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.
What kinds of gestures shall we use:
1. To identify a character?
2. To identify an idea?
3. Is there more?
Then, if gestures are an intrinsic part of a culture, ideas can't be properly communicated without the appropriate gestures. I think for fiction this is absolutely true. It isn't enough to write or understand a language to write the language, what is necessary is to fully understand the culture. Fully understand can have different meanings, but simple familiarity may or may not be enough. On the other hand, depending on the novel, general understanding may be enough. For example, a novel in English that takes place in Japan or China. A tourist's understanding of the times and culture might be enough to convey the point--especially if none of the major characters are uniquely Japanese or Chinese. On the other hand, I've written just such a novel and spent hours and hours in study of parts of the culture to convey it. I did convey a degree of ancient Japanese and Chinese culture, so any scholar has the known information available--the rest is interpolation from the modern culture.
I hope you a getting my point. To write about a culture, the author needs an intimate understanding of the gestures of that culture (the details of that culture's approach to interpersonal relationships). The first culture of note is the culture the author is writing about or the language the writer is writing in. If other cultures come into play, the author must understand them at the appropriate level to convey them. For an ancient culture, since they are only known from historical documents (primary and secondary should be the author's choice), the author then must interpolate from similar cultures or from historical information. To a degree, writing about an ancient culture allows the author to design the gestures for the culture--this means the author must fully understand his own culture and determine ideas about the ancient culture within the context of general and societal understanding.
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