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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 352, Another Rule Conversation

28 March 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 352, Another Rule Conversation

Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore.  Information can be found at  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

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 and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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

The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene.  I'm writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, "Escape."  Escape is the working title.  I'll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel.  I'm at the seventeenth chapter right now.  That means I've written about 340 pages.

A huge problem for many inexperienced writers is conversation.  They believe their writing of conversation sounds trite and forced.  They want to know the tricks to writing good conversation.  This is a great aspiration and an important skill.  My novels are about 90% conversation.  I love to write conversation, and I see it as the major tool of the novelist.  I'll spend some time defining what makes good written conversation in a novel, and how to write it.

Let's review my guidelines for conversation.

1.  Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2.  Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3.  ID the speaker
4.  Show us the picture of the conversation
5.  Use contractions (most of the time)
6.  What are you trying to say?
7.  What is unsaid in the conversation?
8.  Build the tone of the conversation.
9.  Show don't tell.
10.  Keep proper names to a minimum.

10.  Keep proper names to a minimum.  Here is anew rule I just remembered.  Hard to put together all the rules (guidelines) you've learned through the years.  When you use a proper name in conversation, you should only use it when necessary to emphasize a point or when you are making a direct address (calling out to a person).

I don't have an example from my writing because that would be a bad example, so I'll make up some.
Bob called out, "Hi Jack."
[Reasonable use here because Bob is making a direct address to Jack and gaining his attention.]
"Morning, Bob," Jack shook his hand.
[Okay use here and necessary as a direct address and an introduction (greeting).  From this point on, we don't use a proper name in the conversation unless we bring in another person, or we need a direct address for emphasis.]
Bob glanced at his feet, "Sorry you lost your job..."
Jack grimaced, "Thanks."
"Well it was a bad time for the bottom to fall out of the market."
"You're telling me."
"Hey, why don't you try old Havershall's.  I heard he needs buggy whip makers."
Jack tucked his hands in his pockets, "What I really need, Bob, is for people to stop buying motor cars."
Bob glanced back at his shiny new model A.  He whistled, "Yeah, I guess."  
Quick conversation example that follows the rules (guidelines).  See, there is the use of proper names in the introductions.  There is the use of a proper name as a point of emphasis.  Otherwise, there is no need to include a proper name.  Here is a negative example.
Bob called out, "Hi Jack."
"Morning, Bob," Jack shook his hand.
Bob glanced at his feet, "Sorry you lost your job, Jack."
Jack grimaced, "Thanks, Bob."
"Well, Jack, it was a bad time for the bottom to fall out of the market."
"You're telling me, Bob."
"Hey, Jack, why don't you try old Havershall's.  I heard he needs buggy whip makers."
Jack tucked his hands in his pockets, "What I really need, Bob, is for people to stop buying motor cars."
Bob glanced back at his shiny new model A.  He whistled, "Yeah, Jack I guess."  
Notice how choppy and contrived the second example is.  The first flows naturally--the second just doesn't sound right.  There is nothing wrong with it, but people don't converse that way at all.  In fact, except for introductions, and sometimes introductions too, people in real life frequently never use a proper name during any conversation.  The use of proper names is an odd occurrence in any conversation in real life--therefore, the use of proper names in conversation feels out of place in a novel.  However, it is not unusual to see conversations like example two in new writer's novels and short stories. 

Plus, I want you to note something else.  Reread the first and second example and notice the second has lost all its rhythm.  The feel of the first is good, it's almost like a punch line.  The second just peters off like a good joke told poorly.  The proper name use throw off the tone of the conversation.  

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, and my individual novel websites:

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing,

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