Writing – part x867, Writing a Novel, Changing World and Reflected History

16 August 2019, Writing – part x867, Writing a Novel, Changing World and Reflected History

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

In writing, the author must define the real, reflected, and the created.  If you notice, this fits directly into the different worldviews or settings.  The real is completely real in setting or worldview.  The reflected is real however, it includes concepts that are not necessarily real but some or many humans agree with either historically, ideologically, religiously, or theoretically agree or know about them.  For example, myths, imaginary creatures like dragons, vampires, and fairies, gods and goddesses, and all.  Created means invented or extrapolated—basically science fiction.  The real is the known and the knowable.  The fiction trade space is the unknown and the unknowable.

The intersection of the reflected worldview is common knowledge, common sense, and history.  There is a great deal of history in the reflected worldview.  For example, I’m not certain Bram Stoker made any connection between his Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, but Vlad was a real person and within the novel Dracula is an implied connection.

The connections don’t have to be implied, they can be stated, used, and examined.  For example, in my novels, I select known historical places of Fae or ancient British magic and myth for my settings.  I actually accomplish intensive research on these types of places and areas—the reason is to provide both implied and real connections to my reflected worldview.  Authors who write in a real worldview do the same.

For example, if I were to set a novel in Paris, I would use all the real places around Paris for their historical and real world existence—in fact I have.  My yet unpublished novel Sister of Light is set in Paris in the late 1920s.  Why wouldn’t a real worldview writer use historical realities to populate his or her novels?  In fact, we call this type of writing historical fiction.  The reflective worldview author simply plays off the entire historical signature of the place and times.

What I’m writing about is myth, folklore, and rumors.  All of these are powerful motifs in reflective fiction.  They also are included in real or historical fiction.  The difference is that in real or historical fiction, myths, folklore, and rumors are either just creative elements or intentional red herrings.  In reflective fiction, myths, folklore, and rumors become setting elements, Chekov’s guns, and plot elements.  They aren’t red herrings that the writer then uses to turn into plot twists—that is real solutions to apparently spiritual or miraculous events.  For example, the logical crime initially portrayed as committed by a spiritual or a mythical creature.  In reflected fiction, it is always possible that in a plot twist from reality, that the crime was committed by a spiritual or mythical creature.

The connections an author provides are historical based on reality and historical based on human myth, folklore, and rumors.  The wise author fits all this into a reflected culture that makes sense to the readers.

This is what I was describing yesterday.  The culture of the reflected should explain directly or by implication why most people can’t detect or see it.  Here is where the author uses elements of the real world to project the reflective on his readers.  For example, when most people get up in the middle of the night, they notice every noise, every creak in the house.  Every sound and everything not seen is a chance to express the reflected.  The author doesn’t have to directly explain this, they author should leave this to the imagination of the reader.

In a simple example, the author might connect sounds in the night with fairies gathering.  The description of the sounds would be similar to those anyone might hear.  The final blow is to connect the sounds to events or to myth, folklore, and rumors.  This is a simple example, but the point isn’t to directly state the connections but to imply the connections.

One tool I use in my reflective writing is I don’t say why normal people can’t see the mythical, I directly state or imply why my reflective characters can see the mythical.  In some cases, I imply that anyone can see some of the characters I introduce, but that these beings chose who they appear to.  All of this is directly explained or implied by history.

The trick is to use what people already know (common knowledge) and already understand (common sense) and apply it in a fashion that is entertaining.

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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