucked in her breath, “Yes. I know. But that shouldn’t worry any of you.
Robert pursed his lips, ”You told us the Aton God is the God Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Jacob, Israel, and Christ. His name is a name of power?”
“Yes, but you must say it correctly. The name of God that is His name is YHWH.” The sound of the word reverberated in the room, and the children all stared around in alarm.
Lumière grasped Leora’s hand and shook it, “Mother, how do you know these things? How do you call the light? Why are we so different—all of us?”
Leora pulled Lumière closer to her. She kissed the girl’s forehead. Leora screwed up her lips and tapped her teeth, “I am not sure your father will approve of me telling you. You have asked a reasonable but difficult question.” Leora settled Marie more easily on her knees. She motioned for the others to sit at her feet, “I will tell you but you must never reveal to anyone what I say. You must swear to me. All our lives may depend on your silence.”
The children glanced around at each other then at Marie. Marie started to put her fingers in her mouth, but as a nine year old, suddenly thought better of that and dropped her hand to her lap, “I know what you are all thinking, and I promise not to say anything.”
“Marie, are you sure this is a promise you can keep? If not, I can tell you when you are ready.”
Marie’s face turned up in distress, “I promise. I swear I won’t tell.”
“Then listen carefully. Just to be certain, I will recite everything to you in Egyptian…ancient Egyptian, and I will place a ward on my words. You will understand them, but you will not be able to repeat them or what they mean except in the tongue you hear them.”
Lumière turned up her face, “Is it a spell?”
“It is indeed a spell.”
Leora made a sign in the air. She called the light, and the thin winter sunlight coalesced on her finger tips and wrapped around her arms. She spoke words her children had never heard before. Words that had not been said since the Great Pyramid had been laid down. Each of them felt the hair on their heads raise and their mouths became dry. Then their mother began speaking slowly and distinctly to them in ancient Egyptian, “I am Leora. I have been the goddess of light since my first remembrances. I was born in Egypt more than four thousand years ago. My sister, Leila was my twin. She is the goddess of darkness. We were worshipped until the Aton God led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. When Pharaoh’s army failed to stop them, and all the gods of Egypt could not stand against the Aton God, my sister and I were able to escape from the two lands with only our lives. We fled in darkness, and my sister who had power in and over darkness ensured that I departed without my followers and without any protection. She took over and ruled me like a master rules a slave, and in the darkness, I was powerless to stop her. We fled to the sparkling blue lakes, one salt and one fresh, in the land now called Tunisia.
“In that place, my sister built a temple to darkness and ruled over the lands and people we found there.”
Leora and Leila are goddesses. The children are the offspring of Leora and Paul Bolang, her warrior. This is the beginning of World War Two and Leora tells her children about her and their background. In the plot device of the human god, she is a human god. She is more human than god and the resolution of the novel is not about her god-like powers, but about her daughter.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic