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Sunday, February 18, 2018

riting - part x408, Novel Form, Designing a Plot from a Character, Expanded Scene

18 February 2018, Writing - part x408, Novel Form, Designing a Plot from a Character, Expanded Scene

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.

Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning 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.
     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:

1.      Design the initial scene
2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a.       Research as required
b.      Develop the initial setting
c.       Develop the characters
d.      Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5.      Write the climax scene
6.      Write the falling action scene(s)
7.      Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.  The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.  
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School
 
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records. 
How to begin a novel.  Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea.  I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement.  Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement.  Here is an initial cut.

For novel 29:  Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 30:  Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

This is the classical form for writing a successful novel:

1.      Design the initial scene
2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a.       Research as required
b.      Develop the initial setting
c.       Develop the characters (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)
d.      Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (internal and external)
3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5.      Write the climax scene
6.      Write the falling action scene(s)
7.      Write the dénouement scene
              
The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together.  The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw.  They are inseparable.  This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel. 

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

1.      The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
2.      The Rising action scenes
3.      The Climax scene
4.      The Falling action scene(s)
5.      The Dénouement scene
             
So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene?  Let’s start from a theme statement.  Here is an example from my latest novel:

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

Here is the scene development outline:

1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
          
If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

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

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

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

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

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

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

Today:  If I have a romantic character who is pathos building, I can build a plot based on the revelation of the protagonist.  This is flat out how I write a novel.  I do want to write a little more about protagonists and characters in general.  I’m going to put the zero to hero plot development method into an outline form like the above.

1.      Develop a great protagonist (romantic and pathetic)
2.      Determine a zero point for the protagonist
3.      Determine a hero point for the protagonist
4.      Figure a means (plot) to get the protagonist first to zero and then to hero
5.      Determine a telic flaw that conjoins the plot and the protagonist’s development from zero to hero

Here’s what I’m trying to do for you.  I’d like to give you ideas that help you develop a plot.  In the first technique, we used a protagonist, a setting, and a theme idea to build an initial scene.  This is my chosen technique for writing a novel. 

The second idea I presented you was zero to hero.  We design a protagonist worth writing about and project the zero of the protagonist and the hero of the protagonist.  We develop a telic flaw for the protagonist and the novel.  Then we write the protagonist to a zero and then to a hero while resolving the telic flaw.  Easy as pie.

There are also a couple of other means of plot development.  I don’t recommend them, but they exist.  That is the short story and the scene expansion method. 

I’ll repeat the scene development outline:

1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker

If you look at the scene development outline you can see the basic ingredients to write a strong plot.  All you have to do is to develop an idea for a scene and expand it to a novel length or story length plot. 

I’m more in favor of this type of plot development than of some of the others.  You can use this method with a short story, an essay, or personal anecdote.  As a matter of a fact, I’ve been reading an expert at this type of scene expansion lately.  There are a lot of ways to approach this type of plot development.

First, develop a setting.  This means a place, time, stuff, and characters.   Let’s say we are developing a novel about girls in a boarding school.  There is a place for the setting.  All you need is a place.  Now, give it a time.  When will this story take place?  We don’t have to get too crazy about this—if you want to write a really good plot about a girl’s boarding school, pick a period you know well and one that will excite your readers.  Perhaps the “know well” is more important than the “excite your readers,” but pick one anyway.  Let’s say we choose the 1960s. 

Next we need stuff.  Stuff can wait a while, but you can tie stuff to the place and period.  For example, in the 1960s some stuff might be fashions.  In the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, fashion is increasingly important, but in general, the question is not fashion as much as it is dress.  Either is a type of stuff, however, in the earlier times, dress was the key, the fact of pleasant raiment and not necessarily the question of fashion for fashion sake.

In a boarding school, stuff might be a treasure in the school, a mystery in the school, a criminal in the school.  The stuff follows the storyline we develop, but let’s look at the characters because the storyline comes out of their interaction with the place and time.

Characters are the defining part of the scene development.  Let’s say my protagonist is an American girl in a British boarding school.  You can develop this character all you like.  Give her a past.  Give her hobbies and friends in the good ol’ USA.  Isolate her in Britain.  Give her some acquaintances who become friends in the school.

The interaction of the characters builds the storyline and the scenes.  At this point, we have the concept of a girl in a boarding school.  Give it a year.  Select the beginning (usually the beginning of the term) and the end of the school year.  You can vary this a little—she enters late or she enters early.  In any case, the idea is an American girl goes to school for a year in a British boarding school.  This is the basics of a scene, but instead of a single scene, we are going to develop an entire plot—we kind of did.  The question is now to fill in the details.

What about a plot?  With a story idea like this, I can easily transition to a full plot.  Make the stuff a treasure in the school and one of the girls a ruined heiress who honestly needs a treasure and whose family once owned the school.  This produces a simple plot, but a plot that can be developed in any fashion the writer wants to go.  The point was to start with the elements of a scene and to expand those elements into a storyline that can become an overall plot.        

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Writing - part x407, Novel Form, Designing a Plot from a Character, Short Story

17 February 2018, Writing - part x407, Novel Form, Designing a Plot from a Character, Short Story

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.

Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning 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.
     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:

1.      Design the initial scene
2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a.       Research as required
b.      Develop the initial setting
c.       Develop the characters
d.      Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5.      Write the climax scene
6.      Write the falling action scene(s)
7.      Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.  The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.  
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School
 
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records. 
How to begin a novel.  Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea.  I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement.  Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement.  Here is an initial cut.

For novel 29:  Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.

For novel 30:  Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.

This is the classical form for writing a successful novel:

1.      Design the initial scene
2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a.       Research as required
b.      Develop the initial setting
c.       Develop the characters (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)
d.      Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (internal and external)
3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5.      Write the climax scene
6.      Write the falling action scene(s)
7.      Write the dénouement scene
              
The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together.  The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw.  They are inseparable.  This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel. 

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

1.      The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
2.      The Rising action scenes
3.      The Climax scene
4.      The Falling action scene(s)
5.      The Dénouement scene
             
So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene?  Let’s start from a theme statement.  Here is an example from my latest novel:

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

Here is the scene development outline:

1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
          
If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

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

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

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

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

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

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

Today:  If I have a romantic character who is pathos building, I can build a plot based on the revelation of the protagonist.  This is flat out how I write a novel.  I do want to write a little more about protagonists and characters in general.  I’m going to put the zero to hero plot development method into an outline form like the above.

1.      Develop a great protagonist (romantic and pathetic)
2.      Determine a zero point for the protagonist
3.      Determine a hero point for the protagonist
4.      Figure a means (plot) to get the protagonist first to zero and then to hero
5.      Determine a telic flaw that conjoins the plot and the protagonist’s development from zero to hero

Here’s what I’m trying to do for you.  I’d like to give you ideas that help you develop a plot.  In the first technique, we used a protagonist, a setting, and a theme idea to build an initial scene.  This is my chosen technique for writing a novel. 

The second idea I presented you was zero to hero.  We design a protagonist worth writing about and project the zero of the protagonist and the hero of the protagonist.  We develop a telic flaw for the protagonist and the novel.  Then we write the protagonist to a zero and then to a hero while resolving the telic flaw.  Easy as pie.

There are also a couple of other means of plot development.  I don’t recommend them, but they exist.  That is the short story and the scene expansion method. 

Let’s look at the short story means for novel plot development.  There is more to this than might meet the eye.  In the aggregate, the short story method means the author has written enough short stories to produce a normal length novel.  The trick is to modify the short stories to fit the theme of the novel.  Ray Bradbury and George R. R. Martin both have used this method to write novels.  A great example is The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine from Ray Bradbury and Tuff Voyaging from Martin. 

The astute reader will say, the short story method is great but how do you write a great short story?  Well you need a plot for each short story.  Ah, that’s it.  How do you produce a plot for a short story?  There are about three ways.

One method that I seriously don’t suggest is the “it suddenly came to me” method.  I’ve found that this method doesn’t work, and in any case, you can’t control it.  Even if you sit and try to think of a cohesive plot for a short story, you usually can’t do it.  I don’t use this method, and I wouldn’t recommend it.  I will say that if a sudden idea came to me for a short story or a novel, I’d write it down in my journal and think about developing it.

The next method is the story method.  Everyone has stories or anecdotes they can share in writing.  I keep a list of events in my life that would make great stories.  I have written many “short stories” this way, and you can read them at www.wingsoverkansas.com.  If you have a story to tell—tell the story.  Most people can generate many short stories this way.  You might still ask, how do we develop a fiction short story this way, and secondarily, how do we get to the plot of a short story.  The answer to the first is easy.  To turn a nonfiction short story into a fiction short story just change the circumstances, setting, and characters.  For example, if you write a nonfiction short about an aircraft trip, turn it into a space flight trip. 

The second problem of how to write a short story from a story idea.  This is also the third means of getting a short story plot idea.  This is easier than it looks.  With the idea all you need it to use the scene development outline.  If you don’t have an idea, just start with a setting and make them do something.    

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

The idea should provide you with the input and the output—everything else is gravy.  This moves us to the next method—the scene expansion method.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic