Writing – part x196, Novel Form – Japan day 9

14 October 2017, Writing – part x196, Novel Form – Japan day 9

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 nine in Japan, and we are still on our long trip. Still in Kyoto. You must spend at least two days in Kyoto. Just like Tokyo, there is so much to see. First stop of the day is the Kinaku-ji Temple, also called the Golden Palace. This is a shrine, temple, and summer home. It’s the famous retirement house of one of the famous Shogunate leaders. A crazy monk burned it down in 1956, but it was rebuilt. This is so typical of Japanese buildings—they burn down and are rebuilt. You can almost bet on it. The building is beautiful, and you can get wonderful NG (National Geographic) shots everywhere. Since it is a shrine, you can also get your enma (shrine board souvenir).

From the golden palace, we went to the original Imperial Palace. You can’t go inside, but you can see inside and you can walk all around. You can also get your stamps. This is a really worthwhile place to visit. Make sure you go on a day when it is open. From the Imperial Palace, we took a taxi to Fire Ramen for lunch.

Fire Ramen is the place to see for “Fire Ramen.” I ain’t kidding. They make ramen and pour burning oil on top of it. You have to put on a bib, an apron, sit back, and be ready. When the burning oil goes on the fresh shallots on the ramen, it literally explodes. Oil and fire go everywhere. You and your clothing are protected, but watch out for missing eyebrows. The ramen has a taste that is hard to describe. It’s Fire Ramen. Pretty typical, but the show and the special flavor are worth it.

From Fire Ramen, we went to Nijo Castle. I think we eventually saw all the standing castles in Japan. I know we saw the best. Nijo Castle is worth the visit, and so is the Heian Shrine.

On our way to dinner we hit the big souvenir place. I told you I would tell you the secret of souvenirs in Japan. The first is the enma boards. You can’t go wrong—they are unique and relatively cheap. The stuff you really want like tea sets, sake sets, kimonos, yukatas, obis, and other kool Japanese stuff will cost you a pretty penny if you try to buy it new. The Japanese don’t go for old stuff—they sell or give it away and it ends up in second hand stores all over the place. We are talking about more than 50 to 90 percent off of the original cost. The Japanese take such good care of their stuff, most of these second hand items are like brand new. There are department stores for second hand called Hard-Off, Hobby-Off, Office-Off, Book-Off, and etc. We found a big Book-Off in Kyoto on the way to dinner. I literally found something I wanted that was like new, with the box, and at least 50% less than the original cost. You can find all kinds of deals like this. This is why I said for you not to buy your Ghibli souvenirs at the Ghibli Museum—you can buy them for 50% less at the nearest Hard-Off.

Additionally, the other places to buy your really kool pure Japanese souvenirs are at antique stores, second hand stores, and shrine sales. I’ll talk about them later.

We made out way to Toma Sushi in the Gion district for sushi. This is the top rated sushi in Kyoto. We went up stairs and sat on the tatami mats and ordered all kinds of great sushi. I had the nigari selection and it was great. Toma Sushi is down a back alley, but worth the trip, and when you exit, you can take all kinds of great night shots in Gion Kyoto.

End of day nine.

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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