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.
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 on to 2. 2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
An author develops a character first and then reveals the character through the plot. Plot revelation is what it is all about. We do not reveal characters by telling. First develop, then reveal.
Appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, and actions are means of character revelation. I really like this list--let's look at each piece.
All of the list above provides ids and tags the author can use in the novel especially during conversation to keep the characters straight. Let's put it this way. Have you ever read a book were you couldn't tell who was talking or you lost track of the characters? I've read many badly written novels and scenes with just that problem. It is a common issue for sloppy and inexperienced writers. The cause is poor id of tag of the characters. The most common example is when a writer brings a character back into a new scene especially when that character has not been present in the novel for a while or if they are taken out of their original place of introduction. To be most specific, when a character is reintroduced, a name is never sufficient. When a character is introduced, a name is never sufficient.
So, I properly introduced Bob with 300words in an early scene. He is, for example, the brother of the protagonist, Jane. I introduced him at his house. Now, I bring Bob back in a scene. If I were to simply bring him into the conversation with Bob said, the reader would likely react with--who the heck is Bob. The writer knows all about his own characters, but this is all revelation to the reader. The use of a simple tag or, in this case, an id--Bob, Jane's brother. If Bob had a mustache or a tag gesture, that would help too. If the author adds in the place or a reference to the original introduction in the novel, that can help too. For example, Bob, Jane's brother, twirled his mustache, "Good morning."
At the extreme, a shortened description might be appropriate. The overall point for the author is this--don't assume your readers remember your characters and a name is never enough. Tag gestures and ids (means of identification) in conversation and the narrative are ways the author can differentiate and communicate the character to his readers. And never forget, the novel is a revelation of the characters.
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