17 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x107, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Resistance (Nonresistance)
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)
Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)
End of the — (World, Culture, Society)
Resistance (Nonresistance) – Current discussion.
Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)
Mind Switching (Soul Switching)
Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)
One way love
Resistance (Nonresistance): here is my definition – Resistance (Nonresistance) is the use of an opposition to an organized group (family, company, government, organization, party, enemy) to further a plot.
Resistance is a wonderful plot device. I’ve used it myself in various degrees in my writing. You can’t look through the modern bookstore without tripping over books that use this plot device. The Hunger books use a resistance plot device. The Sparkly Vampire books use a resistance plot device. The Harry Potty books use a resistance plot device. It’s not quite ubiquitous, but it’s all over the place. You can use this plot device in all kinds of situations. The creative element that you require is first something or someone to resist, a reason to resist, and usually a secret of some kind.
You can break it apart. In the Hunger books, the something is the world-wide government, the reason is not as clear, but the world-wide government doesn’t treat the people well, and finally, the secret—well, in the Hungry books there are all kinds of secrets. Who the resistance is and how everything has been manipulated is one of the secrets. Usually a resistance plot device uses secrets in all kinds of ways to magnify and empower the resisters.
The nonresistance plot device is a little different. You will see this plot device in some modern western literature, but this is a strongly used plot device in many Asian novels. The nonresistance plot device is a pretty weak plot device, but it has some use.
Here is an example from my writing from Shadow of Darkness.
Beria and Khrushchev sat together in the back of a large black automobile. They had been to the Kremlin at the request of Stalin and now discussed issues of Soviet security.
Khrushchev’s gravelly voice came out of the darkness, “Abakumov is as good as dead. This doctor’s plot sunk him, and allowed us to move on the Zionist Jews. Are you sure that wasn’t your plan, Beria?”
Beria stared out the window, “It wasn’t my plan. I didn’t care for Abakumov, but the Jews can cause us international problems.”
“Bah, they are nothing but pawns. All of them. You coddle the church too.”
“I follow Stalin’s orders. He instructs, and I enact his commands.”
“Stalin’s Little Ptitsa is informing the church of our plans almost as quickly as we can make them.”
“The People’s Prodigy.”
“What do you want me to do about her?”
“Comrade Beria, it shows our lack of control over our own forces. What are you going to do about her?”
“Nothing. I knew she was a spy for Father Alexius when I brought her into the MVD. She works for him and for us. She is too valuable to trade for the deaths of a few Christians.”
“She also is helping the Zionists.”
“She has Jewish friends and informs them, yes. We know this too.” A trickle of sweat rolled down Beria’s face.
“You will tell me, she is too valuable to trade for the lives of a few Jews.”
“That is also true Comrade Khrushchev.”
“What if I told you she was passing information to our enemies in the embassies?”
Beria turned toward him, “I would say you are wrong. She takes more information out of the embassies than we get from our own intelligence outside of our country. Have you read her reports?”
“Yes, I have read her reports. They are the only reason she still sits in her office on the top floor of the MVD instead of in the basements with all the other traitors.”
“You forget, Comrade Khrushchev, I control the intelligence apparatus for the Soviet state, not you. As long as Stalin wants his Little Ptitsa, he shall have her. When she is no longer of any use to the state…”
“Very good, Beria. That is the answer I would have expected from you.”
The resistance is from Svetlana. She is the power and eyes of the Orthodox Church in the bowels of the Soviet. The something to be resisted is the Soviet. The secret is that Svetlana is a spy and helping the Orthodox Church. Notice this isn’t so much of a secret. There are many more secrets related to resistance in this novel. I just pointed out the most salient ones for this example. Use this plot device and use it well. If you note, this is truly a plot device in this novel and not a theme.
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