Writing – part x383, Novel Form, Designing a Plot

19 April 2018, Writing – part x383, Novel Form, Designing a Plot

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.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

In writing thirty novels, this is what I’ve discovered about developing a plot:

  1. Protagonist and setting are used to design an exciting and entertaining
  2. Initial scene which provides a
  3. Scene output and a theme question based on the telic flaw of the protagonist
  4. The scene output leads to the next scene
  5. The theme question provides a basis for the plot
  6. The scene outline provides the continuing scenes and the theme question focuses the plot
  7. Resolving the theme question (telic flaw) resolves the plot

From my experience, a protagonist is a plot.  Or rather, for me, a protagonist causes the development of a plot.  Because of this, to write a novel, I design a protagonist whose story is worth reading about.  To me, this is the way to design a great novel.  This isn’t the only way, but it works for me.  The question is how to design a protagonist who is worth writing about?

I have spent some time writing about how to develop a protagonist.  I like pathos building protagonists.  Pathos building means a character who evokes emotion.  I’ve come to the conclusion that a certain type of character is very good for evoking emotion in your readers.  The “in your readers” part is the most important. It doesn’t really matter if your character evokes emotion in other characters.  What matters is how the reader sees the character.

How do we design a pathetic character?  Let’s look at Lady Wishart.  Think about pictures that immediately make people smile or cry or mad.  Popular today are pictures and videos of kittens.  The picture of a kitten makes most people smile and give the “cute” response.  Kitten are cute but not entirely helpless.  They display curiosity, have claws, are cuddly, with some independence.

Now, I’m not saying write about kittens, but kittens represent the characteristics of a powerfully pathos developing character.  On the other hand, if you want to write about a powerful non-emotion building character, you need another model.  The problem is this—reading is an emotive experience, and most readers are women.  Most men who like to read, are also suckers for emotion in the writing.  But to be clear, emotion in the writing comes out of the reaction of the reader to the characters and not the emotion of the characters themselves.  I’ll try to describe this better to you as we proceed.

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 x382, Novel Form, Plot

18 April 2018, Writing – part x382, Novel Form, Plot

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.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

In writing thirty novels, this is what I’ve discovered about developing a plot:

  1. Protagonist and setting are used to design an exciting and entertaining
  2. Initial scene which provides a
  3. Scene output and a theme question based on the telic flaw of the protagonist
  4. The scene output leads to the next scene
  5. The theme question provides a basis for the plot
  6. The scene outline provides the continuing scenes and the theme question focuses the plot
  7. Resolving the theme question (telic flaw) resolves the plot

Terrible, isn’t it?  Here is another list to add to the others.  I hate to develop these helpful lists and then delete them.  What else can I do to help you in developing a plot?

Ultimately you need a great idea to write a novel.  You need a plot.  I’ve tried to give you help in developing a plot, but you really need an idea to start.  I’ve pointed out that right now I start with a protagonist and an initial scene.  Originally I started with a plot question or theme question.  As I wrote, I found this difficult because it required that I outline an entire plot.  To tell you the truth, I can’t and don’t develop entire plots before I write.

I find that novels are better and more complex when they are developed as they are written.  I don’t believe or advise you to just start writing without any goal or idea of where you are going.  This is the point I am trying to make about the protagonist and the initial scene.

Having a protagonist and an initial scene sets the novel.  Setting the novel with a protagonist allows the design of a telic flaw.  If you’ve been following along, the telic flaw defines the plot and the plot resolution.  I’ll repeat about the telic flaw.  The telic flaw is not a flaw in the protagonist.  The telic flaw is the telic flaw of the novel.  It is the problem the protagonist must solve or resolve to resolve the climax of the plot.  It is called the telic flaw and attributed to the protagonist because it refers to the Greek idea that the protagonist is righting the world in the context of the plot resolution.

My example for this is always the detective novel.  The telic flaw is the crime that must be solved (make the world right).  This comes back to Lady Wishart, the novel I’m currently writing.  The problem in Lady Wishart is a crime, murder on a grand scale, and Lady Wishart must solve this crime to resolve the novel.

So, how can we gain an idea for a plot?  I’ve given you a few ideas.  I’ll expand a little on this.

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 x381, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Lady Wishart

17 April 2018, Writing – part x381, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Lady Wishart

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.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

We are back to Lady Wishart.  I am currently writing on this novel.  In writing this novel, I started with a strongly developed character and a great setting, then I moved on to the initial scene.  I already gave you the info on the initial scene for Lady Wishart.

In writing thirty novels, this is what I’ve discovered about developing a plot:

  1. Protagonist and setting are used to design an exciting and entertaining
  2. Initial scene which provides a
  3. Scene output and a theme question based on the telic flaw of the protagonist
  4. The scene output leads to the next scene
  5. The theme question provides a basis for the plot
  6. The scene outline provides the continuing scenes and the theme question focuses the plot
  7. Resolving the theme question (telic flaw) resolves the plot

There is no direct way to help you find a novel-length idea and turn it into a plot, but the above steps can help.  A great protagonist and a great setting are the first steps.  If you notice, this concept follows the ideas I gave you about the stage of the novel.  With a protagonist and a setting, you can set the stage and then in the initial scene, turn on the action.

This is how we design an initial scene and then turn that scene into a plot.

So, in my mind, the development of a plot comes out of the initial scene and that comes from the protagonist and the setting.  In my opinion, this is the best way to approach writing a novel.

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 x380, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Deirdre

16 April 2018, Writing – part x380, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Deirdre

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.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

Let me pass on some examples.  My Aegypt (Ancient Light) novels were easy to write using the way I described.  That’s because they all had a historical premise tied to historical events.  The resolution and climax just fit into the historical events.  That’s part of the power of writing and authorship.  The novels that were a little more problematic, but still easy, are my Enchantment novels.  Let me point out a little about each one.  I’ll continue with Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

This novel likely shows the strongest influence of pure initial scene development.  In writing the initial scene, I was completely focused on the scene and less on the characters.  The characters actually grew out of the initial scene.  To make the scene work, I needed to develop certain types of characters, but until I actually started writing the scene, the characters weren’t completely developed.  You might say, the initial scene actually drove the character development.  From my previous comments, this is not my usual method for novel development.

Usually, I design the characters and the setting first.  In the case of this novel, I also designed the setting to accommodate the initial scene.  In other words, the initial scene drove plot, characters, and setting.  To synopsize the differences, usually I hit on a character and a setting and wrap an entertaining initial scene around them.  In the case of Deirdre, I conceived an initial scene and designed characters and setting to fit the scene.

My initial scene concept flowed from the idea of a girl hiding in a boarding school, and not just hiding but rather attending school without anyone knowing she wasn’t supposed to be there.  I discovered this idea through writing about initial scenes for one of my writing blogs.  I was describing pathos developing characters.  A pathos developing character immediately evokes an emotional response in the reader.  A girl alone, illegally attending a boarding school to learn is a pretty pathos type character, especially for readers (readers are attracted to people who suffer for knowledge).

Thus, I proposed a great initial scene for a girl who is clandestinely attending a boarding school is when a new girl arrives who can see through the hiding girl’s secret.  Now the situation and the initial scene gets slightly complicated.  I’ll give you a piece of it so you can see what I mean.

Deirdre focused back on the classroom.  She spotted only one other person in the room.  She knew she arrived early—that was on purpose.  She wanted to miss the drama and unruly conduct—getting involved with drama and unruly conduct is what got her in trouble before.  She couldn’t properly handle conflict or unruly conduct, especially in the morning.

Deirdre stared at the other girl.  She sat in the last seat next to the window.  It was the seat Deirdre always coveted. She sniffed—it was already taken.  She cocked her head and squinted at the girl.  Something seemed off about her.  Deirdre scratched her cheek.  There was something strange about the girl’s clothing, but Deirdre couldn’t tell exactly what.  She squinted a little more.  The sun reflected across the courtyard and burst through the windows.  Deirdre caught both a whiff and a view.  As the early morning sunlight cascaded across the windows, the clothing of the girl in the corner desk suddenly changed.  At one moment, it appeared like the perfect uniform: pressed, dark blue, wrinkleless, tie tied exactly and correctly.  The next moment, everything changed.  The skirt appeared faded black and not blue.  The sweater looked threadbare and washed-out.  The shirt was entirely white and not pinstriped at all.  The tie was tied perfectly, but it was black and not the color of any house.

Deirdre smelled it too.  It was the sweet scent like honey in the comb.  Like boiled down sunlight and dandelions.  It could only be one thing, the scent of the power of the fae.  She thought it smelled particularly like potent fae glamour.  When the sunlight came back to normal brilliance, the girl’s uniform looked ordinary again. Deirdre knew some tricks she could use to cut through fae glamour, but she didn’t want to try them now.  She examined the girl.  She was short, perhaps as short as Deirdre.  That was part of Deirdre’s problem—she was short and very conscious of it.  The girl wasn’t well developed either—Deirdre was there too.  The girl looked thin—almost as thin as Deirdre.

She moved her attention to the girl’s face.  She was trying very hard to ignore Deirdre.  Her hair looked very dark—as dark as Deirdre’s hair was light.  The girl’s complexion was pale, as pale as Deirdre’s sickening strawberry light skin.  Her face was heart-shaped with a slightly pointed chin and thin cheeks.  Her dark hair fell long and loose.  Deirdre’s hair was strawberry blond and also long.  She had put it up in a tight French braid today.  Deirdre couldn’t see the girl’s ears. It suddenly became important for her to examine them.  She moved sidelong toward the back of the room and the girl.

When Deirdre came close, the girl shifted her seat closer to the window and she turned her head away.  By then, other girls began entering the classroom.  Deirdre didn’t take her focus off the girl, but she kept an eye on the others.  No one came close to her…to the two of them—that was good.

Deirdre sat in the chair next to the girl.  She carefully scooted her chair slightly away from the girl—she understood this exactly about herself.  She assumed others would also be uncomfortable with someone too close.  She could barely stand to have her mother, father, brothers, or sisters hug her—she never wanted anyone too close to her.  Deirdre checked her watch.  It was an awesome pilot’s watch she got from her sister, Sveta’s, husband, Daniel when they sent her off to Wycombe Abbey.  It wasn’t a girl’s watch at all—she loved it.  She still a little time before class began.

Deirdre turned her head down and slightly toward the girl, “Good morning.  I’m new here. Are you?”

The girl didn’t turn her head.  She seemed to make up her mind and hissed, “Read the atmosphere.”

Once an idea struck Deirdre, she never gave up, “I’m not used to being ignored.  I’m trying to be pleasant.  I’m new, and I’d like to make friends.”

The girl gripped the desk with white knuckles.  She made a strange sound under her breath and said a couple of ancient Gaelic words.

Deirdre waved her hands under her nose, “There isn’t a problem with your glamour, sweet.  It won’t work against me.”

The girl turned in shock toward Deirdre.  She stuttered, “It…it won’t work?”

“Not a wit.  I’m immune.”

The girl stood with a panicked look on her face.  Her clothing flickered for a moment then came back to its visible perfection.  The bell rang, and a tall smiling woman wearing a severe blue skirt suit and a poufy white blouse breezed into the room.  The girl sat firmly back in her seat.  Deirdre noticed her eyes were light grey, and her nose was slightly sharp like her chin.  Deirdre wasn’t sure if the girl was very beautiful or just very unusual looking.

The girl quickly pulled out her official briefcase and took out a pad, pen, and her Greek book for the class.  Deirdre copied her.  When the sunlight touched the briefcase, Deirdre noticed it looked much too worn with broken buckles and hand repaired corners and seams.  She didn’t get a very good look.  The Greek study book the girl had also appeared significantly worn.  Everything put together, Deirdre thought this entire meeting and this person was extremely peculiar.  She was so caught up in thought, she missed it the first time the teacher called her name, “Deirdre Effie Calloway…are you present, dear?”

Deirdre called out a little overloud and late, “Present.”

There are lots of ways I could have designed this little initial scene.  I chose to have the hidden girl using Fae glamour (the power of the Fae) to hide her poverty and lack.  Deirdre is able to see through Fae Glamour.  There are other ways you might develop this type of scene, but I used this one.  This is one of my signature styles and part and parcel of my Enchantment novels.

You can see the immediate theme question and plot question that comes out of the scene: who is this girl?  I mean this question in the broadest sense: who is this girl and why is she attending school this way?  There is much much more to this.  And I haven’t touched on the other question the scene brings up: who exactly is Deirdre Calloway?  It is one thing to have a girl using the power of the Fae to hide in plain sight—it is quite another to have a girl who can detect a girl hiding in plain sight.

I love this initial scene.  The novel it launched was a fun write, and I think, a fun read.  In this case, just the design of an initial scene drove characters, setting, and plot.  I think this is a neat lesson in the power and use of the initial 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 x379, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Sorcha

15 April 2018, Writing – part x379, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Sorcha

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.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

Let me pass on some examples.  My Aegypt (Ancient Light) novels were easy to write using the way I described.  That’s because they all had a historical premise tied to historical events.  The resolution and climax just fit into the historical events.  That’s part of the power of writing and authorship.  The novels that were a little more problematic, but still easy, are my Enchantment novels.  Let me point out a little about each one.  I’ll continue with Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

I really had fun with this novel, protagonist, and initial scene.  In the initial scene, Shiggy finds that she has been tranqued and tied up on a medical table in a mysterious place.  You need to know a little about Shiggy.  Shiggy is a member of the British intelligence community in training.  She has been in training in about nine different intelligence offices in the British government.  The problem is that Shiggy is a screw up.  She has been shuffled from office to office as she caused catastrophe after catastrophe.  In the end, the system and she ran out of options.

Shiggy is now in the hands of Sorcha, and Sorcha intends to fully train her.  Here is a clip:

Shiggaion Tash woke with a start.  Her eyes flew open.  Her mouth tasted vile and bitter like bile and chemicals.  She tried to swallow the taste away, but her throat felt bone dry.  Bright light shone all around her.  She tried to raise her hand to cover her eyes, but her arms wouldn’t move.  She tried her legs.  They wouldn’t move either.  She attempted to wrench her body around, but without any success.  She could move her head—at least that part of her didn’t seem to be completely immobilized.

At first, the light appeared so bright, she couldn’t make out anything.  Gradually, her eyes adjusted.  That seemed to take longer than usual.  She sniffed.  Her nose felt stuffed up.  Her mind couldn’t stop, never stopped evaluating. She put together everything she knew about drugs and anesthetics…and came up short.  Cocaine and other amphetamines caused some of these symptoms, but they weren’t anesthetics—they were stimulants.  What was the last thing she could remember?

The last event happened to be the hostage training exercise.  At the time, she fumbled her pistol and accidentally shot one of the hostages…whoops.  That would be another looming black mark on her ledger.  In her own records that made eight now.  Nine if you counted the accident during the Oxford laboratory lecture.  That one wasn’t entirely her fault.  She couldn’t review her classified records, so she didn’t know if they counted that one or not.

Ah, she remembered, right after she accidentally shot the hostage, she felt a sharp pain in her left buttocks.  They weren’t using real bullets, only laser gunfire trackers.  She sniffed and felt slightly miffed.  They shouldn’t get their panties in a wad about a little accident like that.  Well enough self-scrutiny—Shiggaion took a good look around.

She lay on a hard but padded surface.  A thin sheet lay over her, and she felt naked underneath.  That seemed slightly odd.  As she gained awareness, she felt a stinging on her left buttocks.  She cursed under her breath—they really didn’t have to knock her out for that slight infraction.  No one told her the evaluators were wielding tranq guns.

Shiggaion realized something like straps immobilized her arms and legs, but she couldn’t see them even if she depressed her head as far as it would go.  She lay in a very bright room.  The walls looked metallic white and very clean.  The room appeared smaller than she imagined at first.  The ceiling seemed to rise to a normal height.  The walls were close, but provided enough space to allow a couple of people to work around them.  Two walls looked like they held doors—also metal.  What was this place…a battleship?  One wall appeared too shimmery to be metal, but it was the same color as the rest of the walls.  Uh oh, Shiggaion knew what that meant—mirrored glass.  That would be an observation area.  Were they watching her?  That made her feel uncomfortable, but then she really began to feel uncomfortable—she needed to go.

How long had she been out, and how long here?  Where was here and why?  Everything seemed a bit over the top for accidentally shooting a hostage.  Admittedly, her classmates were becoming a little personal with their complaints and comments.  Shiggaion couldn’t help it if she was clumsy and a little slow about some things—in other things she excelled…, but she still had to go and bad.

Well whyever, she was here and for whatever reason, she knew the training protocol.  Shiggaion opened her mouth wide and called…only nothing came out… at first.  She swallowed a couple of times and tried it again.  At first, her voice sounded very weak.  It slowly grew in strength until she was finally able to yell, “Hello, is anyone there.  I need to go.”  The first cry she got out sounded like a whisper.  So she called again, and again, and again.  Until her voice eventually reached a very acceptable scream.  By that time, Shiggaion, was becoming desperate.  She needed to go, and the room felt cold.  She thrashed around on the table, but that didn’t do any good at all.  It wore her out, and stimulated her…um…going needs.  Why wasn’t anyone answering her?

Finally, she screamed, “Why isn’t anyone coming?  Why aren’t you following the training protocol?”

She heard a very loud click, and the door in front of her feet burst open.  A tall strawberry blond woman stood in it.  She wore a costly sequin and lace blouse, but Shiggaion couldn’t see any farther than that.  The woman’s face looked beautiful, like a model’s. She wore makeup, but it was very finely applied.  Her eyes looked large, the makeup accentuated that look.  Her nose and mouth were small, and her face heart-shaped.  Shiggaion thought the short hair didn’t fit her at all.  It made the woman’s very lovely face look larger and less feminine.

The woman threw open the door and yelled, “Shut up, Shiggy.  You’re disturbing my tea.”  In spite of the words, the woman sounded very aristocratic and Oxford.

In her own too Oxford accent, Shiggaion replied, “My name is Shiggaion, not Shiggy.  I will not answer to such an abominable term.”

The woman laughed, “You’ll answer to whatever name I care to call you, Shiggy.  You’re mine now—I bought you.”

“Release me immediately.  I need to go.”

“I really should make you beg for the privilege.”

Shiggaion became a little desperate.  She’d almost forgotten how badly she needed to go, and that very uncomfortable feeling came back full force.  “This isn’t allowed in the training protocol at all.  You must allow a trainee basic human amenities—the toilet is one of those.”

“Miss prissy pants, I know you have the training protocol memorized.  You’ve mentioned it over one hundred times in your many complaints during training.  I do not follow the training protocol.  As I said, you belong to me.”

“You mentioned that already.  In any case, if you don’t let me use the toilet, I shall have an accident right here.  That is obviously a breach of human rights as well as the training protocol.”

The woman smiled, “Would you like me to tickle you a bit?”

“What about basic human decency?”

“Human decency doesn’t apply to you at all.  If you soil my linens, table, or floor, I shall make you lay in it until your excrement dries.  Then you shall clean it all with your tongue.”

Tears leaked down the sides of Shiggaion’s face, “I shall endeavor to not soil anything, but I do need to go.”

“Then you must beg me for the privilege.”

“I’ve never begged for anything from anyone in my life.”

The woman leaned over Shiggaion.  Her face hovered just above Shiggaion’s.  Shiggaion thought for one moment about spitting in that smug face.  She quickly drowned that thought.  The woman touched Shiggaion’s lips, “You were thinking, you’d really like to spit in my face.  I told you, you belong to me.  You are my slave.  You must comply with my wishes.  If you don’t, I have leave to treat you in any way I please.  If you do, I have leave to treat you in any way I please.  Would you like me to tickle you?”

Just a little bit.  I know you want more.  When I wrote this, I was so excited to write about this character.  Shiggy is the perfect ne’er-do-well.  She is a slacker and a bit incompetent.  She is selfish and conniving.  I just had fun writing about the character, and Sorcha is her perfect foil.  Sorcha is a slacker and socially incompetent.  She is selfish and conniving.  She and Shiggy are similar except Sorcha is trained and Shiggy is not.  The training is the fun part.

From this initial scene (you can read the entire first chapter from my site atwww.ldalford.com under new novels) I built the entire novel about Shiggy’s training and education.  Let me point out, the character was fully developed.  The setting was fully developed.  The initial scene was fully developed.  All I needed was a plot to go with it.  The obvious theme and plot question from the initial scene is: how does one train a Shiggy.  This is the novel in a nutshell.

Now, I will admit, there was another subtheme I wanted to put into the novel.  My main prepub reader wanted a pursuit plot (or subplot) and I wanted to write one.  I built a great romance subtheme into Sorcha.  This was really fun to write too.

Again, the initial scene drove the entire novel.  I’ll say, although I loved the subtheme and the novel, it wasn’t as popular with my main prepub reader. Lady Wishart will get her.  I made it a pure pursuit novel.  We shall see.

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 x378, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Essie

14 April 2018, Writing – part x378, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Essie

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.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

Let me pass on some examples.  My Aegypt (Ancient Light) novels were easy to write using the way I described.  That’s because they all had a historical premise tied to historical events.  The resolution and climax just fit into the historical events.  That’s part of the power of writing and authorship.  The novels that were a little more problematic, but still easy, are my Enchantment novels.  Let me point out a little about each one.  I’ll continue with Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si.

Essie is my delightful protagonist.  In the initial scene, Mrs. Lyons captures Essie in her pantry.  Essie is naked, hungry, and dirty.  You can guess the question, who is Essie?  Indeed this is the theme question of the novel that drives the plot.

It gets a little deeper than that, but I wanted to convey this scene and this point as the first base in this novel.  Here is a little from the initial scene:

Mrs. Lyons, actually, Matilda Anne Robina Acland Hastings Lyons, who happened to once be married to Colonel Bruce Lyons, and who held onto the Mrs. and the Lyons as mementos although the man was long dead, heard a crash in her kitchen.  She was a light sleeper anyway, but the crash rang loud enough to wake the dead.  She reached under her pillow for the prototype Etan Arms AP-1 nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol she kept there.  She examined the sleek weapon, a gift from her favorite adopted great grandchild, Leila, and returned it, with the safety still on, to its hiding spot.

She slipped out of the covers as quietly as a very old woman could and instead of her pistol, picked up the heavy cane beside her bed.  She constantly carried it, not because she needed a cane, but because everyone expected her to carry one—she enjoyed the privilege and the recognition.  Mrs. Lyons was very old, but not weak, demented, or non-mobile.  She looked wrinkled and gray now, but didn’t care a lick about appearance anymore.  She still looked thin and athletic—about as athletic as she always was, which wasn’t very, but she could move as well if not better than a woman half her age.  So she imagined.

Mrs. Lyons pulled her dressing gown over her nightgown and hefted her cane.  She didn’t turn on any lights.  Her vision was still good, and her eyesight was already well adapted to the thick moonlight that shined outside her windows.  She walked through her open doorway and down the hall toward the front of the house.

Her country house was small, much smaller than the places she inhabited as a child, a young woman, or a married woman.  She was now a widow, and a small cottage in the country seemed to suit her.  The hallway led to a classic branch.  To the right, lay the foyer and front door.  The foyer opened to a dining room on the left and a parlor to the right.  To the left lay the servant’s quarters—none in use at the moment.  In front of her ran a short hall to a phone closet and a water closet—an odd combination to be sure.  To the right of that short extension, lay the dining room and to the left… the kitchen.

Mrs. Lyons heard another peculiar bump and then a thump from inside her kitchen—she strained to listen closer… or perhaps the sounds came from her pantry.  She held up her cane like a baseball bat and peeked around the opening into the kitchen.  She squinted in the darkness, but didn’t spot anything amiss.

She heard another thump.  Slurping sounds and a slight growl followed it.  Mrs. Lyons wondered at that.  The constable had reported thefts of food and unusual break-ins across the shire, but they seemed wholly of human origin.  This sounded…animal-like.

Mrs. Lyons almost continued on to the phone closet to ring the constable’s post in the village, but she realized no one would be on duty at this time of night.  She shrugged, and soundlessly—well, as soundlessly as she could, stepped into the kitchen.

She snuck around the cabinet side, where she knew none of the creaking boards would betray her, and almost tripped over a light metal boiler on the floor.  Her visitor must have knocked that from the counter.  With greater care, she slowly slipped to the pantry door.  The door stood open—of course it did.  She knew she had shut it tight after making her evening tea.

Mrs. Lyons brought her cane up in front of her, but with a slight cock for leverage.  She craned her neck around the opening to the pantry and kept to the shadows so she wouldn’t be backlit from the kitchen window.  Only a thin slice of the evening’s full moon shone through that window, and it lay to her side at the back of the kitchen.  She noted her kitchen’s outside door stood fully open and that let in more light than the lace covered window.  That door was also obviously how her little kitchen thief had entered.

Mrs. Lyons hefted her cane again.  She didn’t intend to use it, except in defense, but she did want to catch her little kitchen thief.  The sounds of eating, not pretty sounds at all, as well as growls rose out of the depths of the pantry.  Mrs. Lyons smelled the baked ham she’d put up for the weekend.  She spotted other odds and ends scattered on the shadowed floor of the pantry.  That put her immediately into a more indignant mood.  She didn’t like thieves, but she liked untidy thieves even less.

Mrs. Lyons pitched her cane back a bit more for leverage and pressed her elbow against the pantry light switch.  It was a new switch and not the old twist type.  With a push of her wrinkled elbow, the switch moved, the light came on with a fluorescent blink, and a startled cry emerged from the pantry.

Mrs. Lyons gasped.  Her gasp sounded almost as loud as the shocked yowl from inside her pantry.  A naked girl or young woman sat on the center counter and shielded her eyes.  She was completely starkers and trailed half of Mrs. Lyons’ baked ham from her mouth.

Mrs. Lyons finds a young woman in her pantry.  The question is what is she going to do about it.  I didn’t give you the capture of Essie, but I assure you, she is captured.  Now, Mrs. Lyons must determine what to do about this feral young woman.  The book is a revelation of Essie.  If you do some research on the Aos Si, you might begin to get the point of the novel, but there is more.

What I love about novels is how they have a focus and a life of their own.  A novel should never include anything that doesn’t lead to the climax, but in a complex novel, many instances and events point to the climax.  This is what makes characters and novels so fun.  Like some of my readers, I wish the novel could go on and on and on, but you have to cut it off somewhere and that is the climax.

I hope you can see that with a scene output, the plot of Essie can continue.  The question of who is Essie leaps from the initial scene.  The answer is an entire novel.  I will say, the climax is a bit unusual—the Queen is bitten and Essie escapes, but that is a fun and interesting plot.

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 x377, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Lilly

13 April 2018, Writing – part x377, Novel Form, A New Novel, Plot and Climax from the Initial Scene, Lilly

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.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel.

Let me pass on some examples.  My Aegypt (Ancient Light) novels were easy to write using the way I described.  That’s because they all had a historical premise tied to historical events.  The resolution and climax just fit into the historical events.  That’s part of the power of writing and authorship.  The novels that were a little more problematic, but still easy, are my Enchantment novels.  Let me point out a little about each one.  I’ll continue with Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.

For Lilly, I again had an idea that sprang from a character.  I wanted to develop a novel around a pathos developing character who was a math and computer genius.  As I’ve written before, the best of these types of characters is an abused, young girl—thus Lilly.  Lilly is the child of a druggy prostitute who never took care of her daughter.  Lilly is a math and computer genius who always took care of herself and has no friends.  She is currently attending college at a small science college on a state scholarship that pays for her tuition, but not her room and board.  She is living on the street and borrowing food to make ends meet.  Lilly doesn’t care about herself or others (except her other homeless friend, an old Japanese man and his cat).  That is, until she meets Dane.

Dane becomes the catalyst in Lilly’s life to make her change.  He also encourages her to aspire to something different and higher.  Here is a little of the initial scene:

All Dane knew about the girl was that she didn’t come into the FastMart very often.  When she did, she didn’t pay with cash.  She always used the FastMart Bucks, which you earned by purchasing gas or food.  What seemed unusual was that she used a different account ID and phone number every time.

She looked terrible, especially for this part of the city.  She wore a baggy old sweatshirt and an over-large pair of worn-out, not stone-washed, jeans.  She carried a ragged backpack on her back.  Her hair appeared matted and her clothing filthy.  Her face and hands always looked somewhat clean, but Dane couldn’t vouch for the rest of her.  He never came close enough to smell her—he figured that would be much too close.  He only knew her from his side of the cash register.  She carried an inexpensive tablet computer in one hand, and her shopping in the crook of her arm.  The tablet possessed a broken screen with tape across one corner.  Dane was surprised it worked.

She shuffled, literally shuffled, to his aisle, the only one open at this time of night and lifted a half gallon of milk and a cheap loaf of bread to the counter.  At that moment, a group of four high school boys rushed up impatiently behind her.  They tried to beat her to the counter to pay for their power drinks and snacks, but arrived just a second too late.  They pressed right up behind her, but she didn’t budge an inch.

Before Dane could ring up her stuff, she announced in a very soft lilting voice, “It’s four dollars and sixty-three cents with tax.”

Dane turned her a strange look and ran the items through the scanner.  The total came back, four dollars and sixty-three cents.  Dane glanced at her, “You’re right.  Four dollars and sixty-three cents.  How are you going to pay tonight?”

She smiled and lifted her tablet, “Use my FastMart Bucks.”

“What’s your phone number?”

She glanced at her tablet, “253-280-7061.”

“The name on your account?”

“Billy Martin…”

Dane started to ask her to put her password into the keypad when a voice raised behind her, “Hey Billy, this girl is using your account.  She has your name and password and everything.”

A tall older teen pushed up to the front, “No way.”  He eyed the girl, “You’re stealing my credits…”  It was a statement.

The girl’s face froze.  She moved pretty quickly, but not quickly enough.  Billy Martin seized her by the arm and pulled her back toward himself, “How did you get my name and account information?”  He gripped her other arm and moved the tablet computer into his line of view.  He cursed, “She has everything listed right here.”  He shook her, “How did you get my information?”

There is the question of the moment and the question that launches this novel: how did you get my information?

The rest of this 100,000 word novel answers this question plus a host of others.  In this novel, Lilly is revealed from the shuffling homeless girl in this first scene to what she eventually becomes through the novel.  There is much much more to Lilly and Lilly.

This is my point and has been my point in using an initial scene to launch a novel.  The exciting and entertaining must come out in the initial scene.  Ultimately, the exciting and interesting that propels the novel is the protagonist—the focus of the initial scene.  Thus we have a protagonist, Lilly that everyone (including the writer) wants to know about.  I write, including the writer intentionally.

More than anyone, the writer invents a character, in this case Lilly.  Lilly is such an intriguing character that the writer wants to write a novel about her with the expectation that the readers will want to know Lilly.  The writer provides an incident from the life of Lilly that excites the reader and provides some kind of demarcation in the life of the protagonist that brings her and her life to the forefront.  As I’ve written before, a great initial scene is usually the initial meeting of the protagonist with the antagonist or the protagonist’s helper.  In the case of Lilly—this is the meeting of the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper.  Notice, this isn’t exactly the initial meeting—Dane has seen this girl before.  He just hasn’t become involved with her before.

Do you see how I, as the writer, picked the perfect (in my opinion) scene for their closer meeting?  Dane is familiar with this girl, but he doesn’t know who she is.  You can read the rest of the chapter on my website.

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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