Writing – part x194, Novel Form – Japan day 7

12 October 2017, Writing – part x194, Novel Form – Japan day 7

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:

  1. Don’t confuse your readers.
  2. Entertain your readers.
  3. Ground your readers in the writing.
  4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
  5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. 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 29: 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.

This is the classical form for writing a successful novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)
    4. Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together. The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw. They are inseparable. This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel.

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

  1. The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  2. The Rising action scenes
  3. The Climax scene
  4. The Falling action scene(s)
  5. The Dénouement scene

So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene? Let’s start from a theme statement. Here is an example from my latest novel:

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: 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.

Here is the scene development outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene. I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in the initial scene.

Tension and release is the means to success in scene writing. The creative elements you introduce into the scenes (Chekov’s guns) are the catalysts that drive entertainment and excitement in a scene, and this is what scenes are all about.

I am moving into the way to develop sufficient tension and release. One of the best means is through pathos. I’ve written about pathos developing characters. What I want to do is expand this into pathos developing scenes. In most cases, a scene with a pathos developing character can be made pathetic. In any case, almost any scene can invoke pathos—pity and fear. This development of pity and fear is the driving force in tension and release. The question is how the author develops it.

I’m in Tokyo Japan—this isn’t a travel log, but I might find some examples to put here.

I’m not writing a travel blog, and I already have a hit and miss food, drink, and cigar blog, but I thought it might be fun to give some direct reporting from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Day seven in Japan, and we are still on our long trip. We caught the Shinkansen from Yokohoma at 0630—our earliest day. Onigiri, beer, sake, and hot drinks from the kiosks, and we are ready for the trip to Hiroshima. Part of the flare of travel on the Shinkansen is eating a bento and drinking sake while traveling at almost 300 km per hour. Every time another Shinkansen passes you, the entire train shakes.

We arrived after noon at Hiroshima and went to the Peace Museum. It’s all a huge play on the emotions. I really wish they presented the Japanese atrocities next to the moment that ended their war of aggression and saved over 20 million lives. The visit is worth it. The school kids were everywhere. The pathos is incredible. We also discovered a little known secret—a water taxi goes from the Hiroshima Peace Museum area to Miyajimacho and back. Whatever you do, don’t miss this—the price is a little steep, but you get a 45 minute water taxi all the way to Miyajimacho and then back to Hiroshima. Our Air BnB was in Hiroshima near the Peace Museum—that’s why this was such a great deal. If you don’t go this way, you will be going by bus, subway, train, and then water to Miyajimacho. Now, why Miyajimacho—this is the torii out in the water. This is one of the three most famous Japanese scenes. The Miyajimacho shrine is the shrine on the water with the water torii gate. The deer there will also eat your tickets and bother you. In addition to the shrine, the island is covered with other shrines and temples. We went to the famous shrine on the water and to the famous Buddhist shrine up the hill. There are numerous shrines and temples in this area. This is one of the locations of the famous 1001 Buddhas. These are small Buddhas. They are still magnificent. The Buddhist temples are almost like amusement parks compared to the stoic power of the Shinto shrines. In any case, you don’t want to miss this island if possible. Also, while there, you need to try the oysters. They sell them on the street. The oyster curry buns are awesome. The oysters cooked in their own shells are sweet and savory.

Back to Hiroshima proper and just behind the Peace Museum, you must go to the little okonomiyaki place on the corner. You can’t miss it. This is where you get your okonomiyaki. An okonomiyaki is a pancake made of noodles, cabbage, batter, an all kinds of fun stuff on top. Even if this doesn’t sound tasty to you, you have to try it. You can easily share one for two people. I ate three quarters of mine, but I was hungry. This is a piece of Japanese food culture, you should not miss.

We walked back to our Air BnB for the evening. Here is another fun piece of info. Our Air BnB was right outside a small Japanese bar. Most Japanese bars are small—tiny compared to the US or Europe. They fit less than ten people. The bar right outside our place was tiny and we were the only people in it. We watched baseball and the Carps lost.

End of day seven.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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