3 August 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x124, Creative Elements in Scenes and Plot Devices
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 finished my 29th novel, working title School. I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.
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.
Plot device = verb, and creative element = noun. The purpose of fiction is to entertain. The means of developing entertainment is most specifically the tension and release cycle in each scene. The means of producing tension and release is through the creative elements expressed through the plot devices.
The creative elements are the setting, things, and people in the scene. The plot device is how the author uses those creative elements. Plot devices usually flow across more than one scene and may interact through an entire novel. In this case, we call them themes or plot ideas.
For example, let’s take the three way love or triangle love plot device. In this case, we have the love interest and two suitors. This might be just a side note in a novel or the focus of the novel. In any case, it is a plot device in the novel. Likewise, we need three characters. They are creative elements. They also might be (should be) the protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and some other major character. In a novel with a plot of a love triangle, the other major character might be the antagonist. There is a lot you can do with this specific plot device. This is also a very complex plot device.
In addition to the characters, the writer needs a setting and perhaps stuff (things) as creative elements. In any case, the author always needs a setting. The setting isn’t always a creative element, but usually is a creative element. This is easy to understand if you realize a setting element becomes a creative element when a character uses it or interacts with it. I’ll go further, if an author turns a setting element into a creative element, that new creative element should also be a Chekov’s Gun. A Chekov’s Gun is a creative element that is necessary for the plot and/or theme of the novel. Every creative element should be necessary to the plot and/or theme.
This isn’t as difficult as it might seem. The point is to not introduce creative elements willy-nilly. If there is no reason for a character to pick up a pen or pencil, why have them do it. If you do have them pick it up, make sure to include it as a necessary part of the plot. You don’t have to strain yourself. If a character picks up a pen, have them write something down with it. Or perhaps the pen has a more nefarious or important purpose—that’s up to you.
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