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Friday, September 11, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 519, Fashion Details Character Complexity Q and A

11 September 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 519, Fashion Details Character Complexity Q and A

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  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 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 ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action.  I've started writing Shape.

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. 

Scene development:
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
9.  Complexity
10.  Type of grammar
11.  Diction
12.  Field of reference or allusion
13.  Tone
14.  Mannerism suggest by speech
15.  Style
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 3. 3.  Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme

I'll repeat:

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   

Third, I know what they look like and who they are.   What do your characters look like?  I gave an example yesterday of a minor secondary character.  I used over 100 words to describe this character.  Follow Arlo Guthrie's advice and use at least 300 words to describe major characters (places and things) and 100 words for minor characters (places and things). 

How are they dressed?  This is not a movie, a play, or a graphic novel where you must always dress your characters the same so your audience can identify them.  In a novel, like real life, the clothing makes the person.  What is your character wearing?  Here is an example from my soon to be published novel, Sister of Light.  This novel is included in The Ancient Light trilogy:

They were dressed in their best—Paul in his light blue cavalry lieutenant’s dress uniform.  He wore a thigh length coat with a tall stiff collar.  The riding pants were loose and wide at the thighs, and a wide, dark blue stripe ran down the sides.  Paul’s mirror-polished boots reached almost to his knees.  A broad belt was clasped at the center with two large silver rounds, and Paul’s cavalry sword hung from it on a leather strap.  Paul’s many combat decorations, anchored by the coveted Légion d'honneur covered the left breast of his jacket.  Lieutenant’s epaulets rested on the shoulders, and a silver officer’s band circled the end of the sleeves.  His cap, now in Marcel’s hand, was light grey with a top red stripe and a thin polished black leather bill.  
            Leora provided a striking vision in pale-blue silk.  She wore a dress Paul had bought for her the day before.  Although the gown came from a rack on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, it flowed over her body as though its designer had only her in mind.  The modestly slit hemline floated on air; it just kissed the top of her petite, high-heeled Arnoult slippers.  A thin silken cord encircled her neck and allowed the teasing neckline to accentuate her gentle bosom.  To complete the ensemble, she grasped a small gold colored clutch with three-quarter length gloves that matched the azure of her dress. 

I describe what my characters are wearing, and this is the usual detail I use.  My characters wear different clothing every day--this doesn't mean I describe their clothing changes every day, but when it supports the character revelation, plot, and/or theme I do.  The point is this: your readers need to visualize your characters at least as well as you do.  The revelation of a character requires this and showing gives this to your readers.  Notice the narrative showing that tells you a lot about the characters, their finances, and the rush they took to furnish clothing for Leora.  Even without a description of the "characters" you know a lot about the characters.  You know a person by their clothing.  Sorry, whether you like it or not, that is a pretense of human society.

Describe the character's external attributes.  Describe their clothing.  Next, give us another view...   

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, tension, release, creative, idea, logic 

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