Writing – part x226, Novel Form, Building Emotional Tension and Release

13 November 2017, Writing – part x226, Novel Form, Building Emotional Tension and Release

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

I’m writing from Suda Bay, Crete.

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 your scenes.

Here is an example of developing or building emotional tension and release in a scene. This example is from Shadow of Darkness an Ancient Light novel. In this scene, Sveta has just begun to have flashback dreams of her incarceration under the NAZIs. She was held as a prisoner of Germany for almost three years. She lived in a dark hole in the ground under the Nues Museum and allowed only occasionally out.

At the moment of her escape, Sveta was captured by the Russians and is now in Moscow. Vasily Grossman took her back to live with his family until Klava, a woman in the fifth shock army can come retrieve her.

The point of this scene is to show first an emotional based scene that produces emotion in your readers. I consider yesterday’s example to be a nonemotional scene that produces emotion in your readers.

In this example the characters show various emotion, but I want you to note where the reader’s emotions are drawn and tested. I also want you to note how much is unsaid in the example. Here it is. In this example, Sveta has had one of her horrible flashback dreams. The result is that she can’t wake up, but she is responding without apparent voluntary control

Katya woke to Sveta’s screams. They were horrible and pathetic. Sveta spoke in a strange language. Strange words punctuated her screams. Katya shook her, “Wake up Sveta. Wake up. It’s only a dream.” Sveta would not awake. Katya yelled, “Papa, Papa, come quickly.”

Vasily ran to the small room. He was tying on his robe, “What’s wrong, Katya.”

“Sveta is dreaming, and I can’t wake her.”

Olga yawned and peeked in through the door. She was dressed in her heavy nightgown, “Tell the child to be quiet. The whole house will be on us in a moment.”

Katya cried, “I can’t make her stop. Help her father.”

Vasily tried to shake Sveta, that only seemed to make it worse. He tried to speak gently and softly to her. She continued to scream, a hoarse strange cry that was punctuated by words, strange words like nothing he had ever heard before, “She is having a fit. What has come on you child. Please stop.”

Sveta’s cries continued. The strange words continued.

A knock came at the door. Olga smirked at Vasily, “There I told you. You’d better talk to them.”

Vasily yelled over Sveta’s cries, “What will I tell them?”

Olga rolled her eyes, “Let me handle the girl. You get the door.”

Vasily looked at the thrashing and screaming Sveta, then at Katya, finally at Olga, “Don’t hurt her.”

“I won’t hurt her. Get the door Vasily Semyonovich Grossman.”

Vasily left and ran to the front room. Olga stepped into the room and sat on the bed.

Katya stood with tears flowing down her cheeks. Her hands were clasped as though she wanted to pray, but didn’t know what words to say, “Please Olga, don’t hurt her.”

Olga only gave a sad smile and grasped Sveta around her arms. She held her close like a baby with one arm and pulled her legs together with the other. Olga pulled Sveta into her lap. Sveta stopped trashing around, and Katya gave a quick sob. Still the horrible sounds and words flowed from between Sveta’s lips. Olga pressed Sveta’s face against her and clearly, but softly spoke, “Stop Sveta. You are safe. Don’t cry. Don’t be afraid.” She crooned on and on. Slowly Sveta’s cries lessened. She seemed to be listening. She whimpered and her face screwed up in a sad semblance of her usual features. Olga held her tightly and spoke reassuringly to her, “Stop, sweet Sveta. No one will hurt you. I’m here.”

Sveta’s eyes abruptly opened wide. She stared at the woman holding her and stiffened, “Olga? Olga, I’m so sorry.” She began to cry, “Please, Olga, don’t make me go away. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Olga held her even closer, “Hush! Sveta, no one will make you go away.” She stroked her hair, “I know what you are dreaming. I know what you are feeling. Hush now.”

Sveta relaxed in Olga’s arms, “You won’t send me away, please.”

Olga shook her head, “I won’t send you away. I know what you are dreaming. I know what frightens you.”

“How…how could you…know?”

Olga kissed Sveta’s hair and her cheeks. She did not loosen her grip, “The NKVD put me in their prison until Vasily could convince them to let me out. I spent only a little time there, but I recognize your cries. I had no one to soothe my fears then either. I know what it is to be kept in a cell. I won’t let that happen to you.” She clucked and shook her head.

Vasily came back in the room, “Thank Adoni you could quiet her. The neighbors were…understanding.”

Olga continued to hold Sveta, “Go back to bed, Vasily. I’ll be there in a moment.”

Vasily left them, and Olga motioned to Katya, “Come here Katya. You heard?”

“Yes, Olga. I heard.”

“Your father saved me.”

Sveta gave a shuddering breath, “I thought you hated me, Olga Mikhailovna.”

“Perhaps at one time I did. Perhaps I still do. The NKVD put a black mark on my soul, Sveta. That makes it hard for me to love or trust anyone. But I can’t hate you when you cry out just as I once did. There was no one to hold me then, but I am here to hold you.”

Sveta began to speak. Olga put her fingers over her lips, “No, Svetlana. Don’t begin to tell me or anyone what you might have experienced. That will only bring it back worse than it was before. Trust me. I know. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You don’t owe anyone a reason. You don’t have to tell anyone about anything that makes you fear or that once brought you fear. Don’t become like me, but don’t let anyone know your pain or suffering. It is over now. It is enough that I know. You may not want me as your sister, but we are sisters in this terrible thing. I understand.” She held Sveta tightly for a long time and slowly she let the girl down on the bed, “Try to sleep now. I know it is hard. You may dream again, but I will be here for you. I promise.”

“Thank you, Olga Mikhailovna.”

Olga motioned for Katya to get into bed. She did and Olga pulled the covers over them and tucked them both in, “Now sleep and do not dream.” She kissed Katya and Sveta on the cheek, “Go to sleep.”

Olga was right, Sveta could not sleep. She prayed her rosary over and over until the morning came and finally gave a little relief to her darkness.

If you notice, the emotive moments for the reader are the least emotive moments for the characters. In the beginning, Katya and Vasily try what they can, but they don’t have the experience to help Sveta. Olga recognizes Sveta’s problem right away—she has experienced similar problems in the past. She was once held in Stalin’s prisons. This is true, by the way. Olga was in Stalin’s prisons and somehow Vasily got her out. This is all historically true.

We would likely call Sveta and Olga’s problem PTSD today. However, there is much more to this type of PTSD. In this case, they were both subjected to torture, imprisonment, and suffering. The readers and the characters know this about Sveta. Olga resented the fact that Vasily brought Sveta back to Moscow with him—she is jealous. This is why Vasily and Katya both plead that Olga not hurt Sveta. Do you see how this is emblematic of the emotional development in this scene? The exact same type of emotional development goes on when Olga confesses to similar feelings and fears. The reader is not touched by the emotion Katya shows when she pleads with Olga to not hurt Sveta. They are not touched by the lack of emotion Olga displays. They are touched by the pity (reflection of the perceived suffering and misery) of Sveta and Olga.

This is a powerful scene, not because of the emotion of the characters, but because of the circumstances of the characters. They have both shared in torture and incarceration. They have both faced foes without control or power. This is what we call the creation of pity. There is some fear development, but I’ll give an example of that next.

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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Writing – part x225, Novel Form, yet Another Example of Building Tension and Release

12 November 2017, Writing – part x225, Novel Form, yet Another Example of Building Tension and Release

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

I’m writing from Bournemouth, England.

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 your scenes.

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene. This example is from Shadow of Darkness an Ancient Light novel. This is one of my favorite scenes in this novel. The point of this scene is to reveal one of Lumière’s (Sveta’s) special language skills.

The girl in this scene is Lumière—she has been blessed with the name Sveta by her Russian saviors. Lumière and Sveta mean the same thing: light. She was wounded while she was trying to escape the Germans and the Russians during the battle for the Reichstag building. Sveta has returned to Moscow with Vasily Grossman. Vasily has borrowed the use of a dacha (a summer house) and has taken his family and Sveta there for a month.

There is much said and unsaid in this example. Look carefully at the example. Look how I use the creative elements to build an entertaining tension and release. Look at how the conversation and the action interact. The point is all entertainment, and at the same time, I am moving the plot forward toward the climax of the novel. Let’s look at the example.

Fedya ran up the path toward the dacha. He was just in time to meet his mother, Katya, and Sveta as they made their way down the road toward the middle of Peredelkino. They headed toward the small railroad depot straight down the street. The trees thinned a little, but not much. Sveta did not slow them down too much. Not many were on the streets. Those that were, only stopped for a moment to stare at the girl with the cane.

When they reached the crossroad nearest the railroad depot, just across the street was the rabbi’s book store. Olga continued on to the market. When she left them, she called, “Don’t get into any trouble. I’ll pick you up on the way back. You can carry my bags.”

Katya and Fedya led Sveta into the bookstore. The bell on the door rang, a gentle tinkle. It was more for the rabbi’s wife than the rabbi. He always stood or sat at the back. The store was not large. It smelled of old dust and paper with a topping of cinnamon and nutmeg. The books were on shelves and on tables, on chairs and stools—they filled the place. The most precious were held safe in old glass fronted cases at the back. The rabbi greeted them with a smile on his face. He was tall, sported a long beard, and dressed in black. The rabbi was not old or young. He never seemed to change. He glanced up from the book he was reading, “Good afternoon. You are Grossman’s children?”

Katya walked up to him, “Yes, rabbi Mosa. This is Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova. She is our friend.”

“Kopylova?” the rabbi stroked his beard, “That does not sound Jewish.”

“She is not Jewish, but she is still our friend,” Katya emphasized the association.

“Yes, I see,” Rabbi Mosa returned to his book, but he kept an eye on Sveta. He always kept a special eye on goyim in his bookstore.

The rabbi’s wife stepped through the large door in the back—she had heard the bell ring. The rabbi’s wife was plump and always smiling. Katya and Fedya only knew her as the rabbi’s wife. She took one look at them and smiled more widely, “Hello children, you will need sweets?” She took one look at their downcast features and smiled again, “Perhaps later.” Then she disappeared behind the door that led to her mysterious and wonderful kitchen.

Katya and Fedya knew they had limited time today and almost unthinkable time for the next month. At the beginning of vacations it always seemed that way. They jumped unorganized from stack to stack and tried to determine what was new and what newer. They had not been in the store for years, and the titles all seemed new to them.

Sveta discerned almost immediately the pattern in rabbi Mosa’s catalog. He placed Russian works by author and period. She hobbled around the shop a couple of times and found a few stacks each in French, German, Latin, Greek, as well as other languages. The books that most intrigued her were those in the cases. She was attracted to them like a fly to honey. The rabbi’s brow rose when he saw her at his special cases. He half stood when she opened one. Her fingers reverently caressed the books, and for one moment that reduced his anxiety, but then she pulled one down. She opened it and her eyes lit up. She disappeared behind the stacks.

With a grumble, the rabbi stood and walked slowly to where he could watch the girl. Along the long row, she sat on a cleared stool and appeared to read the book. Her flushed face was filled with wonder and excitement.

He watched her for a while, perplexed. Then, he slipped a little closer as though stalking her. He shuffled a little closer. Finally he stood right above Sveta. The book she held, contained no pictures or Russian words. It was a book in Hebrew, an ornate book but without the Masoretic vowel points or word separations. The rabbi could barely read it himself. It was the book of Ruth. His deep voice rang out, “Little goyim, what are you doing?”

Sveta didn’t look up, “I am reading.” Her raspy whisper grated on the rabbi’s ears.

“Reading?”

“Reading.”

At the strength of the rabbi’s voice Katya and Fedya looked up. Katya moved toward the rabbi—she couldn’t see Sveta.

“I don’t believe it,” the words were like blows. The rabbi didn’t mean them so roughly, but he obviously couldn’t believe the word of this goyim child.

The rabbi’s wife stepped out of the kitchen to see what was going on.

Sveta looked up from the book to the rabbi. Her mouth was open in astonishment as though she could not understand what the rabbi meant.

“Why are you gawking at me like that child? You can’t read that book. You are lying to me. The book is very expensive. I think you should put it away and leave my store.”

Sveta could not imagine being expelled from the presence of so many beautiful books, “Please Rabbi Mosa, don’t make me leave your wonderful store.”

He almost gave in to her. What matter that she lied to him and pawed his most valuable books if she thought his store wonderful. Instead he browbeat her, “Why don’t you speak out right instead of whispering? What are you hiding?”

“N, n…othing,” she stammered.

“If you are not hiding anything, then why are you lying about reading the book and why do you speak like you are scheming something.”

“I can’t help how I sound,” Sveta’s cheeks were burning, “I can read it.”

“You can’t,” the rabbi’s voice rose.

“I can…I can.”

The rabbi gazed around for Katya and Fedya. He appealed to them, “Children, your friend says she can read this book. It is ancient Hebrew written in Torah style. Do you know if she can read it?”

Katya and Fedya both numbly shook their heads. They were both worried themselves about being expelled from the bookstore for the whole summer.

The rabbi put his hands on his hips, “There child. Your friends say you cannot read it. You cannot read it.” He grabbed the book from her hands and hauled Sveta up by her right arm.

Sveta cried out in pain and alarm, “Please don’t hurt me. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You lied.”

Sveta blanched tottering on her feet. She bowed her head, “I didn’t lie.”

The rabbi shook the book under her nose, “No goyim child can read this book. This is a book for Hebrew scholars. Not even many rabbis can read this book. What makes you think you can?”

Sveta wiped her face with the back of her hand, “I can.”

The rabbi’s wife stepped a little closer. She stood at the end of the row, “Mosa. Stop yelling at the child and test her.”

“Test her?”

“Have her read it, Mosa. If she can’t, then banish her from your store. If she can…”

“She can’t. It is impossible.”

“Many things are possible. Many things are impossible, but they happen—test the child, don’t berate her.”

Fedya and Katya stood trembling hoping against hope, the rabbi’s ire would not turn itself on them.

Rabbi Mosa scratched his head. He stuck the book in front of Sveta’s face, “Very well. If you can read the book, the book a rabbi scholar can’t read—read it!”

With shaking hands, Sveta slowly reached out for the small book. She took it lovingly in her hands and opened it. She sucked in a deep breath and opened her mouth. And out of her mouth came breathlessly beautiful Hebrew. Her words were whole and fine. She read and Rabbi Mosa stood straight up, and for a moment, appeared completely amazed. He stroked his beard and mumbled, “She reads it perfectly. She has no Russian in her accent.” He stared at his wife, “She speaks like the rabbi at Moscow.” His face changed from amazement to anger, “It is impossible. It is a trick.” He pulled the book from her as Sveta was reading in the middle of a passage.

His wife clucked her tongue and made the sign warding the evil eye, “She was in the middle of the words. You imperil us all.”

“Oh hush, woman.” He put his fists on his temples, “I must discover this trickery.”

“Ha, wife before, woman now. If it is trickery. It is the greatest trick I have ever seen.”

“Here, can she read more?” The rabbi stepped over to the next case and pulled out an ancient volume, “Read this if you can Svetlana Evgenyevna, the goyim.”

Sveta gingerly took the heavy volume. Her hands were still shaking and her legs were shaking now too.

“There is no way you could ever have seen this.”

Sveta turned to the first page. She had never seen its like before. But, in her memories, she never remembered reading Ruth in Hebrew before. She never remembered knowing Hebrew before. She just could read it. But these words in this book she never had seen before. She paused a moment and glanced at the red face of the rabbi, then she began. Her words did not flow as perfectly with the text, but she prized them out word by word sentence by sentence slowly and surely gaining momentum as she found the voice of the author.

The rabbi rubbed the side of his head. His eyes widened, and his face revealed more than one thought and emotion.

The rabbi’s wife came up behind Sveta. She gently put her hands on the girl’s shoulders. She knelt beside her, “Mosa, you gave her a Talmud work in the Masoretic style to read. She could not know it. She reads it better than the rabbi of Kiev.”

“I see,” the rabbi half turned around.

“Mosa, you frightened the child. You made fun of her and made her sad. You frightened Grossman’s children. All this sweet child wanted to do was read your books.”

“I understand.” He took a half step back and cleared his throat, “Svetlana Evgenyevna, I owe you an apology. I don’t know how…”

“Mosa, you can’t have an apology with buts in it.”

“I apologize, Svetlana Evgenyevna. Will you forgive me and accept this book of Ruth for your own.”

Sveta pursed her lips and nodded, “I can’t help how I speak.”

Katya had come all the way around the row and up beside the rabbi’s wife, “She was injured in the war. She can’t help the way she speaks.”

Rabbi Mosa chewed his lip, “I apologize for that rudeness also. Forgive me, Svetlana Evgenyevna.” The rabbi held out the beautiful little Hebrew book of Ruth.

“I can’t take such a fine book from you, Rabbi Mosa.”

He pushed the book into her hands, and tried to smile at her, “You can and you must—I insist.”

The rabbi’s wife turned Sveta around, “He means it. He would not give you a book if he didn’t. If you don’t accept it, his Erev, Yom Kippur will be ruined, and he will never receive his atonement.”

The rabbi’s smile turned much more genuine at that remembrance, “I do insist. It is as my wife says. I do atone for my mistake.”

Sveta just softly intoned, “Thank you, Rabbi Mosa.”

His wife laughed, “The rabbi should thank you for the lesson in humility. I shall myself even if he doesn’t.” She stood and glanced around. “Come here Grossman children and their friend. I have fresh cinnamon bread that was supposed to be for the rabbi’s supper. I think his atonement should be that you each get a slice with fresh butter. The rabbi’s wife led them through the mysterious door to a well lit large kitchen with a big table. She sliced cinnamon bread, put a thick spread of butter on it, and served it to the three with fresh milk. She gave an extra slice to Sveta, “Svetlana Evgenyevna, you look as though much bread would do you good.”

“You may call me, Sveta. I don’t deserve any greater title.”

Notice especially the last few paragraphs of the scene. I’ll call it the atonement of Rabbi Mosa. Look back at his words. Look at how the Hebrew book of Ruth is used as a creative element. Mosa tries to give the book to Sveta, but she says she can’t accept such a valuable book. The Rabbi’s wife becomes involved. There are references to Jewish festivals and atonement. The entire scene is centered on this release.

Each of these creative elements and the conversation is intended to draw out and build tension and release. This is entertaining. Let me point out the emotion in this scene. There is little emotion shown by the characters. The closest is when Sveta wipes her eyes. The emotion is in the reader. I can’t read this scene, my own scene, without feeling powerful emotion for Sveta and for the Grossman children. I can’t help but feel embarrassment for the Rabbi. This emotion comes to the reader, but not through the characters—the characters aren’t driven or racked with emotion, the readers are.

I think this is a very critical part of writing. The entertainment is the focus, but the emotional response of the readers is an important part of that entertainment. Emotions are not reflections of the emotions of the characters. Emotions come out of the tension and release in the scene. Perhaps I should center on that in the next post.

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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Writing – part x224, Novel Form, still Another Example of Building Tension and Release

11 November 2017, Writing – part x224, Novel Form, still Another Example of Building Tension and Release

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

I’m writing from Goose Bay, Canada.

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 your scenes.

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene. This example is from Shadow of Darkness an Ancient Light novel. This is an early scene, but not the initial scene. The power in this scene is not what is said, but rather in what is not said. This is what I would like you to look for.

The girl in this scene is Lumière. She was wounded while she was trying to escape the Germans and the Russians during the battle for the Reichstag building. She would have escaped too—except a German soldier decided to fire an anti-tank weapon at her. She was gravely wounded. She survived and is healing. Vasily Grossman who is a real person in history, and a person I have tried to describe and reflect as realistically as possible has become Lumière’s mentor and guardian. He is taking her back to Moscow at the end of the war (WWII).

Look carefully at the setting elements that are turned into creative elements and how they build tension and entertainment in the scene. Apart from the characters, the first is the passenger car. The second is the dress. The third is the book, a gift from Efim. Efim is based on a real person in history. For that matter, Klava is based on a real person in history. The next is the papers. Notice especially what is left unsaid concerning the papers. There are unspoken points about Efim’s book and the dress. I don’t point these out to the reader, because the reader can figure it all out for him or herself. The unsaid points are just as important as those directly expressed. There is more, but read the example.

In June with little fanfare Vasily packed up his gear, said goodbye to his friends, and prepared to board a train with Sveta, headed toward Moscow. Klava and Efim saw them off at the military siding where they had access to a rare passenger car. Sveta was dressed in a plain brown dress that was a little too big for her. Klava had hemmed it as well as she could, but there was just too much fabric to make it fit well. In it, Sveta appeared younger than her real years. Klava gathered Sveta in her arms and kissed her cheeks, “Little Sveta. I will miss you. You are a good child and a sweet girl. Don’t let them take advantage of you in Moscow.” She half turned to Vasily, “You keep your eyes on her—just like you would your daughter, Vasily.”

Efim held Sveta at arms length and kissed her cheeks. He handed her a very thick book.

Sveta stared at the book with great desire. She held it out in front of her and spoke in her raspy whisper, “I can’t take your favorite copy of War and Peace, Uncle Efim.”

Efim mumbled, “Take it. The trip to Moscow is long and you will need something to read. It is my favorite book.”

Sveta put her arms around his neck and hugged him as hard as her weak arms could. Efim finally took one hand out of his pocket and patted her shoulder. He explained lamely, “You like to read so much.”

Klava came close to Vasily, “I won’t give these to the girl. You must explain everything to her during your trip.” She handed him a packet of papers, “I gave her the name Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova.”

“That is your own patronymic and last name.”

“Don’t worry Vasily. I didn’t have to sign any of the papers. I got Colonel-General Berzarin to sign everything.” She blushed, “You needn’t ask how.”

“I wouldn’t, Klava.”

“I would do anything for Sveta, now. She is like my little sister. I wish I were going to Moscow with you. When I am released from service, I will come for her.” She turned very businesslike again, “In the packet are her traveling papers and her official documents. Make sure she understands everything. She may speak like she came from the university, but she is really like a child. Her mind has not completely recovered.”

“Thank you, Klava. You are a great friend,” Vasily shook her hand, and Klava kissed his cheek.

Efim half lifted Sveta onto the train and Vasily followed closely behind. At the step, Klava grasped Vasily’s hand, “Watch carefully over her, Vasily. Treat her like you would my sister or your daughter. I will seek her out if I am able, when I am able.”

Vasily nodded.

The train car was almost empty. The train service had just recently been restarted, and the Soviet machine was too slow to start pulling general soldiers back using this method. There was also some worry about the Americans and other Allies at the borders of captured Soviet territory. The Politburo was additionally concerned about the condition and internal security of the Soviet Union. The Soviet troops would stay in place for all these reasons.

Sveta moved slowly. The conductor stopped in front of her, and she turned her head slightly back toward Vasily.

Vasily pulled out his papers and hers with their travel vouchers, “I have her papers also.”

The conductor moved to the side and allowed Sveta to pass. She continued forward leaning on her cane and wheezing at each step.

Sveta found a seat at the back. When the conductor was content with their authorization, Vasily threw their bags on a seat and sat across from her. She stared around the train car and took in everything before she settled into the seat as comfortably as she could and opened the thick book Efim had given her. When she came across his note to her, she smiled with delight. By then the train was already moving, and the military siding was long out of sight.

When they were well away Vasily spoke to her, “Sveta, did you make Klava think you were not right in your mind?”

Sveta did not reply.

“Sweet Sveta, I understand why you would. I think I am beginning to understand something about you.”

She glanced up with apprehension.

“You do not need to fear me, Sveta. This I promise you.”

Sveta smoothed her dress and focused again on her new book.

“Are you ready to tell me what was happening in the world when I first found you?”

Sveta violently shook her head.

“I will ask you again. This, I promise you.”

Sveta stared out the window.

“This is something you are afraid to discuss. I wonder why and hope my curiosity is one day satisfied. But I will not burden you with this again for a while. There are other things much closer I must burden you with now.”

Sveta raised her eyes again in apprehension.

“Yes you should worry. I have papers here for you. Klava took a lot of risk to put them together. She loves you—you have that affect on people, and I’m not sure why. Your name is Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova.”

Sveta smiled at that.

“You like the name. It has a ring to it.”

“The papers say you are fifteen. You are an orphan from Moscow…”

Sveta leaned forward, “May I read them.”

Vasily had to listen closely to hear her soft voice over the noise of the train. He handed the packet to her.

“You must be careful with your papers. You must not lose them. Klava has done a fantastic job. These may be almost impossible to reconstruct. I have no way of knowing who you really are. I can’t believe you are a simple waif whose mind is slightly addled.” Vasily spoke gently to take the sting out of his words.

Sveta glanced up at him and cocked her head.

“You understand me well. I know you are hiding your past. I think I know why. In this time and this day, no one will think the worse of you. I think you are a well educated child of a wealthy family from France. I think a German leader took a fancy to your beauty and your intelligence. He abused you and stole your childhood. You do not want to return to France. I understand why. You do not want to stay in Germany. That should be obvious. I befriended you, and you will take your chances with me, Uncle Vasily. You have papers and in the Soviet Union, that gives you status and if not power, then the ability to live.

“I need to tell you about me and what to expect in Moscow. We have a lot of time. I will start at the beginning. My first wife was Anna Petrovna Matsuk. I called her Galya. We have a daughter Ekaterina, who is fifteen just like you. She is called Katya, and I think she will love you. Unfortunately I was not a very attentive father or husband and Anna Petrovna left me.

“My common law wife is now Olga Mikhailovna Guber. I adopted her two boys, Fyodor, my little Fedya and Misha. Misha did not survive the war,” Vasily stared out the window. “Olga will be the problem. She is not naturally jealous, but she will not know how to take you. I don’t wish arguments with her on the eve of victory and homecoming.”

Almost a whisper, “Why don’t you leave me here?”

Vasily shook his head, “At this point I could not leave you unprotected any more than I could leave my daughter alone. Do not ask me nor expect me to cause you that pain. A little suffering for Olga and me will be small recompense for your safety.”

“Why would you care about me, Uncle Vasily?”

He sat back and settled into his seat, “That is a very good question. I have thought about it for a long while. The first reason is the simplest. You are somehow a remarkable being who appeared to take the world into your control.” He ignored Sveta’s pained expression. “I don’t believe in anything supernatural anymore, and yet, you gave me a sudden reason to believe. I can’t quite understand it. Second, you are likely the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t desire you, but you are like a painting, excruciatingly beautiful and necessary to observe daily. Third, you are remarkably intelligent. I have met many intelligent people. Most want you to know just how bright they are. You can’t get away from them and their intellectual preening. You, on the other hand, try to hide your native abilities and knowledge. You made Klava think you were slightly deficient. Efim thinks you are an idiot savant. That is the only way he can explain your absorption of the Russian language. I know you have a marvelous intellect. You hide it well—too well. Fourth, somehow you make people love you.” Sveta blushed. “How this can be, I do not know. My mother once told me that old people and children had the power, if they desired it, to make people love them. She taught me French, by the way. You made Klava love you. You made Efim love you. You have made me love you. Why and how? I can’t readily fathom.”

Sveta stared at Vasily for only a moment more. Without a word, she returned to the book Efim had given her.

Vasily smiled down his nose at her. Under his breath, so he could not be heard above the noise of the train he said, “The right thing. You do the right thing every time. How can that be?”

Items and conversation drive this scene. The unsaid becomes a very powerful part of the expression and entertainment. I ask the readers to become participants in understanding the things that can’t and that should not be said. This is a very powerful method of scene development. I like to imagine that much of what my scenes are about are not spoken. I want to allow my readers to build their own conclusions based on what I have revealed to them and what they know from history.

History is an abiding point of this and all of my novels. I interject a part into real history that wasn’t there, but could have been there. I use history to drag you into a suspension of disbelief concerning all the other things I want to reveal to you. To me, this is reflective and powerful. I love to present scenes like this. I love to build ah ha moments for my readers.

I also want to point out Vasily’s observations about Lumière at the end of the scene. This is my chosen method of the revelation of my characters’ thoughts. I don’t want to show you their mind or what they are thinking—I want them to have the opportunity to reveal their thoughts in conversation, just like in real life. You can’t know anyone’s mind, and they might be lying to you. You can’t read minds, so why do we have mind readers in novels?

Vasily’s reflection to Lumière about her is a classic and wonderful technique and reveals much in the context of the scene that the reader has somewhat surmised and guessed—Vasily’s reflection just cements the ideas and knowledge. This contrast of spoken and unspoken is a powerful tool in scene development.

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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Writing – part x223, Novel Form, Another Example of Building Tension and Release

10 November 2017, Writing – part x223, Novel Form, Another Example of Building Tension and Release

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 your scenes.

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene. This example is from Shadow of Darkness an Ancient Light novel. This is an early scene, but not the initial scene. I want you to contrast this scene with the one from yesterday. Yesterday’s scene was sparse without any added creative elements (setting elements turned into tension creating elements). In this example, I want you to notice the use of stuff (setting elements turned into creative elements) used to create tension and release in the scene.

The girl in this scene is Lumière. She was wounded while she was trying to escape the Germans and the Russians during the battle for the Reichstag building. She would have escaped too—except a German soldier decided to fire an anti-tank weapon at her. She was gravely wounded. At this point in the novel, the point of view (POV) is Vasily who is based on a real person—a war correspondent assigned to the Russian Army. Vasily and Efim are both Soviet Russian Jews. Vasily is the future writer of the Black Book which documents the Fascists’ actions in the Holocaust against the Jews and others. This is just the historical setting. I should also mention, this scene takes place in the spring of 1945 just as the war (WWII) is winding down.

Efim drove up to the Fifth Shock Army headquarters. When the jeep halted, Vasily grabbed the girl in his arms and started toward the house where the correspondents stayed. He stopped and turned part way around, “Get the clerk Klava Kopylova.”

“Why her, Vasily? She’s practically the General’s PPZh, his campaign wife.”

Vasily started off again, “Just get her, Efim. She will be able to help.” Vasily took the gasping girl to the open main room and laid her on his cot. She was still bleeding. For the first time since he had taken her off the battlefield, she opened her eyes with some intelligence in them and stared up at him. Pain filled her gaze. Her lips trembled and blood leaked down the side of her face.

At her look Vasily bit his lip. He mopped at the blood with his handkerchief. He tied her bandages a little tighter. The girl began to gasp harder and pant. Vasily stroked her cheek, “Death won’t be much longer now, child.”

The headquarters clerk Klava ran into the room. She was a tall busty woman with an angular face and blond hair. She put her hand over her mouth, “What did you do, Vasily?”

“I could not let her die out in the dirt.”

“Is she dying?”

Vasily swallowed past a lump, “I think she is.”

“You can’t leave her here. Bring her into my room. There is an extra cot.”

Vasily picked up the girl and followed Klava.

They didn’t have to pass through the headquarters to get to Klava’s room. Klava pointed to the extra cot, “Why didn’t you take her to the field hospital?”

“I did.”

Klava stared expectantly at him.

“They wanted me to leave her with the dying soldiers.”

“Couldn’t do it? Is she a friend of yours?” Klava pulled off the girl’s shirt and began pulling off her pants. Vasily backed to the front of the room and turned away toward them.

“I…we saw her take a hit on the battlefield in front of the Reichstag. When I saw her, I couldn’t leave her to die there.”

“She is beautiful. No underthings. She’s likely a German orphan. That or a whore. If she isn’t, she’ll be soon enough—with the Fifth Shock Army around.”

“Klava after Treblinka, I couldn’t stand to see another of my people…”

“If you thought she was a Jew…she’s wearing a rosary.”

Vasily turned part way around. He turned back again, “Could she be a gypsy?”

“Her hair is too clean, and gypsy women don’t wear men’s clothing.”

“People will do anything to hide from the Nazi’s.”

“…and the Russian Army.”

“How do her wounds look?”

“Come help me turn her over. Come on Vasily. She’s like your daughter. Give me a hand.”

Vasily came over reluctantly. The girl was beautiful. At least what you could see under the blood and the bruising. She was not obviously wounded on the front of her body. He helped Klava turn the girl over. A chunk was carved out of her bloody right leg and shrapnel wounds peppered the back of the other leg and her buttocks. Her right arm had shrapnel cuts all over it. Klava and he began washing and bandaging her wounds. Klava looked up from her work, “You know, this won’t do her any good.”

“Why not?”

“If by the grace of God she survives, the shrapnel will kill her from the inside out. I’ve seen it lots of times.”

“Efim thinks she won’t survive anyway.”

“Her breathing isn’t as labored as it was. She doesn’t seem to have any punctures through her chest or lungs. I washed her entire back, and I can’t see any wound there.”

“Is it possible to bleed from your lungs and survive?”

“She isn’t bleeding much now. What she needs is a doctor.”

Vasily ran his fingers through his hair, “Do you have any idea where I can find one, Klava?”

“A German doctor, maybe. You might trade him bread or meat.”

“Do you mind if I leave her here with you.”

“Yes, I do, but you may leave her here anyway. When she dies, you must remove her body right away.”

“Can you stay with her until I get back?”

“No. I’m on shift now. I need to get back to work.”

“Can Efim stay with her?”

“If he will.”

“Just give me a moment. I’ll be back in a moment.”

Klava stared disdainfully at her bloody hands, “Very well, Vasily. Hurry.”

Vasily found Efim. He was waiting impatiently outside the headquarters, “Vasily, is she dead yet?”

“No, not yet. I need to go find a German doctor to treat her. You must stay with her while I go.”

Efim raised his hands, “I can’t stay with her. Her gasping was driving me crazy. I’m a father, I can’t stand to hear that.”

“You must, while I find the doctor.”

“I’ll find the doctor. I promise. You stay with the girl.” Efim ran off in the direction of their jeep, “I’ll look.”

“Don’t disappoint me, Efim.”

Vasily returned to Klava’s room where the girl now lay partially on her left side with a sheet and a woolen blanket covering her. Klava gave Vasily a single pained look, and the girl a longer one filled with compassion. She left the room.

In this example, distinct items create tension and release. The first is the girl, Lumière. She gives every appearance of dying. She is not really a person in this scene. She is a human being, but more than that, she is a helpless dying girl. She can’t really communicate. Her suffering is a direct pity building event. If you notice, she doesn’t show much emotion—she can’t. The others around her show all kinds of emotion. This is what I wrote about before in developing pity in your readers. There isn’t a whole lot of emotion being shown directly in the scene, but this scene drives extensive pity in the reader.

The extra cot in Klava’s room is another thing that drives tension—this gives mainly release, a place to put the girl. The girl’s clothing is another tension driver—Klava undresses her. The lack of underclothing becomes a tension and release developer—it allows the speculation about who the girl is. Vasily is unwilling to look at the naked girl, at first, then he helps after Klava reminds him, she is like his daughter. The naked girl drives tension and then release.

The Rosary also drives tension and release. Vasily and Efrim thought Lumière was Jewish, because of her complexion and hair. Klava notes, the girl is wearing a Rosary, this drives speculation and some more tension in the scene—will Vasily abandon the girl when he finds out she isn’t Jewish?

The most important thing to note is although many of these points are basic to the history and events, the “things” (setting elements turned into creative elements) used to drive the entertainment (tension and release) in the scene are what are important here. Each of the revealed elements drive this tension and release. Each of the revealed items drive the entertainment in the scene. The entertainment comes directly out of the tension and release. None of the items are necessary, but the scene turns each of them into Chekov’s Guns, each necessary for the scene. For example, the Rosary is an element from Lumière’s past and an item that is part of her being and character. It’s mention is necessary in context, but the tension it develops is palpable and powerful. Likewise, the lack of underclothing and the undressing. The observation of Lumière’s wounds. These are necessary in the context of the writing, but more so for the tension they develop in the scene.

I’ll mention the last tension development in the scene just to move on. Vasily, Klava, and Efrim all think the girl will die. This is the way of war—they all have seen it. There is hope, but little hope. Klava treated the girl and casually goes back to her post. There is still a touch of emotion, hidden emotion, in her advise to get a doctor. This is expressed more than once by Efrim and Klava—is she dead yet? They all expect the girl to die. They are all touched by her desire to live. This drives tension for the reader (pity) and in the scene.

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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Writing – part x222, Novel Form, Examples in Building Tension and Release

9 November 2017, Writing – part x222, Novel Form, Examples in Building Tension and Release

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 your scenes.

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene. This example is from Shadow of Darkness an Ancient Light novel. This is part of the initial scene from the novel. What I want you to notice in this example is the use of stuff (setting elements turned into creative elements) used to create tension and release in the scene.

This scene begins as an action and description oriented scene that turns into conversation then back to action and description. In the beginning of the scene, the setting elements in the scene begin to become creative elements. The Reichstag building is one of the key setting elements. Russian tanks and infantry along with German infantry in the Reichstag building begin to build tension. In fact, everything that prevents Oba and Lumière from moving where they want and need to, become tension builders. Then you have the battle which Lumière and Oba are enveloped in—you can read the scene.

During the day, they heard the movement and voices of many troops and people. Now, the language usually indicated Russian troops although, once or twice, German soldier’s voices cut through the afternoon while they hid. Lumière and Oba had made little progress east from the Museum. Each night when they attempted to move through the lines of troops, they found themselves forced back. Unwillingly they moved closer and closer back toward the river Spree, and eventually, they were forced to parallel the river. Russian and German troops vied for both sides of the river. The night before, for the first time Lumière and Oba moved to the west of the Neues Museum. They tried to spend the day in a depression near Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, but near noon, the sound of advancing tanks forced them into the woods and gardens just south of the Reichstag building. Through their cover, Lumière could glimpse the Reichstag. It was a bombed out shell. Russian tanks and soldiers moved toward them from the south, and German soldiers waited inside the Reichstag. Lumière discerned the glint of the Germans’ weapons as they took aim at the Russian soldiers. All at once, the crack of rifle fire and the pinging of bullets cut through the warming day. Lumière and Oba burrowed deeper into the sparse brush.

In the early afternoon, the Russians decided to rush the German positions. Lumière noticed with dismay that she and Oba were right in the center, almost directly between the two forces. “Oba, what will we do?”

“I don’t know, mistress. My skills are those of sneaking and ambush. Our travels have brought us directly into this conflict, and now I don’t know what to do. We can’t fight either of them, and both will kill us.” He stared at her then spat at the ground, “They will both seek to defile you.”

“If they can. I am not a weakling. I can defend myself.” She looked up, “Whatever we do, we must go now. The Russians are on the move, and I, like you, fear their tanks and their guns will make no exception for us. To the west Oba. Go!”

The motors of the tanks, not a hundred meters away, revved and machinegun fire and high explosive shells flew over their heads.

“Keep your head down, Oba.”

“Yes mistress.”

The huge Russian tank guns blasted yellow red spurts of deadly fire at the building. Stone dust burst into the air at each shot. Lumière heard the screams of dying men. German machinegun fire blazed everywhere, and she was astounded neither of them had been hit. Then Oba went down. He didn’t make a sound, just jerked backwards and fell to his knees.

“Oba!”

“It is nothing, mistress.”

“There is nowhere for us to go. Can you run?”

He stood up, “They will shoot you down, mistress. You run, I will draw their attention.”

“Oba, there are too many of them. We have nowhere to run. Nowhere to go.”

Oba didn’t say another word. He stood and began to run toward the line of Russian soldiers, then he yelled, “Mistress, run the other way, through the line of tanks.” At each word, Lumière saw a blast of blood and muscle burst from Oba’s body. She knew he would move until his body was cut to pieces—they could not kill him.

“No! Oba!” she screamed. Lumière removed a small tablet from her pocket. It was pure gold striped oddly with black lines. The tablet was about fifteen by ten centimeters and one centimeter thick. One side was marked with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and the portrait of a seated woman. Across the lips of the woman’s picture once was a frown, now it was neither a frown nor a smile. Her mouth was straight as though at any moment the lips might turn either way.

Lumière jumped up. She held the tablet in her hand and said a word. The word itself was encased in power. It rose up from her lips and seemed to swirl with sunshine. It was like a dust devil but formed of light and darkness instead of earth. The golden swirl rose up and expanded. It encased Oba and swept him along. It caught up the tanks and buffeted them mercilessly. Their guns stopped firing. The Russians who walked behind the tanks were bowled over. Their bodies buffeted and their weapons lost, but they were unharmed. When the golden light hit the Reichstag building, it washed over the stone and rushed through the windows. Each man it touched fell to the ground blinded and unmoving. The world became nearly silent in the wake of the thing the girl had created.

A German soldier took careful aim with an antitank weapon at the slim girl who stood between the Russian tanks and the Reichstag. He had many antitank Panzerfausts to fire at the Russian vehicles, and he expected to die today. What would the death of one girl mean to anyone? He knew he made the right choice of target when the swirling light exploded from her toward him. He aimed at her. The moment the light hit him, his finger squeezed the trigger. He was unable to hear the heavy thump as the round cleared the tube. His eyes were unseeing as the projectile rushed toward the now running teen. He could not know it struck a tree not ten feet away from her.

Things drive the tension and the release in this scene. The tanks, the tablet, the soldiers, Oba, Lumière, the terrain, the Reichstag building, the panzerfaust, the shell, each of these things build tension in different ways to reach the end of the scene. This scene really doesn’t have any extra added to it. Perhaps the details that drive the scene, or perhaps the panzerfaust. Each of these are historical and real (within the sense of history). Each of these items become required for the scene to complete itself. They are Chekov’s Guns, each required, and the scene dependent on each one.

I would call this scene sparse and self-dependent. It doesn’t require anything extra to help drive the entertainment or excitement. This isn’t true of all scenes. Most are more similar to the other scenes I showed you—they require entertainment and entertaining circumstances for strong tension and release development. I’ll try to dig up an example tomorrow.

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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Writing – part x221, Novel Form, still more Building Tension and Release

8 November 2017, Writing – part x221, Novel Form, still more Building Tension and Release

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 your scenes.

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene. This example is from Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire. This is the initial scene from the novel. I don’t have to tell you the key setup for tension in the scene is George is unexpectedly shot. He also unexpectedly meets a hunting vampire. There are many details and small tension builds in getting to this point. Once George and Valeska have meet, the tension and release continues. Notice the added means of tension building that are foreshadowed and then used later in the scene. I’ll note some of these in the notes at the end.

A full moon hung above midnight Gdańsk. The dark medieval streets were wet and filthy. Puddles ringed with oily rainbows covered the cracked cobblestones. The moon shone in each puddle, reflected as a grimy milky glow. The scent of saltwater and rotting fish rose with the night tide, an unavoidable stench this close to the waterfront. At street level, the night was utterly dark. The very few modern lights along the crumbling cobblestone avenue shared little illumination with the ancient alleyways that pierced the darkened buildings on either side of the street.

George Mardling eased into the alley beside an old shop and glanced down it. His eyes were already well adjusted to the dark. Still, he flipped the night vision goggle over his left eye and scanned the alley. It was clear.

The late fall night was cold–George wore a suit and over it a black overcoat. A dark felt fedora sat on his head. That helped conceal the night vision goggle. The night vision equipment was very modern and compact. The organization issued it to the field last month. The point was to get a lot of night visibility out of a very small package—it worked well, but the battery life was limited.

George was a tall and thin man. He liked to think his physique was like a body builders’, but he was too thin. He also looked too young and too serious. More like a student or a professor than an agent. That was probably good for the organization.

George carried a Beretta nine millimeter in his jacket holster and a Beretta nine millimeter kurz in his waistband, he hadn’t unholstered either weapon—yet. According to headquarters, his target wasn’t supposed to be armed. According to his orders, this wasn’t an attack or an arrest—he was making a reconnaissance, a surveillance with a contact. If he could identify the mark, all the better.

Usually, George worked in a team–he was alone this time. His partner was busy, and this was supposed to be a simple intelligence gathering mission—hardly a mission. George moved across the storefront. It was an old toy store, but the building wasn’t on his target list either. He stepped carefully and quietly toward the next alley. If the mark wasn’t in the first alley, he should be in the second—that’s what their intel said. George glanced down this alley and caught a slight movement—he noted a flare in his night vision goggle, obviously a human being. George slipped into the alley. He saw something else move as well. The moment George stepped around the corner, something in his field of view moved very quickly. It seemed like an animal, but it didn’t flare much in the infrared—not enough for a person or an animal. Perhaps it was just a blowing piece of trash. He stood a little straighter, puzzled, there was almost no air movement on the street or in the alley.

George stepped a little further into the alley. He put his hand over his pistol—no need to draw it unless necessary. He wanted a contact and not a confrontation. He snuck down the alleyway. These old alleys in Gdańsk made all kinds of twists and turns. He eased his way toward the back of the store. The alleyway opened up a little near the backdoor of the shop. He saw a small dumpster on the left side, and on the other side, a stack of garbage the city wouldn’t collect. The alleyway closed in again and continued further into darkness. It was a darkness so black his goggle couldn’t pierce it.

The person flared next to the dumpster. George held his hand near his Beretta. He was about to speak. The point was to make contact—that was all. A sudden footfall behind him at the front of the alleyway caused him to start. That’s when he realized they had made a terrible mistake. That’s when the admonitions of all his instructors came immediately back to him at once. He had no backup—no partner. This was supposed to be a simple contact and not a risky mission. It wasn’t really a mission, just information gathering. He wondered in that moment if they had all broken protocol and training. His boss rushed him out to the field when the information stream passed the data to them. He approached this work like a simple lark in the evening.

George identified the sound behind him at the street as the scuff of a boot on the cobblestones. Then he heard a click. George spun around to the street and backed toward the collection of garbage and not the dumpster with its hidden person. A green laser dot appeared on the left side of his chest. In front of him, he caught a very bright flare in his night vision scope. Directly after the flare came a thump. It took only an instant to process that a bullet had been fired at him. By then, it was too late. George felt something tear into his left chest. It pushed him half around, and he dropped to the damp ground. The bullet pierced him and he felt it tear through his skin. It broke a rib, and burned as it drilled a hole through his lung. He felt it break another rib and exit at his back. The pain was excruciating, but he was too shocked to make a sound. If he made any noise, it was a great exhalation of breath when his left lung collapsed.

George fell into the pile of garbage. The pain and burning was so intense, he didn’t notice if it hurt when he struck the ground. The man behind the dumpster moved—he didn’t say a word. The man who fired the shot didn’t say anything either. They just bolted and left him there…to die. He heard their rapid steps as they ran down the street. The sound slowly died out, and was gone. For a while, he perceived no sounds after that.

George knew he was dying. It wouldn’t do any good to cry out—too late now. He dragged his phone out of the pocket of his jacket and fumbled with it for a moment. He pressed the panic button. He sighed. They would be here in an hour maybe two. He tried to dial the local police, but the phone slipped from his suddenly slick hand and dropped to the cobblestones. He couldn’t gather the energy to pick it up again. The blood poured out of the bullet wound in his chest and he felt it bubbling out of the hole in his back. He pressed his hand against the wound in his chest and groaned—that hurt. It didn’t staunch the blood much, and he could do nothing to stop the flow of blood on the other side. He was amazed. In all the movies when people were shot, they moved around and chased the bad guys. He couldn’t do anything but lie there on the cold and wet ground.

He was dying.

A movement caught him by surprise. It came from the dark alleyway away from the street. A small person moved very quickly from the opening to stand right in front of him. It stopped suddenly and whimpered, then sat on its haunches. It squatted outside of his reach and watched him. Its face was thin and pale. The face barely showed in his night vision goggle. That in itself was surprising. It wore clothing that seemed exceedingly fine, but which was filthy and obviously damp, the remains of a girl’s party dress. The dress had once been white with red or pink ribbons, but now it was torn and bedraggled. The ribbons blended with the stains on the dress. The stains seemed to be long dried blood and not just the dirt of the streets.

The girl, it was a girl, stared at him with bright eyes tinged with silver. They appeared slightly dull in the night vision goggle. Her hair was black and matted. It reached almost to the cobbles of the alleyway where she squatted. Her face was finely etched and hard. She let her tongue slip out of her mouth. She licked her lips. Her tongue was slightly pointed, and George could swear her incisors were elongated and pointed like fangs.

She raised her eyes to his and spoke. It wasn’t Polish. She pronounced her words in high German with a strange lilt. Her voice was low and melodious, “You, mortal man, you are dying.”

George groaned, “I’m dying. Can you call the police with my phone?”

She eyed him strangely, “I don’t have a phone here—what good would it do?”

“My iPhone. It fell at my side.”

She shrugged, “I don’t know what that is. I wouldn’t be able to use it. You are dying.”

“I am dying. Can you help me?”

The girl stared at him, “You are dying. It’s a full moon—I’m starving.”

George laughed and immediately wished he hadn’t. He felt the blood bubble from the wound at his front and his back. His laugh cut off suddenly, “What did you plan to do—eat me?”

“I’d like to dine on your blood.”

He wanted to laugh again, but stifled it, “Are you a vampire?”

The girl drew her finger across the cobbles, “I’m a vampire, and I’m very hungry. It’s a full moon, and you interrupted my hunt.”

“Why’re you asking my permission? If you’re a vampire, just drink my blood.”

“Can’t.”

“What do you mean can’t?”

She spoke mournfully, “You are one of those. I can’t just take. I’m not sure I can ask, but I’m starving.”

“I’m what?”

“You’re a cross-bearer. I can’t attack a cross-bearer.”

George argued, “I’m not wearing any cross.”

She hissed, “You don’t have to have it on your body. The cross marks your body, heart, and soul.”

“Do you mean because I am a Christian, you can’t attack me.”

“What you said—I cannot speak the name or the word.”

George thought he must be hallucinating, “Is that true of all vampires or only for you?”

“No vampire can attack those who hold to the cross. You frightened my rightful prey, and I’m starving for human blood.”

George stifled another laugh, “You look like crap. Are all vampires like you?”

She frowned and her lips twitched, “My master died, and I had to live on the streets.”

George smiled. He was certain he was delirious, “A homeless vampire…”

She hissed, “My master died, and the house was sold. I had nowhere else to go…”

“Now you wish to drink my blood.”

“While it is fresh. Please let me dine on it. I’ll take only a little.”

George smiled, “You may have all you wish. I won’t need any of it soon.”

“Are you certain? It may be a sin…for you.”

“A sin to give my blood to a starving vampire? I don’t believe in vampires. I’m sure you are a figment of my dying brain’s imagination. My blood will have no other purpose soon.”

The girl moved closer to him. She warily stepped toward him. George could see muddy stains across her face. She was dirty, and she smelled of old cemetery ground.

She pulled his hand away from the wound on his chest, and she opened his jacket and shirt. He felt her eager lips touch him. They were soft and strangely warm—perhaps because he was so cold. He didn’t feel anything but it seemed her lips touched his chest for a long time.

Finally, she lifted her head and drew her hand across her mouth. Her lips and cheek were slick with his blood. She moved her face close to his. She pushed the hair back from his eyes and touched his cheek. Her hands felt cold, “I can give your life back to you mortal man—it is very likely a sin, but for your courtesy, I wish to do so.”

George smiled, “There is no need. I have no more need of my blood. I know I am dying.”

“I’m sure it is a sin, but do you wish to live?”

“I don’t want to be a vampire.”

The girl’s voice turned very sad, “That is certainly no gift. I can give you back your life. It is all I can do for you, mortal man.”

George raised his hand, “Not as a vampire.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in vampires.”

“I don’t.”

The girl bit her long tongue and pressed her lips against his. He tasted her blood in his mouth. He had been tasting blood since he was shot, but this was different. The taste was different, and he sensed something burning in his body. He felt her lips form a smile and pull back. She licked her lips with that oddly pointed tongue of hers, “That’s all I can do for you.”

George felt groggier than before—perhaps he was finally dying. He stared at the girl, “My name is George Mardling.”

The girl stood over him, “I was called Valeska by my master, but my given name is Heidi.”

“Heidi is the name of a vampire?”

She frowned again, “You don’t believe in vampires.”

“No, I don’t.” George’s head fell to the side and he was suddenly unaware of anything.

As we move into the climax of the scene (the release), you can see the description of Valeska is tension building. This is similar to the earlier description of George’s wounding and wounds. These build tension just through description, then we get to conversation. The conversation in the later part of the scene is driving the tension and release. Each bit of information about vampires and about Valeska builds tension. Do we really believe she is a vampire? The suspension of disbelief here does mean that we do. George can’t, not yet. The buildup increases until George gives her his blood. This was expected. The unexpected is Valeska gives George back a gift. This is the use of an unexpected resolution of an expected release (climax).

I didn’t address in the notes all the small details that build up the tension. For example, the cell phone and Valeska’s lack of familiarity with it builds tension. George’s humor and lack of belief builds tension. The description of Valeska builds tension—she doesn’t look like we expect a vampire to look. Somehow, we have been encouraged to believe that vampires all are well dressed, have great hygiene, and etc. How can this be true? What might a real vampire look like? What might happen to a vampire if they have no access to fine clothing or bathing facilities? We learn much more about Valeska through the novel. Each of these revelations build tension that is then released. There is always more.

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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Writing – part x220, Novel Form, more Building Tension and Release

7 November 2017, Writing – part x220, Novel Form, more Building Tension and Release

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 your scenes.

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene. This example is from Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. In this scene, the girls Sorcha and Deirdre are going to their French class for the first time. The tension and release events I insert begin with the seats. Who could imagine the seats being rigged so the girls who would never sit in the front are forced to sit in the front? Sorcha uses her glamour to get on the class roll. This is a tension builder and this is expected. The next add is the incident with Deirdre. This is an obvious tension add, and an easy setup in any classroom. Deirdre isn’t listening—well look at the example yourself and see.

The first class on Tuesday was French with Ms. Luna Bolang. Both of them stood outside the classroom door until just before the bell. Deirdre watched for Luna—she didn’t want to meet her with Sorcha or alone. Just before the bell, both girls entered the classroom and rushed for the back seats. They were unbelievably still open. When they arrived at them, Deirdre was first, she tugged the seat back, but it didn’t move. Sorcha couldn’t move her seat either. The French tinged voice of Luna Bolang came clearly from the front of the classroom, “Ms. Calloway and Ms., who are you, sweet.”

Sorcha trembled. She didn’t look as if she could or would speak. Deirdre was about to answer for her, but Sorcha grabbed Deirdre’s arm and carefully pronounced, “Ms. Bolang I’m Sorcha Weir. I think they forgot me again this year.”

Deirdre felt and smelled the glamour in Sorcha’s response. She wondered how far that might get her with Luna.

Luna smiled very pleasantly, “I have seats for both of you right here in front of my desk.”

Deirdre and Sorcha sulked up to the front row. They both sat where Luna pointed. Luna squinted and pursed her lips. She took her class ledger, “Ms. Weir, please write your full name at the end—here.” She pointed.

Sorcha complied. She wrote in very fine box letters. It looked to Deirdre like she was trying to hide her handwriting. Luna began class. It was French and Deirdre knew exactly how it would go. All French, nothing but French. That was the fun part—the grammar, papers, parts of speech, speeches, and endless exercises were the punishment she would have to put up with to enjoy the French. Deirdre had spoken French since she was three. Her adopted sisters had insisted—it was one of the languages they assumed their mother didn’t know. It allowed conversation without eavesdropping. She took a clandestine look at Sorcha and wondered if there was some language they might be able to speak with one another that others wouldn’t be able to understand. Gaelic was right out—Luna understood Gaelic as if she was born to it.

Deirdre mooned deep in thought until she missed her name, and Luna popped her on the back of her head. In French, Luna admonished her, “Ms. Calloway, pay attention. I shall not ask you the question again. I shall instead make your inattention very painful to you.” She turned around, “Ladies, Ms. Calloway is fluent in French. She speaks the language as well as I. As to her writing and parsing of the language, I cannot guarantee, but she can help you with your understanding and your pronunciation. Hers is exquisite.”

Deirdre turned redder and redder. Finally she stood and complained in French, “That was a breach of my confidence.”

“Sit down and pay attention, Ms. Calloway. I’m not a babysitter. You need to be finished not coddled.”

Deirdre sat.

Sorcha whispered, “Are you really, really fluent?”

Deirdre bowed her head, “Yes.”

“You can help me. This is great. I’ve had no one to help me before.”

Deirdre gave a trifling smile. Things went a little better after that.

At the end of class, the bell rang and the girls began picking up their books and papers. Luna pointed at Deirdre and Sorcha, “You two, stay just a moment. I want to speak to you.”

Deirdre and Sorcha packed their bags and stood beside their chairs. Luna waited until the classroom was empty. She came close, but stood on the other side of the desks. She crossed her arms and stared at Sorcha. Finally, she touched Sorcha’s face, “Did Ms. Calloway do this to you?”

Sorcha gasped. Deirdre’s mouth fell open.

Luna turned Sorcha’s face to one side then the other, “Ms. Calloway was fighting yesterday. You have a bruise and a black eye. Did she do this to you, Ms. Weir?”

Sorcha looked out of the sides of her eyes at Deirdre. Deirdre wasn’t watching.

Sorcha took a deep breath, “Deirdre and I are becoming friends. She wouldn’t hurt me.” Sorcha looked up at Luna, “Or fight with me.”

Luna gave a tense little smile, “I teach fencing as well as French at this academy. I expect to see you girls this afternoon after school.”

Deirdre began to complain.

Luna put her hand on her cheek, “Ms. Calloway, you get to poke people with swords. It’s right down your alley. As for you, Ms. Weir, may I assume you intend to continue as Ms. Calloway’s friend?”

Sorcha nodded.

“You look like a girl who will not be put upon—not any more than my sweet Deirdre. I’ll see you both at the Sports Centre right after the last class.”

The Deirdre issue of not paying attention that reveals her skill at French is a setup, but the next to last tension build up is when Luna sees through Sorcha’s glamour and notes her injuries. This is a huge deal. I should mention the release in each cycle (build-up of tension with a release). The first is the girls can’t move their seats out—the release is simple, they have to move to the front. The next tension is Sorcha wants on the role. The release is she puts her name on the role. The next tension is Deirdre’s daydreaming. The release is the revelation of her French skills. Then Luna sees through Sorcha’s glamour. The release is that they make an excuse and Luna lets it slide. Then we have the focal tension of the scene—this is the purpose of the scene. The output of the scene is that the girls are forced to go to Fencing. Luna basically forces them to come to her fencing club. The glamour issue causes them to feel the need to go. Thus the result is the release of going to fencing club.

I think this scene is an excellent example of a scene where various tension buildups occur to progress the story and for entertainment. The tension events are obviously entertaining and produce issues for the girls. The release of each are underplayed and fun. The ultimate tension is to build up to get the girls to go to fencing club. This was Luna’s plan—this is the fun of the scene and the entertainment in the scene.

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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