12 October 2012, Development - Ideas to Theme to Plots
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.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
Make your idea and theme list and keep it up. Every time you get an new idea, add it to the list. This will keep your brain and ideas primed. Now, all you have to do is select one of the themes/ideas from the list. I state themes/ideas because you might have an idea for a plot or story that requires the theme to be focused--that's okay, although the theme is the most important point in developing a novel, it doesn't have to be concrete. In fact, most themes are not as concrete as you might imagine. They must be explainable, and I contend, you need to be able to write it out, but themes, by their nature, are slightly amorphous. For example, the simplest expression of the theme of Aksinya is one of redemption. A more descriptive explanation of the theme is: the redemption of Aksinya from a demon and sorcery. That is a very focused theme.
Perhaps the first step then is to take the idea and turn it into a theme--or to take your theme and turn it into an idea. If you note, the expanded theme for Aksinya stated above already includes the protagonist and the antagonist. Theme, more than anything must begin to point to the major characters in your novel.
The theme for Centurion is: the reason the Centurion Abenadar would state "Surely this was the (a) son of God." This is the full theme of the novel, and I've gone in great detail to show how I arrived at this theme. I'll continue on ideas to themes then themes to plots tomorrow.
My Notes: once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, stabilize your theme, and focus your characters. More tomorrow.
I'll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.
The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: Please elaborate on scene, theme, plot, character development in a new novel creation....ie, the framework, the development, order if operation, the level of detail, guidelines, rule of thumb, tricks, traps and techniques.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor, http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.