Writing – part x806, Writing a Novel, Changing World and Literacy

16 June 2019, Writing – part x806, Writing a Novel, Changing World and Literacy

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:  Deirdre and Sorcha are redirected to French finishing school where they discover difficult mysteries, people, and events.

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:  Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel?  I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together.  We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing.

To start a novel, I picture an initial scene.  I may start from a protagonist or just launch into mental development of an initial scene.  I get the idea for an initial scene from all kinds of sources.  To help get the creative juices flowing, let’s look at the initial scene.

  1. Meeting between the protagonist and the antagonist or the protagonist’s helper
  2. Action point in the plot
  3. Buildup to an exciting scene
  4. Indirect introduction of the protagonist

The protagonist is the novel and the initial scene.  If you look at the four basic types of initial scenes, you see the reflection of the protagonist in each one.  If you noticed my examples yesterday, I expressed the scene idea, but none were completely independent of the protagonist.  Indeed, in most cases, I get an idea with a protagonist.  The protagonist is incomplete, but a sketch to begin with.  You can start with a protagonist, but in my opinion, as we see above, the protagonist is never completely independent from the initial scene.  As the ideas above imply, we can start with the characters, specifically the protagonist, antagonist or protagonist’s helper, and develop an initial scene.

Let’s look at a subject that is really ignored in the modern era.  I’m not certain how much this can help your current writing.  I would argue that theoretically, this subject can really help those who write historical and futuristic fiction.  It depends on how your write your historical and futuristic fiction.  There are two ways to write historical fiction—let’s look at this.

The first and most common way to write historical fiction is to write a novel that projects modern ideas and history as historical ideas and history.  In other words to present modern ideas and historical ideas as the same.  I think this is perhaps the most egregious and perverse means of presenting a false view of history.  The author is either completely ignorant of the past, is intentionally attempting to education people in a false view of history, or both.  The real historical world is very different both culturally and socially from our current world.  The true author attempts to convey this in historical writing.

The second and less common means of historical writing is to actually incorporate the past into a novel to convey the actual way people thought and acted in the past.  This approach actually goes back into time to give a complete view of the way the people thought and acted.  To this end, let’s look at how the world changed and how people thought in the past.  This is more of a historical look at the world for the purpose of understanding how the world worked in the past and how people thought and acted.  We’ll use historical information to see what concerned affected their lives. Here is a list of potential issues.  We’ll look at them in detail:

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Ideas
  3. Social construction
  4. Culture
  5. Politics
  6. History
  7. Language
  8. Common knowledge
  9. Common sense
  10. Reflected culture
  11. Reflected history
  12. Reflected society
  13. Truth
  14. Food
  15. Weapons
  16. Transportation
  17. Communication
  18. Writing

Perhaps the greatest change in cultures comes with literacy.  Before literacy a people can’t understand forms or complex ideas.  Studies have been accomplished on preliterate cultures and their concepts of the world are very interesting.  It might be easier to look back from a literate point of view.

The literate person, when a noun with a form is mentioned, imagines the word and not the picture of the word.  In a context, the literate person might engage their imagination to mentally see the picture being drawn by the sentence or paragraph, but if I say the word “chair,” a literate person will see the word in their mind.  Chair is a noun based on a form.  If you tried to imagine a chair as a type in your mind, what would you see?  You could imagine a million types of chairs, but as a form, a chair is something made by a person to sit upon that usually has four legs a bottom and a back.  The literate person sees the word “chair” in their mind and this provides the form.  Not so for the preliterate person.

A preliterate sees a specific chair in their mind.  It might be the grandmother’s chair or the chief’s chair, but because a preliterate can’t see a word, they can’t imagine a form.  Their conception of a chair must be a picture and not an archetype.  The same is true of every word in their vocabulary.  This becomes especially important for complex nouns and verbs especially those without any picture that can be tied to them.

I can imagine “run” or “walk.”  These verbs can be easily pictured.  What about the verb “love?”  How do you picture “love” in the context of a human action?  You can’t.  You can picture “hug,” “kiss,” and “sex,” but “love” is not a singular or easy action to understand.  Especially in the context of modern English.  Love is a word that must be viewed from a form or archetype that is the word “l-o-v-e.”

As literate people, these ideas are very difficult for us to comprehend.  We just use language and think about very complex ideas without giving it much real thought.  We don’t understand or realize that preliterate people and nonliterate individuals can’t understand the ideas we take for granted.  They have no way of understanding them.  Think about “love” again.  If I can’t picture the concept as an action in my mind, I can’t comprehend it.  How does a preliterate or a nonliterate understand love?  The answer is, they can’t.  Love is just one of those ideas in human understanding that requires an archetype.  Does this mean the preliterate or nonliterate can’t love?  The short answer is yes, they can’t.  A child who is preliterate can’t begin to understand love.  They can kiss and show affection, but love is such a complex concept there is absolutely no way they can begin to understand it.  They might be able to say the actual word, but it has no meaning without some context.  Plus, the complexity of the idea of love in English culture is so complex that even for the literate, love is a difficult idea to fully comprehend.

I wrote before about the evolution of the word “love” in human thinking.  It took a long time to get to the point where we understand and apply love.  In English, the word is so varied to be almost without concreteness.  I love my wife, my dog, my children, my mother, my father, my house, my food, my pizza, my books, my life, my job, and all of these loves are different in action, quality, and criticality.

The idea “love” is cultural and doesn’t mean the same thing in other cultures and especially in earlier cultures.  The same is true of many other complex ideas represented by words.  As I began, literacy is a critical change in a culture and society.

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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