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.
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 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer. Lilly is my 24th novel.
I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel.
1. Scene input (easy)
2. Scene output (a little harder)
3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
6. Release (climax of creative elements)
I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:
1. History extrapolation
2. Technological extrapolation
3. Intellectual extrapolation
Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect). Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.
One of my blog readers posed these questions. I'll use the next few weeks to answer them.
1. Conflict/tension between characters
2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
3. Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
4. Evolving vs static character
5. Language and style
6. Verbal, gesture, action
7. Words employed
8. Sentence length
10. Type of grammar
12. Field of reference or allusion
14. Mannerism suggest by speech
16. Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter's style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov's includes 'apparent' inconclusiveness).
Moving back to 1. 1. Conflict/tension between characters
To be entertaining every scene of a novel must include tension and release. In addition, the overall novel must include tension to the climax with an overall release. This tension is normally in scenes between characters, protagonist and protagonist's helper, and those major characters and the antagonist or secondary characters. The main point is that the tension in most scenes and in the overall novel is between characters. This tension can be called conflict, but it is every degree of conflict. That is, the conflict can be from an unspoken seething to an outright war. This is an important characteristic of tension.
Tension is conflict, but the conflict is scene and climax driven. A quick aside, this is a potential key difference between a novel and a biography. In a biography, the wise author uses tension in every scene to develop entertainment. In a novel, the author must use tension in every scene to develop entertainment. As I mentioned, this tension is generally from conflict between characters.
Let's discuss tension (conflict) in a scene. I am using the example of my latest novel. At first, Mrs. Lyons and Essie are in direct conflict. Essie is captive and wants to escape. Mrs. Lyons uses her cane and force of will to prevent Essie from escaping. This is real conflict. When Mrs. Lyons gets Essie to calm down, the conflict becomes much less direct. Essie wants to eat only meat and protein, Mrs. Lyons doesn't want Essie to lick her butter off her bread. Essie won't look at anyone or anything--directly. Do you see the subtle conflict? This is tension in a scene.
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