Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x104, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Hidden Skills

14 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x104, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Hidden Skills

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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I’m also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

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 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 29: 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.

These are the steps I use to write 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

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Third attempt

Secrets

Judicial Setting

Legal argument

Prophecy

Two way love

Three way love (love rival)

Rival

Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)

Supernatural

Comeback

Retrieval

Taboo

Impossible Crime

Human god

Revolution

Games

Silent witness

Secret king

Messiah

Hidden skills – Current discussion.

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the — (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item

Identification

Contest

Search

War

Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)

Crime

Theater

Hidden Skills: here is my definition – Hidden skills is the use of a special and unknown or unrevealed capabilities learned or discovered to further a plot.

Harry Potty is a series of novels that uses hidden skills as a plot device. The first novel has the most obvious use of this plot device. That is unfortunate, because the author just suddenly reveals that Harry can use magic. We don’t get to see any real development of this, it just happens. That isn’t the power of the use of hidden skills.

Hidden skills becomes super powerful as a plot device when the protagonist slowly and incrementally discovers his or her skill. For example, the protagonist in a highly charged situation discovers the ability to make a magical flame (or any magic). The protagonist has a sudden realization of the ability. The protagonist from that point on seeks to improve and use the skill that was discovered. You can use this model with every kind of skill. With hidden skills, it doesn’t have to be about magic or super mental or other special skills.

For example, in School, the novel I’m writing at the moment, Deirdre, my protagonist, is an accomplished singer, dancer, and artist. She has incredible skills, but she is hiding them until about the middle of the novel. The reason she is hiding them comes directly out of her problems and her banishment to Wycombe. I might as well give you an example.

Here is an example from School:

Deirdre and Chris MacLeod continued to dance until the orchestra took their first break. Just as Chris predicted, Mr. MacLeod stepped deliberately to where Deirdre and Chris stood. Kathrin Calloway and Mrs. MacLeod followed close behind him. He gave a slight bow, “Ms. Calloway, I freely admit, I asked you to our Christmas revelry with ulterior motives.”

Deirdre’s eyes widened. Older men had never bowed to her, and she wasn’t sure how to take ulterior motives.

Mr. MacLeod continued, “I understand you are a professional musician. Your mother assured me concerning your usual contract rates. I would like to hire you to sing some Christmas songs at our fete. I understand you have a wonderful program already prepared. In fact, I gave the music to our orchestra yesterday and they assured me they could play to your very exacting standards.”

Deirdre began to respond, but Mr. MacLeod raised his finger, “The second reason I asked you here is to test your metal, so to speak. Chris has had so many wonderful things to say about you, I must say, I was unconvinced. Until I heard you sing the Messiah, I would have said he was exaggerating. As a matter of fact, at this point, I wonder exactly what you see in my son.”

Chris cried out, “Father.”

“Oh, sorry. I’m joking. A bit of British humor there, and I’m Scottish. I’m very proud of my son, but he is still fifteen and still not entirely used to the potential limelight of a woman of your caliber and upbringing. Please sing for us. That in itself would be very pleasant.”

Deirdre cleared her throat to respond. Her mind was moving as fast as usual. She smiled very pleasantly, “Mr. MacLeod, could I offer a Christmas medley as a gift to your family?”

Mrs. Calloway cut her off with a firm gesture, “One moment. I wish to speak to Deirdre privately.”

Mr. MacLeod stepped to the side. Chris reluctantly moved with him.

Deirdre clenched her fists. She squinted and raised her lip, “What is it mother?”

Mrs. Calloway came very close and put her arms around Deirdre. She whispered, “Luna told me I should slap you every time you do that. This time I shan’t.”

Deirdre stiffened.

“You know what that means, don’t you dear?”

“It means you are treating me like an adult.”

“Excellent. Now, here is what you must consider. Your costs at school have been rather high this semester.”

“That’s because I have been taking care of my best friend.”

“I understand that too. Luna told me—well, she did after our little meeting with the Queen. I wondered how such a frugal girl could rack up such high expenses.”

“Are they really that high?”

“No, but I wish to place some adult pressure on you. So far, you have had most everything you could ever want or need. As I said, you are a frugal girl, but an adult must consider the costs of friendship and life.”

Deirdre choked, “You want me to give up on Sorcha—you’ll take care of her needs, won’t you?”

“My sweet Deirdre, I want you to face the consequences of your actions. They are wonderful, but they are yours alone. I love that you have taken care of Sorcha and Eliana.”

“Luna narked on me.”

“Yes she did, and I’m very proud. However…”

Deirdre steeled herself.

“However, I would like you to pick up the tab for your friends.   You may take care of them as much as you desire, but with your funds. A little singing at your normal rates will go a long way this semester. In fact, the pay you received from Father Malloy will further bolster that your little fund.”

“I was going to give it all back to Father Malloy for the widow’s and orphan’s relief fund.”

“Sorcha and Eliana both are missing parents—they are orphans. Which one do you wish to support, those unseen or your friends.”

Deirdre smiled, “Mother, perhaps I never listened quite as well as I should to you, but you are forcing me to sing…”

“I’m not forcing you to do anything. I’m simply pointing out realities to you and giving you a choice.”

“I see. You must not let Sorcha or Elaina know.”

“Never. This is our private understanding. Plus, my sweet, you want independence. I can’t give you any greater independence.” She started to pull back, but then hugged Deirdre closer, “One more thing. I like this Chris MacLeod very much. He is a gentleman and has a wonderful future.” She did pull back and stared in Deirdre’s eyes with a half-smile, “Don’t take that to be a license or permission. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, mother.”

“Your ball, in your court.”

Deirdre sighed, but she didn’t mean much by it. She stepped toward Mr. MacLeod with Mrs. Calloway at her side. She nodded to the gentleman, “Mr. MacLeod, I accept your terms. My standard rates. I do wish to warn you. The press is here and that might cause undo attention to your family and mine.”

Mr. MacLeod tried not to smile to broadly, “Your mother explained everything to me. I accept your conditions and understand the circumstances.”

Deirdre shrugged, “When would you like me to sing?”

“Do you need any preparation?”

“I need to speak to the conductor and the orchestra.”

“Very well. They are on their break.” He glanced at his watch, “They should be returning in a couple of minutes.” He sounded almost military, “You may brief them as you desire. I shall announce you, myself.” He began to turn, then swiveled back to her, “One thing. Do you need a mic or other equipment?”

“My mother likely told you, I don’t need a mic for this room or this size of an orchestra. I was the only singer not miced during the Messiah performance.”

Deirdre was a professional child performer. She was known in the musical community and to her fans as D. She was later called the Dangerous Diva by the press. The point is that she hid her skill from everyone. At this moment is her coming out, so to speak.

I love to use hidden skills. I’ve used it in quite a few of my novels. I recommend it as a plot device in your novels—if you have a place for it. Hidden skills is a powerful plot device for entertainment, and that’s the point. The main reason I use these plot devices is because they are entertaining to me. If they are entertaining to me, I assume they are entertaining to others. We can see, Harry Potty is well accepted as an entertaining story and idea, the use of hidden skills as a plot device adds to the entertainment factor. You can also see how better use of hidden skills might have improved the novels.

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 Ideas – New Novel, part x103, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Messiah

13 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x103, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Messiah

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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I’m also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

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 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 29: 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.

These are the steps I use to write 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

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Third attempt

Secrets

Judicial Setting

Legal argument

Prophecy

Two way love

Three way love (love rival)

Rival

Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)

Supernatural

Comeback

Retrieval

Taboo

Impossible Crime

Human god

Revolution

Games

Silent witness

Secret king

Messiah – Current discussion.

Hidden skills

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the — (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item

Identification

Contest

Search

War

Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)

Crime

Theater

Messiah: here is my definition – Messiah is the use of a special person who has a claim to some spiritual authority with spiritual or physical ramifications to further a plot.

Dune is perhaps the most famous modern novel that uses a messiah plot device. There aren’t a high number of novels that use this plot device, and the opportunities to use it are somewhat limited. The creative elements are relatively limited as well. I will say, you could use this plot device for much more than spiritual circumstances. Dune is a great example here and so is Harry Potty. Dune has a developed messiah rather than a spiritual messiah. Paul in Dune is the creation of a breeding program. He is a created messiah because he himself builds his own self-fulfilling prophecies to become the messiah of the universe. He isn’t a spiritual messiah—he is a physical and leadership messiah. This was and is a new cut on the concept of the messiah plot device.

Harry Potty is a messiah more akin to the normal spiritual messiah plot device. Harry Potty is not a spiritual messiah, but he is a god-like messiah. Harry Potty is a god with god-like powers that just happen to be miracles called magic. Harry fights against another god-like being called Voldermort. The V-guy is an evil god, while Harry is the good—kinda god. So, there you are, Harry Potty is a messiah plot device. Harry Potty and Dune are both messiah plots and themes, but that’s okay—you don’t have to use messiah as a plot of theme, but usually, the concept is so large, it fits into this mold.

I have used a messiah plot device for real—that is, I used it for a plot device and not purely as a theme or plot. I use this plot device in my Ghost Ship Chronicles. Before I give my example, I should mention the creative elements that drive the messiah. First, you need a special protagonist. This protagonist is special because they have some god-like attribute. Harry P. was not killable by the evil god-like dude. Paul in Dune as the end creation of a breeding program—a male who could drink and change the water of life. Second, you need a religious or religious-like organization. This is like a mysterium. A mysterium is a group, usually a religious group, that has secrets, hierarchy, and power of some type. In Dune this is the Bene Geserate. In Harry P., this is the magical world. In The Ghost Ship Chronicles, Den Protania’s body is saved by a being from the past. We don’t learn the full purpose for this until the last novel (which I haven’t written yet). The group is ad hoc in this novel.

Here is an example from Athelstan Cying:

The man opened the doors to the first and second cabins.

He realized the direction of the man’s search and attempted to turn him from his intentions. The man now stood before the door to the breached cabin.

“Stop!” the being shouted soundlessly into the stillness. “Stop!” he pleaded without effect. “Fool!” he screamed as the door opened and the white suited body swept into the cabin. The man tore through the remains of a friend, and was impaled on a dagger of plasteel that rimmed the breach in the hull; one gaping wound produced another.

The being moved instantly to the wounded man. He felt the man’s life as it slipped out of the body, and he struggled to call it back. He tried to hold on to the man’s soul. He tried to restart the dying body and recapture that breath of God’s devising. Unbidden, his consciousness merged with the dying man’s, and he felt the pain and then more than pain as Den’s soul slipped from his hold. He could do nothing to stop it. Den would no longer fight for his life or his body. His soul was gone and the only thing that was left was the castaway husk.

Then, with dread, the presence realized he was caught in the vacuum of the discarded body—a body that still desired life, but whose original master was gone. He became a person he never wished to be, a being he was not born to be. He was captured, a soul encased in a body that would not let him go. Resolved and as unrelenting to death as he had been for millennia, he struggled least he slip the way of this body’s previous tenant. With a will as powerful as the plasteel that pierced him, he recovered the body’s breath and then the heartbeat.

The contest was more than any, the man, Den, could have made himself. Slowly, the body responded, stabilized, fell from shock to unconsciousness, helpless but sustained and alive! He was safe for the moment—that is, if anyone would come help him. Resolutely, the powerful mind and soul kept guard over its new and fleshly prison.

 

Steven reached the breach in the ship just as Den’s vacsuit clad body rushed uncontrolled out of it and was impaled. The limbs trashed for a moment, then became still.

Steven yelled over the suit radio, “Johan, Den’s hurt!”

“How bad?” Johan snapped back.

“Really bad,” Steven tried to keep the horror out of his voice as he picked his way through the shattered plasteel toward Den. Steven choked back nausea as he hurriedly scanned the biomonitors on the suit. The suit sealed along the edges of the plasteel, but the indicators showed no respiration, no heartbeat, and the composite monitor gave a report of severe shock. Den’s faceplate was entirely fogged over.

Suit’s malfunctioning, Steven whispered, “If the suit’s sealed, the faceplate shouldn’t be fogged—ever—unless…,” but he wouldn’t think of that possibility. Den would have to be… Then, for a moment, the fog cleared, and he caught sight of Den’s eyes through the ceriplast; at first, the eyes remained dull and wide open, but then, as if a fire were kindled behind them, they suddenly lit up. Den’s face took on an appearance like none Steven had seen there before, an aspect of maturity unsuited to the visage of his youth. Then the eyes closed and the mask fogged over again. When Steven looked back at the suit monitors, the body functions had become incredibly normal.

Steven shook his head, and counting all he’d seen to fear-heightened imagination. He gazed all around the impaled body trying to determine how he could move it. After a moment, he noticed Johan enter the shadows of the cabin behind Den.

“How is he, Steven?”

“Hard to tell. The suit’s systems showed him dead for one instant and alive the next. That must have been a malfunction. They read normal now, but I think the suit’s fouled with blood, and I don’t believe he can survive a careful rescue.”

Johan propelled himself across the open cabin. As he checked Den over, Johan called over the radio, “Lokki, dispatch with Scott for emergency medical. We’ll meet them halfway…” Then finally, he noted the size of the piece of the ship that pierced Den’s suit, he continued, “Hold it… Dear Lord! Look at his suit. Lokki, tell medical we need them here, major medical. There’s no way we’re going to get that out of his suit without a vactent.”

Den is the messiah character, but no one knows it   This is similar to the secret king, but with the messiah twist. Den is a type of historical messiah—a person with skills and abilities that don’t exist in the current time, but that are required to face the evil of the times.

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

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x102, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Secret King

12 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x102, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Secret King

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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I’m also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

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 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 29: 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.

These are the steps I use to write 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

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Third attempt

Secrets

Judicial Setting

Legal argument

Prophecy

Two way love

Three way love (love rival)

Rival

Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)

Supernatural

Comeback

Retrieval

Taboo

Impossible Crime

Human god

Revolution

Games

Silent witness

Secret king – Current discussion.

Messiah

Hidden skills

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the — (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item

Identification

Contest

Search

War

Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)

Crime

Theater

Secret king: here is my definition – Secret king is the use of a special person who has a claim to some kind of fame or office who is seeking or being promoted to that fame or office to further a plot.

The Man in the Iron Mask is a secret king plot device. This is and was a well-used plot device in the Nineteenth and beginning of the Twentieth Centuries. The usual creative element used to propel this device is the noble who for some reason was excluded from their rightful inheritance. You can read the main ideas here—the bastard child, the twin, the stolen royal, the lost royal—then you can bring it into the modern era—the bastard child, the twin, the kidnapped child, the lost child. Then you can move this to a non-noble circumstance—you can use any inheritor, for example of a business or of a brand or of a family. I did use a variation on this idea in Shadow of Darkness. The same example, given below, works for secret king and silent witness. Read the example, and I’ll comment below.

Here is an example from Shadow of Darkness:

Bruce Lyons returned to his house in London with a large packet under his arm. Tilly and Marie rushed down the stairs. He received a big kiss from Tilly and a kiss on the cheek from Marie. He held up the manila colored package meaningfully.

“Is that the information?” Tilly asked.

“Might be,” Bruce answered. “I’d like a cigarette, to read the paper, and a Scotch whisky before I have to explain anything.”

“Very well,” Tilly gave him a look, “It’s just…we’ve waited so long.”

“Then a little longer won’t make any difference.”

They did wait until after dinner. At the table, after dessert, Bruce Lyons pulled out the packet again, “Are you ready to know the truth—or at least the best my operatives can tease out about this woman, Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova?”

“Yes, please,” mouthed Tilly and Marie together.

“Very well. Here it all is.” He pushed the dishes back and opened the package. There were many photographs and lots of printed material. “You don’t have to read it all. I have, and here is the synopsis.” He paused for a long time until Tilly and Marie both complained, “All right. Here it is. Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova was injured in Berlin during the war. She had extensive damage to her lungs, legs, and right arm. We understand the injury was caused by an antitank weapon during the last stages of the siege of Berlin.”

“Why was she in Berlin?” Marie looked up from the pictures on the table.

“The Soviet tale is that she was brought there by the Germans as a sex slave and escaped.”

“How horrible.”

“That may not be the whole story. They think she is Russian.”

“Why?”

“She speaks perfect Moscow Russian. We haven’t been able to piece anything together beyond that. A Jewish writer brought her to Moscow from Berlin. She lived with his family for a while. The Jew took her to a convent.”

“Why?”

“Our report doesn’t say. There are some indications of lasting injuries—perhaps mental.”

“Poor Lumière.”

“Her paperwork is perfect.”

“What does that mean?”

“It meets all Soviet criteria. They think she is fully Soviet.”

“That is good for her?”

“Bad for our theory—if there were questions, that might be more indicative.”

“It might be possible to get perfect papers—right?”

“Possible, very difficult.”

“What else is there?”

“She started acting as a translator for His Beatitude, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.”

“The Orthodox Church?”

“The same. From there, the NKVD, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, and SMERSh, the Counterintelligence Directorate became interested in her translation skills. Apparently, she speaks languages perfectly with no accent and understands them like a native.”

“That would be Lumière.”

“The NKVD hired her and set up a special office for her called Embassy Relations. She was essentially a spy inside the embassies. A very good one according to the embassy staff we talked to. Somehow she gained Stalin’s attention. Pravda calls her Stalin’s Little Ptitsa.”

“What’s that mean?”

“His little bird. Stalin was also impressed by her skills. He made her his personal translator and put her in charge of a new directorate in the new MVD, the Special Directorate for International Understanding. Marvelous the names the Soviets give their agencies—isn’t it? She manages all the offices she previously controlled, all the Soviet translators, and the university language programs.” Bruce paused for a long moment, “Marie, I want you to think about this with me very carefully.”

“When you say that, I’m always afraid it means I will be very unhappy.”

“You may be, but contemplate this. Whether this person is Lumière or not, this woman has acquired power in the Soviet Union. She is a member of the Communist Party. She is the head of a Soviet directorate. She has the ear and the approval of Stalin. If it is Lumière, how difficult would it be to spirit her away?”

Marie looked down at the table, “Impossible.”

“If she wanted to leave, how difficult?”

“Impossible.”

“How much effect do you think this woman has on the Soviet Union and all the nations it works with?”

Marie looked up into his eyes, “I suspect she has a lot of effect.”

“She has connections with the Orthodox Church, the Jewish community, and the MVD. This woman is powerful and can act with incredible power. You can say nothing about this, but we know from the Americans, she helped get a very important Jewish manuscript out of the Soviet Union.”

Bruce pulled Marie close to him. Tilly put her arms around Marie’s shoulders. Bruce murmured to her, “Marie, even if we wanted to, I don’t think we could get her out alive. She might not want to leave. She might see the work she is doing as beneficial to many. It might be better to imagine she is not Lumière. To imagine she is just whom the Soviets believe her to be.”

Marie tried hard not to cry, “What about mother and father?”

Tilly pulled her closer, “For them, Lumière is dead. If we bring up this hope, this false hope, what do you think that would do to them? What has it done to you?”

“I loved her so much, Tilly.”

“I loved Lumière too. I loved her like a daughter. What do you think we should do?”

A few gentle sobs escaped Marie’s lips, “This is so hard for my heart, Aunt Tilly, but I know what we must do. We must keep this our secret. Mother must not know. Mother must not suppose. Lumière is dead for her and for father. She is dead, and she should remain in her grave. Anything else is too horrible to contemplate.”

Bruce quietly choked, “She might not even be Lumière.”

Marie glanced up at him and fell weeping into Bruce and Tilly’s arms. After a while, Tilly helped her up the stairs and into bed.

Lumière is the secret king. Marie is the silent witness. Pretty cool. Both plot devices are at work together. This is an example where you can use more than one plot device at a time. Lumière is the secret king because through injury, she lost the knowledge of her heritage and powers. She gradually regains her knowledge through the novel and seeks to take back her position. Marie is hiding all kinds of knowledge for many reasons. In this case, the secret king is a goddess and, as I wrote, she was injured. These are really great plot devices that can propel all kinds of entertainment and excitement.

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

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x101, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Silent Witness

11 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x101, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Silent Witness

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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I’m also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

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 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 29: 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.

These are the steps I use to write 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

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Third attempt

Secrets

Judicial Setting

Legal argument

Prophecy

Two way love

Three way love (love rival)

Rival

Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)

Supernatural

Comeback

Retrieval

Taboo

Impossible Crime

Human god

Revolution

Games

Silent witness – Current discussion.

Secret king

Messiah

Hidden skills

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the — (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item

Identification

Contest

Search

War

Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)

Crime

Theater

Silent witness: here is my definition – Silent witness is the use of an intentional or unintentionally secretive evidence or person who observes an event to further a plot.

The classic event is a crime and the classic storyline is the threatened or implicated witness. I can’t think of a novel off hand, but you’ve seen examples in a hundred cheesy crime shows. It’s almost a modus in itself. I have used variations of the silent witness as a plot device, but I haven’t used it in a classic form. Specifically, I did use a version of silent witness a couple of times in Shadow of Darkness. Generally, in silent witness, the witness has knowledge of an event, but restrains from revealing their knowledge. In Shadow of Darkness, the protagonist begins to understand who she is and was, but she doesn’t reveal her enlightenment until the end of the novel—and not even then completely. There is another silent witness plot device going on at the same time.

Here is an example from Shadow of Darkness:

Bruce Lyons returned to his house in London with a large packet under his arm. Tilly and Marie rushed down the stairs. He received a big kiss from Tilly and a kiss on the cheek from Marie. He held up the manila colored package meaningfully.

“Is that the information?” Tilly asked.

“Might be,” Bruce answered. “I’d like a cigarette, to read the paper, and a Scotch whisky before I have to explain anything.”

“Very well,” Tilly gave him a look, “It’s just…we’ve waited so long.”

“Then a little longer won’t make any difference.”

They did wait until after dinner. At the table, after dessert, Bruce Lyons pulled out the packet again, “Are you ready to know the truth—or at least the best my operatives can tease out about this woman, Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova?”

“Yes, please,” mouthed Tilly and Marie together.

“Very well. Here it all is.” He pushed the dishes back and opened the package. There were many photographs and lots of printed material. “You don’t have to read it all. I have, and here is the synopsis.” He paused for a long time until Tilly and Marie both complained, “All right. Here it is. Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova was injured in Berlin during the war. She had extensive damage to her lungs, legs, and right arm. We understand the injury was caused by an antitank weapon during the last stages of the siege of Berlin.”

“Why was she in Berlin?” Marie looked up from the pictures on the table.

“The Soviet tale is that she was brought there by the Germans as a sex slave and escaped.”

“How horrible.”

“That may not be the whole story. They think she is Russian.”

“Why?”

“She speaks perfect Moscow Russian. We haven’t been able to piece anything together beyond that. A Jewish writer brought her to Moscow from Berlin. She lived with his family for a while. The Jew took her to a convent.”

“Why?”

“Our report doesn’t say. There are some indications of lasting injuries—perhaps mental.”

“Poor Lumière.”

“Her paperwork is perfect.”

“What does that mean?”

“It meets all Soviet criteria. They think she is fully Soviet.”

“That is good for her?”

“Bad for our theory—if there were questions, that might be more indicative.”

“It might be possible to get perfect papers—right?”

“Possible, very difficult.”

“What else is there?”

“She started acting as a translator for His Beatitude, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.”

“The Orthodox Church?”

“The same. From there, the NKVD, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, and SMERSh, the Counterintelligence Directorate became interested in her translation skills. Apparently, she speaks languages perfectly with no accent and understands them like a native.”

“That would be Lumière.”

“The NKVD hired her and set up a special office for her called Embassy Relations. She was essentially a spy inside the embassies. A very good one according to the embassy staff we talked to. Somehow she gained Stalin’s attention. Pravda calls her Stalin’s Little Ptitsa.”

“What’s that mean?”

“His little bird. Stalin was also impressed by her skills. He made her his personal translator and put her in charge of a new directorate in the new MVD, the Special Directorate for International Understanding. Marvelous the names the Soviets give their agencies—isn’t it? She manages all the offices she previously controlled, all the Soviet translators, and the university language programs.” Bruce paused for a long moment, “Marie, I want you to think about this with me very carefully.”

“When you say that, I’m always afraid it means I will be very unhappy.”

“You may be, but contemplate this. Whether this person is Lumière or not, this woman has acquired power in the Soviet Union. She is a member of the Communist Party. She is the head of a Soviet directorate. She has the ear and the approval of Stalin. If it is Lumière, how difficult would it be to spirit her away?”

Marie looked down at the table, “Impossible.”

“If she wanted to leave, how difficult?”

“Impossible.”

“How much effect do you think this woman has on the Soviet Union and all the nations it works with?”

Marie looked up into his eyes, “I suspect she has a lot of effect.”

“She has connections with the Orthodox Church, the Jewish community, and the MVD. This woman is powerful and can act with incredible power. You can say nothing about this, but we know from the Americans, she helped get a very important Jewish manuscript out of the Soviet Union.”

Bruce pulled Marie close to him. Tilly put her arms around Marie’s shoulders. Bruce murmured to her, “Marie, even if we wanted to, I don’t think we could get her out alive. She might not want to leave. She might see the work she is doing as beneficial to many. It might be better to imagine she is not Lumière. To imagine she is just whom the Soviets believe her to be.”

Marie tried hard not to cry, “What about mother and father?”

Tilly pulled her closer, “For them, Lumière is dead. If we bring up this hope, this false hope, what do you think that would do to them? What has it done to you?”

“I loved her so much, Tilly.”

“I loved Lumière too. I loved her like a daughter. What do you think we should do?”

A few gentle sobs escaped Marie’s lips, “This is so hard for my heart, Aunt Tilly, but I know what we must do. We must keep this our secret. Mother must not know. Mother must not suppose. Lumière is dead for her and for father. She is dead, and she should remain in her grave. Anything else is too horrible to contemplate.”

Bruce quietly choked, “She might not even be Lumière.”

Marie glanced up at him and fell weeping into Bruce and Tilly’s arms. After a while, Tilly helped her up the stairs and into bed.

The silent witness is Marie. She has learned her sister is in the Soviet Union and not dead as everyone thought. She decides to keep this knowledge secret from her family and especially her mother. You can see the delicious entertainment value of this entire setup. The setup continues to the end of the novel where Marie’s sister’s existence is finally revealed. This revelation is the power of the silent witness, by the way. The silent witness always results (usually and should) in a scene where the witness spills their guts. That is perfect entertainment.

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

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x100, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Games

10 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x100, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Games

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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I’m also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

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 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 29: 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.

These are the steps I use to write 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

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Third attempt

Secrets

Judicial Setting

Legal argument

Prophecy

Two way love

Three way love (love rival)

Rival

Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)

Supernatural

Comeback

Retrieval

Taboo

Impossible Crime

Human god

Revolution

Games – Current discussion.

Silent witness

Secret king

Messiah

Hidden skills

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the — (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item

Identification

Contest

Search

War

Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)

Crime

Theater

Games: here is my definition – Games is the use of a competition to further a plot.

All it takes is competition. Games can be focused on a sport, on a pursuit such as chess, or on a made up competition. The classic games plot device is Rocky or the Karate Kid. In both, the game (sport) is the theme and the focus of the plot. You don’t have to make the game, the competition, a center of the theme or the plot. I like to include completion wherever it will fit and sports anywhere in the context of my writing. Competition is a wonderful plot device, and the inclusion of sport is just entertaining.

Here is an example from Regia Anglorum:

The five girls stuck together. They were called into the soccer group. Since Nikita was an unknown quality in soccer, they just put her on the girl’s lowest team. This was just an easy level of competition for the structured sports. The better players were usually moved to more proficient teams. In all there were four classes in their age groupings during the second shift. This shift included almost all the children who were eleven, twelve, and thirteen on the ship. The other classes averaged twenty kids and the triple had fifteen. That gave enough players for eight teams. On soccer days, they could play four games at once and even promote playoffs between the groups over a group of sevendays.

The five girls found themselves on the same team. Nikita worried out loud, “I’ve never played soccer before.”

Alaina told her, “We aren’t any good either, but we try hard, and it’s fun. You just kick the ball.”

The recreation supervisor was an older recreation area ranger named Journeyman Slate—Coach Slate, Nikita learned to call him. At first, he led the teams through a series of training maneuvers. They dribbled the ball and practiced passing. They kicked goals and practiced some plays. Everything was new to Nikita. She didn’t know what to do. At first, she stood at the back with her friends and watched. When it was her turn, she valiantly tried to do what she had seen and what the instructor described. In the beginning, she was at a loss, but very quickly the skills came to her. She didn’t know where they came from, but she found could easily perform the drills. It was a little spooky. At first, she could barely dribble the ball, but by the tenth time down the field, she was moving it faster than anyone else. It was as though her mind captured and reproduced exactly what she was expected to do. The other thing she noticed was she was able to keep running much longer than anyone else. She had run and crept everywhere in Carnival. With enough food, she knew she could run nearly full out for a very long time. She had done it almost every day in Carnival while she ducked and hid and kept away from the creeps and catchers. She had to have those skills to survive, and those skills gave her an incredible edge of endurance. She wasn’t strong. Like Dieter had said, her muscles were underdeveloped, but the muscles she had could keep firing and firing. She didn’t feel any lactic acid burn, or else she had trained herself to ignore it. She couldn’t kick the ball far, but she could move it quickly and precisely.

When they started playing, she discovered something else. Those skills that kept her safe for so long in Carnival told her immediately where everyone was on the field. The discomfort she felt when anyone was too close, or she had few options for escape, turned into a source of a sport’s skill. When she had the ball, she knew when someone was near her and could turn or stop or swerve almost automatically. It was uncanny. At first, Nikita just played the ball a little. When she received it, she took it and moved it to a passing position and passed it. That seemed the best, but she discovered quickly that when she had the ball, no one could take it from her. That’s when her teammates started to pass the ball to her. She would bring it up toward the front line of forwards and cleanly pass it to them. Her passes were so accurate that she could always move the ball forward. Her passes were not far, but they were accurate, and she always found the right hole to kick the ball through. By the end of the half, their team hadn’t made any goals, but then Nikita hadn’t made any goal shots—she was a halfback behind the line of forwards.

Alaina ran up to her during halftime, “I thought you hadn’t played any soccer.”

“I haven’t. I just feel natural playing it.”

“You sure know the rules.”

“I used to read the papers everyday. It was real popular on El Rashad. They always had stuff on the game. With that kind of attention, it’s not hard to pick up.”

At their field, Journeyman Slate switched Nikita to a forward; then he called out the beginning of the second half. Nikita received the ball early and passed it. The next time someone passed it to her, Alaina screamed, “Go for the goal, Nikita. Go for the goal.”

She did, and she made a goal. It was the first for their team.

Here is an example of sport competition. This is a game and education. I use the sport plot device where I can. I think this is a great plot device. You can also use completion. I couldn’t think of a good and easy example for just competition. However, competition is a great plot device, and a type of the game plot device.

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 Ideas – New Novel, part x99, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Revolution

9 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x99, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Revolution

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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I’m also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

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 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 29: 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.

These are the steps I use to write 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

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Third attempt

Secrets

Judicial Setting

Legal argument

Prophecy

Two way love

Three way love (love rival)

Rival

Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)

Supernatural

Comeback

Retrieval

Taboo

Impossible Crime

Human god

Revolution – Current discussion.

Games

Silent witness

Secret king

Messiah

Hidden skills

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the — (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item

Identification

Contest

Search

War

Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)

Crime

Revolution: here is my definition – Revolution is the use of a resistance movement to further a plot.

Le Mis uses a revolution plot device—so does The Hunger Games. So does the sparkly Vampire novels. So does Harry Potty to a degree. You don’t have to have a full blown revolution. You don’t have fight a government. All you need is to resist some type or degree of authority. The novel doesn’t have to have a theme of revolution, but just need a little resistance. As you can tell, this is a very effective plot device. I’ve used it a few times in my novels. Most of the use has been in my science fiction—specifically, The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox novels. This series is all about revolution and resistance. I’ll give you an example.

Here is an example from The End of Honor:

The stone platform before the throne was cleaned of papers and gore, but John still smelled the scent of death in the place. He had known death too often and had seen it on too many planets not to recognize its stench.

Emperor Perodus waved them forward into the Hall. A large contingent of the Imperial Marines stood at attention against the walls.

John and the other six leaders of the banned Houses did not move forward to be received until the rest of the body of the Landsritters sat in their places. Slowly, then, followed by their contingent of Huscarls, they moved to stand before the Iron throne.

Perodus called to his brother at their approach, “John-Mark, welcome. How go the wars on the Fringe?”

“I don’t know brother. There are even more important wars to be fought here, the Fringe can take care of itself.”

“Why are you here, John-Mark? I did not recall you. I didn’t recall the Marshall of the Huscarls—did I Count Rathenberg?”

The new seneschal shook his head, “No, your majesty.”

“John-Mark, why did you leave your post?”

“I learned, from Count Acier, that I was banned.”

“This is not true. Six Houses were banned. You were not.”

“I was called traitor.”

“The Princess Lyral was found to be a traitoress,” Perodus stroked his chin.

John-Mark took out his sword and spoke with great deliberation, “I proclaim now, in the presence of my peers, the peers of the realm, that it was I who in any and all degrees planned the mischief attributed to the Royal Princess Lyral Neuterra. She was innocent of any wrong doing and acted only at my bidding and in the interests of the Empire. I further swear by my rank and degree that the Emperor Maricus had full knowledge of the actions I had taken to procure a House and standing.”

Perodus spoke coolly, “Who is there here to believe your confession?”

“Mine is a greater confession than you allowed the Lady Lyral.”

“Indeed,” spoke Duke Centri from the banned Houses, “Why should the Prince John-Mark take on the obligation and guilt of one who is already dead? That is—unless it is true.”

“What do you really want, John-Mark?” interrupted the new Emperor.

“We will speak of Lyral again, brother,” an implied threat shaded John’s words. “I came to petition for the banned Houses. They are banned because of me. If you will grant their status again, I freely accept their obligation.”

“I promised their holdings to others already. I have plans for their titles and lands. You ask me to change my opinion of their actions and insurrection just because you claim their guilt.”

“Yes. I appeal to your justice. Will you not remove the ban?”

“Read the charges against the banned Houses, Count Rathenberg.”

The seneschal swept an electronic pen across his slate and read the Emperor’s charges without pause.

When the Count finished John spoke loudly into the ensuing silence, “I ask you again,” he said with energy, “Will you remove the ban?”

“I will not.”

“Then I petition the Landsritters.”

“You have no right.”

“I am a peer.”

“You have no right nor position.”

“You said yourself, I am not banned.”

“By your confession and your dereliction of your post, you name yourself traitor.”

“Then I speak for Neuterra and the banned Houses.”

“Is this true Acier? Does the Prince speak for you?”

“Yes.”

“He speaks for Centri,” spoke the gruff Duke.

“Also Anas.”

“Deneb.”

“Reinland.”

“He speaks for House Rathenberg,” Duke Rathenberg’s response was dangerous and level.

Prince John-Mark approached the Landsritters, “The Emperor Perodus will not remove the ban. Yet, he has no justification for it. I demand you reverse the action of the Emperor Perodus.”

The nobles shuffled in their seats but none spoke.

“Nobles of the Landsritters,” John cried in anger, “Where is the Emperor’s body. The Emperor Maricus, where is my father’s body. It is by blood right that I should see it. It is by the Code that it should be presented as proof of the Emperor’s death. The body is not to be seen because Maricus was murdered treasonously. You heard the rumors. You know the actions of my brother. You know the innocence of the Princess Lyral, but you did not act to stop this assassin.

“Six of the most honorable and ancient Houses of the Empire are now banned. The Emperor gathers his forces above you. What does he possess 25 perhaps 35 heavy ships. Which of you can face so many capital ships and defend your holdings. Each Duchy is limited to five capital ships plus two in build status. Is that not correct, Count Rathenberg? Maricus defended the Kingdoms of the Empire with his forces, yet this Emperor begins his reign with force and a threat of force against you.”

John turned half toward Perodus still staring directly at the Assembly, “Where do you intend to strike first Perodus? Centri? Deneb? Neuterra? Surely you don’t expect the banned Houses to simply give up their lands and title without at fight.”

“I expect them, like you, to be ruled by the dictates of their Emperor,” Perodus hissed between his teeth.

“Nobles of the Landsritters, you have not acted, you will not act. I ask then, not for a removal of the ban. Not for the removal of the new Emperor. I don’t ask for revenge for the Princess Lyral, that I shall undertake myself. I ask instead, who will retrieve the honor of this incompetent body? Who will stand as a man and be counted among men and not worms? I ask you, who will join the banned Houses? Who will join us to regain our peace and freedom? What of you El Rashad? You stand between Neuterra and Centri and Anas. Do you think you can weather the war the Emperor will wage against them? Or you Aurora and Belgesa, you stand between the old and the new. What concessions has Perodus asked of you already? Are you ready for more?”

Perodus broke in with a tired voice, “Cyan, El Avrel, Neuland, Launch — I believe these are also beholden to or near the banned Houses. Let them answer for themselves. Are you willing to join the banned Houses and yourself be banned?”

You can read this novel yourself—it is in publication as a paperback and as an electronic book. John is leading the other houses in a resistance against the Emperor. Emperor Perodus is a really bad guy, but you need to read the novel to see just how bad. The point is that I use a revolution plot device to forward the plot of the novel. This happens to be a creative element of the novel as well.

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

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x98, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Human God

8 July 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x98, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Human God

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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.

 sorcha-cover
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I’m also working on my 29th novel, working title School.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. Release (climax of creative elements)

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 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 29: 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.

These are the steps I use to write 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

Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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

Below is a list of plot devices. I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device. In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing. If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain. If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining. I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices.

Backstory

Cliffhanger

Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Eucatastrophe

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Flashforward

Foreshadowing

Frame story, or a story within a story

Framing device

MacGuffin

In medias res

Narrative hook

Ochi

Plot twist

Poetic justice

Predestination paradox

Quibble

Red herring

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Ticking clock scenario

Chekhov’s gun

Unreliable narrator

Third attempt

Secrets

Judicial Setting

Legal argument

Prophecy

Two way love

Three way love (love rival)

Rival

Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)

Supernatural

Comeback

Retrieval

Taboo

Impossible Crime

Human god – Current discussion.

Revolution

Games

Silent witness

Secret king

Messiah

Hidden skills

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the — (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item

Identification

Contest

Search

War

Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)

Crime

Human god: here is my definition – Human god is the use of a god-like being who happens to be human to further a plot.

I’m not sure that a plot, theme, or plot device about an actual god who isn’t human in some way could ever sell a novel. Without the appeal of human, you are writing about something completely outside of the human sphere or experience, on the other hand, a romantic character is like a human god—to a degree. The degree is important. Harry Potty is a romantic character—he is also a human god. He has god-like powers and lives among a god-like people. This is purely the human god plot device, but in the case of Harry Potty, this is a human god theme and plot.

Likewise, almost every superhero is a human god plot device. In most cases of super heroes, they are human god plots and themes. You might ask, what is the difference? If the climax of the novel resolves on the human god powers, then the theme and plot is likely human god. If the climax is based on something else, then it is simply a human god plot device.

I use the human god plot device extensively. In general, my climax resolutions are not based in the human god’s powers thus, I use it as a plot device and not a theme or a plot in itself. I’ll be more specific for the purpose of understanding. A great example is Superman. In comics where Superman uses his powers to resolve the climax, that is a human god theme or plot. If Superman happens to be Superman, but the climax doesn’t use his super powers for resolution, the plot device is human god and not the theme or plot.

I wrote that I use human god frequently as a plot device. My gods are human first and godly second. Their godly powers are restricted in some way and the climax resolution isn’t about their powers. I’ll provide an example.

Here is an example from Sister of Darkness:

“Mother,” out of breath, Robert rushed through the door and into the house.

Leora laid down her book, “Why are you home from school so early? Where are your sisters and brother?”

“Mother, listen!”

Leora sat up straighter, “Tell me.”

“The Germans have invaded France. The radio said they are coming through the low countries.”

“Why did the school send you home?”

“The Father said they needed to spend the rest of the day in prayer.”

“That is right and very good. We should all spend today in prayer.”

Jacques followed by Marie and Lumière fell through the doorway.

“Mama,” Marie screamed, “Is Leila coming to get us?”

Leora pulled the girl to her and held her. She glanced around at her other children. Their eyes were wide and questioning, “Don’t be silly, Marie, she is not coming to get us. Whatever put that thought in your head?”

Marie glanced at Lumière.

Leora frowned and put her fingers over Marie’s lips, “Don’t say that name again—or I will tell your father.”

Marie ducked her head.

Jacques grasped Leora’s arm, “But why not, mama? What is so important about her name?”

“Some names have power. Her name is one that has power in this world…” Leora paused a moment, “Just as my name has power in this world.”

Lumière stared at her, “Your name?”

“Yes. My name.”

“But why? How?”

“It is just like I call in the light. It is something no one else in the world can do. The Aton God gave this to me. It is a protection for you and for those who trust the Aton God.”

Robert stepped closer, “Lumière can call the light.”

Leora sucked in her breath, “Yes. I know. But that shouldn’t worry any of you.

Robert pursed his lips, ”You told us the Aton God is the God Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Jacob, Israel, and Christ. His name is a name of power?”

“Yes, but you must say it correctly. The name of God that is His name is YHWH.” The sound of the word reverberated in the room, and the children all stared around in alarm.

Lumière grasped Leora’s hand and shook it, “Mother, how do you know these things? How do you call the light? Why are we so different—all of us?”

Leora pulled Lumière closer to her. She kissed the girl’s forehead. Leora screwed up her lips and tapped her teeth, “I am not sure your father will approve of me telling you. You have asked a reasonable but difficult question.” Leora settled Marie more easily on her knees. She motioned for the others to sit at her feet, “I will tell you but you must never reveal to anyone what I say. You must swear to me. All our lives may depend on your silence.”

The children glanced around at each other then at Marie. Marie started to put her fingers in her mouth, but as a nine year old, suddenly thought better of that and dropped her hand to her lap, “I know what you are all thinking, and I promise not to say anything.”

“Marie, are you sure this is a promise you can keep? If not, I can tell you when you are ready.”

Marie’s face turned up in distress, “I promise. I swear I won’t tell.”

“Then listen carefully. Just to be certain, I will recite everything to you in Egyptian…ancient Egyptian, and I will place a ward on my words. You will understand them, but you will not be able to repeat them or what they mean except in the tongue you hear them.”

Lumière turned up her face, “Is it a spell?”

“It is indeed a spell.”

Leora made a sign in the air. She called the light, and the thin winter sunlight coalesced on her finger tips and wrapped around her arms. She spoke words her children had never heard before. Words that had not been said since the Great Pyramid had been laid down. Each of them felt the hair on their heads raise and their mouths became dry. Then their mother began speaking slowly and distinctly to them in ancient Egyptian, “I am Leora. I have been the goddess of light since my first remembrances. I was born in Egypt more than four thousand years ago. My sister, Leila was my twin. She is the goddess of darkness. We were worshipped until the Aton God led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. When Pharaoh’s army failed to stop them, and all the gods of Egypt could not stand against the Aton God, my sister and I were able to escape from the two lands with only our lives. We fled in darkness, and my sister who had power in and over darkness ensured that I departed without my followers and without any protection. She took over and ruled me like a master rules a slave, and in the darkness, I was powerless to stop her. We fled to the sparkling blue lakes, one salt and one fresh, in the land now called Tunisia.

“In that place, my sister built a temple to darkness and ruled over the lands and people we found there.”

Leora and Leila are goddesses. The children are the offspring of Leora and Paul Bolang, her warrior. This is the beginning of World War Two and Leora tells her children about her and their background. In the plot device of the human god, she is a human god. She is more human than god and the resolution of the novel is not about her god-like powers, but about her daughter.

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

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