6 November 2018, Writing – part x584, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Sounds Like
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.
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.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
- 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:
- 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
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.
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:
- 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
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.
- Reasonably written in standard English
- No glaring logical fallacies
- Reasoned worldview
- Creative and interesting topic
- A Plot
Here is a list of these basic language factors (standard English) that might prevent suspension of disbelief:
- Idioms and dialects
- 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.
What does your writing sound like both out loud and on the page? I’m not certain which is worse…or better. Some writing reads terribly out loud as well as on a page (silent reading). Some writing sounds pretty good when read out loud, but doesn’t seem cohesive on the page. Some writing looks great on the page, but sounds terrible when read out loud. What can we do about this, and what does this have to do with the suspension of disbelief?
There is no suspension of disbelief if the dialog sounds terrible either out loud or on the page. I would say that usually if it reads well out loud, it can stand as good writing. But, as I noted, I have seen some writing that read well out loud, but not so well on the page. What can we do?
Number one, read everything out loud. I usually wait until the final edit for this step, but if you have had problems with sounds like, you need to do this more often. If you hear even a quaver when reading out loud, you need to fix it. Whatever it is, fix it.
Number two, one of the most common features of poor sounding dialog is lack of contractions. Speech is almost completely made with contractions. Lack of contractions looks and sounds wrong.
Number three, reduce direct address. Next to contractions, this is the most misused piece of dialog writing. Most conversation only has direct address—calling a person by their name—rarely if ever. You will find direct address when in a conversation and trying to gain a person’s attention. Pre conversation when addressing a person. Early conversation in introductions. And…that’s about it. If you listen to most conversations, especially between friends or associates—there is no direct address. Therefore, getting rid of direct address is a better approach than keeping it.
Now, about sounds like problems in narrative. This is usually due to grammar problems, word misuse, or the incorrect word. Grammar problems are problematic. If you can’t write standard English, I can’t help you much. I’ve tried to help with the more complex grammar forms or grammar forms constantly misused, but basic grammar is one of the minimal skills required to write fiction.
Misused or an incorrect words are a little easier. However, if you can’t catch these in context, you need to somehow train yourself to be able to. This is a question of familiarity and experience. Familiarity means reading and writing skill as well as knowledge. Experience means reading and writing skill in context. If this is a problem for you, either get into the habit of checking every questionable word or build your vocabulary by reading and writing for practice.
This isn’t the end of the story, but we shall conclude.
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