Writing – part x582, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Understanding

4 November 2018, Writing – part x582, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Understanding

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I’ll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  More information can be found atwww.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels–I think you’ll really enjoy them.

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 withhttp://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.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

  1. 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)
  3. Research as required
  4. Develop the initial setting
  5. Develop the characters
  6. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  7. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  8. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  9. Write the climax scene
  10. Write the falling action scene(s)
  11. Write the dénouement scene

I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential titleBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30thnovel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working titleDetective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.

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 30:  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 31:  TBD

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         

Today:  Suspension of disbelief is the characteristic of writing that pulls the reader into the world of the novel in such a way that the reader would rather face the world of the novel rather than the real world—at least while reading.  If this occurs while not reading, it is potentially a mental problem.  To achieve the suspension of disbelief your writing has to meet some basic criteria and contain some strong inspiration.  If you want to call the inspiration creativity, that works too.  Here is a list of the basic criteria to hope to achieve some degree of suspension of disbelief.

  1. Reasonably written in standard English
  2. No glaring logical fallacies
  3. Reasoned worldview
  4. Creative and interesting topic
  5. A Plot
  6. Entertaining
  7. POV

Here is a list of these basic language factors (standard English) that might prevent suspension of disbelief:

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Grammar
  3. Dialog
  4. Language
  5. Idioms and dialects
  6. Understanding
  7. Terms
  8. Sounds like

Generally, we write about problems with your writing that might prevent suspension of disbelief.  The assumption is that you can write well enough to produce a work where suspension of disbelief is possible, and the problem is to keep the reader in that suspension of disbelief.

The ultimate question of the prevention of being knocked out of the suspension of disbelief is understanding.  If the reader doesn’t understand something, they will begin thinking about that instead of thinking about what they are reading.  The moment their brain becomes unlocked from the train of the words, bang, the reader is knocked out of the suspension of disbelief.

The question is how do we assure understanding?  We’ve looked at these issues to some degree already.  We looked at vocabulary, definitions in context and directly in the text.  We saw how a lack of comprehension of idioms and dialects can drive a reader out of the suspension of disbelief.  General understanding incorporates all of this.  If you look back at my rule number one—do not confuse your readers.  This should be your cardinal rule.  There is no I’ve got a secret with an understanding of the text, but there are still lots of secrets in the plot.  Secrets are revealed in the plot but not in the narrative.  That’s my rule four and four a.  Show everything on the stage of the novel, but don’t tell everything in the plot all at once.  The plot is revealed.

Now to understanding.  The point is that whatever you write, you need to ensure your writing can be understood.  Clarity in writing means presenting the plot in such a way that the reader can see, feel, taste, smell, and hear the world of the writing.  Lack of clarity means obfuscating, difficult language, unnecessarily dense word use.  Some writers state that the use of too many words, adverbs, or certain constructions causes misunderstanding.  I’ll go for that to a degree.  I don’t like to use the word “said.”  I don’t like the use of the present participle in narrative.  I recommend the use of precise but not dense words.  I recommend reducing the past perfect as much as possible.  I also have my list of watch words which I recommend trying to reduce as much as possible these are:

-ing

had

-ly

were

was

gotten

even

said

got

utilize

Reducing these words will help meet my personal construction reductions.  Does this help understanding?  I can’t say it does precisely, but it does improve your writing.  I can assure you that.

Perhaps the most important point of understanding is to try to picture the plot and world your writing is producing.  Can you see the picture?  Read our writing out loud.  Can you understand what you are trying to say?  Leave it for a week and read it—can you still fully understand what you were trying to convey?

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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