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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 555, real Classics Words Employed Q and A

17 October 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 555, real Classics Words Employed 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'm on my first editing run-through of 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 - how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.

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 7. 7.  Words employed

I thought of some new works to add to the list—look at the end.

To increase your vocabulary, you need to read the “classics.”  I’ve never done this before.  I’m going to give you a list of 100 books that I consider “classics.”  I’ll also give a little info about the novels.  Obviously the list isn’t from best to worst or from worst to best—it is just random.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen – Victorian and not the best example of a modern novel.
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien – Tolkien is a great story teller, but not the best novelist.
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte -- Victorian
4 Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury – Best modern novel in English
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible – Most important book to understand Western culture.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte – Victorian
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 We The Living – Ayn Rand  
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens – Victorian, but more modern than others in the period.

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott – Beginning of the US Victorian
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Dune – Frank Herbert
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – better to see as plays
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 The Cadwal Chronicles – Jack Vance
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Green Pearl Novels – Jack Vance
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchel
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy – I’m not so sure this is a great novel in English
25 Starship Troopers – Robert Heinlein
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck – In Dubious Battle may be better
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy – Not so sure about this one, but it’s worth a read
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen  - Victorian
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
37 The Tale of Genji -
Murasaki Shikibu – the first novel ever written
38 The House of Seven Gables -
Nathaniel Hawthorne
39 The Scarlet Letter -
Nathaniel Hawthorne
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 Dracula – Bram Stoker – First Gothic horror novel
43 Til We All Have Faces – C.S. Lewis – two for one—you get Cupid and Psyche at the same time
44 Le Morte D'Arthur - Thomas Malory – chief basis for Arthurian Legend and chivalry
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott – perhaps the most important historical novel about England
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand

51 What Katy Did - Sarah Chauncey Woolsey under her pen name Susan Coolidge
52 A Little Princess -
Frances Hodgson Burnett
53 The Secret Garden -
Frances Hodgson Burnett
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
56 Kim - Rudyard Kipling
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 Beowulf - Unknown
60 The Odyssey - Homer

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins – first detective story in English
64 The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett – first noir detective novel
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Robinson Caruso – Daniel Defoe – First novel in English
69 The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes
73 Heidi – Johanna Spyri
74 Hans Brinker - Mary Mapes Dodge
75 Ulysses - James Joyce – really not worth the read and not really a classic, but you might as well know what a bad novel is.
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 The Big Sky Country – Arlo Guthrie
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 The Black Arrow - Robert Louis Stevenson
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
83 The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
84 The Miser – George Elliot
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemmingway
87 Tarzan – Edger Rice Burroughs
88 The Death of Socrates - Plato
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 I, Robot - Isaac Asimov

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 Huckleberry Fin – Mark Twain
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift
96 Matilda – Roald Dahl
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

101 The Once and Future King – T.H. White

102 The Deerslayer – James Fenimore Cooper

103 The Black Book of Communism – Various

104 Ben Hur – Lew Wallace

105 The Robe – Lloyd C. Douglas

106 The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

107 The Histories – Herodotus

108 Lives – Plutarch

109 The Call of the Wild – Jack London

110 Stand on Zanzibar – John Brunner


111 The Shockwave Rider – John Brunner – prediction of the computer virus and inspiration for it


What makes a classic and what isn’t a classic?  Why care?  When we examine these books, we find three very important characteristics.  The first is longevity.  For whatever reason, skill, importance, theme, plot, reflection of humanity or the human condition—I also add the most important—entertainment.  Works have longevity because they are entertaining.  If they were not entertaining, they’d be as unknown as all the other authors and works in antiquity.  No one would read them.  The first point is entertainment.  For word choice, entertainment is critical—or perhaps the other way around, for entertainment word choice is critical.  Note that many of the works on the list are foreign.  The English reader needs to read another language or must read a translation.  In this case, for word choice, the translator is important, but the works other entertainment features transcend that of the languages.  Of course, you can get an inferior translation. 

The second characteristic is the importance of the work in human culture.  For example, the Bible (all of it, by the way) is entertaining, but as a historical work and a reference work, it is the most important in Western civilization and because of its importance in Western civ, it becomes critically important to anyone working with Western technology, interests, arts, writing, etc.--basically, everything.  Literally, a person who doesn’t understand or hasn’t read the Bible is absolutely ignorant of Western arts and letters.  The same goes for Greek myth, but I didn’t add that to the list because there is no specific source for Greek myths in Western literature.

The third characteristic that makes a classic is the humanity of the work.  This is similar to the entertainment value and the importance.  The question is: how well did the author capture a time or their time in human history?  Or perhaps, how well did an author capture the future of human thought.  This is the case for John Brunner.  The Shockwave Rider was the origin of an entire idea in computer science (the computer virus).  It is an underground classic that everyone should know. 

So back to words employed—from classics, the writer can get a sense of the proper words to employ because he gains an extended vocabulary based on works that have longevity (entertainment), importance, and humanity.  There is more.       

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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