9 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x99, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Revolution
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)
Revolution – 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)
Revolution: here is my definition – Revolution is the use of a resistance movement to further a plot.
Le Mis uses a revolution plot device—so does The Hunger Games. So does the sparkly Vampire novels. So does Harry Potty to a degree. You don’t have to have a full blown revolution. You don’t have fight a government. All you need is to resist some type or degree of authority. The novel doesn’t have to have a theme of revolution, but just need a little resistance. As you can tell, this is a very effective plot device. I’ve used it a few times in my novels. Most of the use has been in my science fiction—specifically, The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox novels. This series is all about revolution and resistance. I’ll give you an example.
Here is an example from The End of Honor:
The stone platform before the throne was cleaned of papers and gore, but John still smelled the scent of death in the place. He had known death too often and had seen it on too many planets not to recognize its stench.
Emperor Perodus waved them forward into the Hall. A large contingent of the Imperial Marines stood at attention against the walls.
John and the other six leaders of the banned Houses did not move forward to be received until the rest of the body of the Landsritters sat in their places. Slowly, then, followed by their contingent of Huscarls, they moved to stand before the Iron throne.
Perodus called to his brother at their approach, “John-Mark, welcome. How go the wars on the Fringe?”
“I don’t know brother. There are even more important wars to be fought here, the Fringe can take care of itself.”
“Why are you here, John-Mark? I did not recall you. I didn’t recall the Marshall of the Huscarls—did I Count Rathenberg?”
The new seneschal shook his head, “No, your majesty.”
“John-Mark, why did you leave your post?”
“I learned, from Count Acier, that I was banned.”
“This is not true. Six Houses were banned. You were not.”
“I was called traitor.”
“The Princess Lyral was found to be a traitoress,” Perodus stroked his chin.
John-Mark took out his sword and spoke with great deliberation, “I proclaim now, in the presence of my peers, the peers of the realm, that it was I who in any and all degrees planned the mischief attributed to the Royal Princess Lyral Neuterra. She was innocent of any wrong doing and acted only at my bidding and in the interests of the Empire. I further swear by my rank and degree that the Emperor Maricus had full knowledge of the actions I had taken to procure a House and standing.”
Perodus spoke coolly, “Who is there here to believe your confession?”
“Mine is a greater confession than you allowed the Lady Lyral.”
“Indeed,” spoke Duke Centri from the banned Houses, “Why should the Prince John-Mark take on the obligation and guilt of one who is already dead? That is—unless it is true.”
“What do you really want, John-Mark?” interrupted the new Emperor.
“We will speak of Lyral again, brother,” an implied threat shaded John’s words. “I came to petition for the banned Houses. They are banned because of me. If you will grant their status again, I freely accept their obligation.”
“I promised their holdings to others already. I have plans for their titles and lands. You ask me to change my opinion of their actions and insurrection just because you claim their guilt.”
“Yes. I appeal to your justice. Will you not remove the ban?”
“Read the charges against the banned Houses, Count Rathenberg.”
The seneschal swept an electronic pen across his slate and read the Emperor’s charges without pause.
When the Count finished John spoke loudly into the ensuing silence, “I ask you again,” he said with energy, “Will you remove the ban?”
“I will not.”
“Then I petition the Landsritters.”
“You have no right.”
“I am a peer.”
“You have no right nor position.”
“You said yourself, I am not banned.”
“By your confession and your dereliction of your post, you name yourself traitor.”
“Then I speak for Neuterra and the banned Houses.”
“Is this true Acier? Does the Prince speak for you?”
“He speaks for Centri,” spoke the gruff Duke.
“He speaks for House Rathenberg,” Duke Rathenberg’s response was dangerous and level.
Prince John-Mark approached the Landsritters, “The Emperor Perodus will not remove the ban. Yet, he has no justification for it. I demand you reverse the action of the Emperor Perodus.”
The nobles shuffled in their seats but none spoke.
“Nobles of the Landsritters,” John cried in anger, “Where is the Emperor’s body. The Emperor Maricus, where is my father’s body. It is by blood right that I should see it. It is by the Code that it should be presented as proof of the Emperor’s death. The body is not to be seen because Maricus was murdered treasonously. You heard the rumors. You know the actions of my brother. You know the innocence of the Princess Lyral, but you did not act to stop this assassin.
“Six of the most honorable and ancient Houses of the Empire are now banned. The Emperor gathers his forces above you. What does he possess 25 perhaps 35 heavy ships. Which of you can face so many capital ships and defend your holdings. Each Duchy is limited to five capital ships plus two in build status. Is that not correct, Count Rathenberg? Maricus defended the Kingdoms of the Empire with his forces, yet this Emperor begins his reign with force and a threat of force against you.”
John turned half toward Perodus still staring directly at the Assembly, “Where do you intend to strike first Perodus? Centri? Deneb? Neuterra? Surely you don’t expect the banned Houses to simply give up their lands and title without at fight.”
“I expect them, like you, to be ruled by the dictates of their Emperor,” Perodus hissed between his teeth.
“Nobles of the Landsritters, you have not acted, you will not act. I ask then, not for a removal of the ban. Not for the removal of the new Emperor. I don’t ask for revenge for the Princess Lyral, that I shall undertake myself. I ask instead, who will retrieve the honor of this incompetent body? Who will stand as a man and be counted among men and not worms? I ask you, who will join the banned Houses? Who will join us to regain our peace and freedom? What of you El Rashad? You stand between Neuterra and Centri and Anas. Do you think you can weather the war the Emperor will wage against them? Or you Aurora and Belgesa, you stand between the old and the new. What concessions has Perodus asked of you already? Are you ready for more?”
Perodus broke in with a tired voice, “Cyan, El Avrel, Neuland, Launch — I believe these are also beholden to or near the banned Houses. Let them answer for themselves. Are you willing to join the banned Houses and yourself be banned?”
You can read this novel yourself—it is in publication as a paperback and as an electronic book. John is leading the other houses in a resistance against the Emperor. Emperor Perodus is a really bad guy, but you need to read the novel to see just how bad. The point is that I use a revolution plot device to forward the plot of the novel. This happens to be a creative element of the novel as well.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic