My Favorites

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 565, more on Sentence Length Q and A

27 October 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 565, more on Sentence Length 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 Escape from FreedomEscape is my 25th 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 8. 8.  Sentence length

Can you write a good sentence?  Do you understand the parts of speech?  We can get very deep into grammar here.  I’m not certain I want to.  Really, if you didn’t learn it in school—you must study this very very important area.  Building a proper sentence is the basis for all writing in any language.  How can we begin to express sentence length if the writer can’t write a proper sentence?  So, assuming you have this requisite skill, let’s talk about the length of sentences generally.

Short sentences.  The shortest sentence you can have is a noun and a verb.  Most properly, you must have a nominative noun.  An example: she ran.  Third person past tense is our most favored tense and person for novels—here is a proper short sentence.  The subject matter is correct for a short sentence.  In general, when the action is hot and fast, the writer wants short terse writing—usually meaning short terse sentences.  She ran.  He screamed.  She hit.  He punched.  When the action is fast and furious, generally, so should the writing be.  This isn’t always true.

Your pacing should be more a function of tension and release than simple sentence length to action.  In other words, pacing may mean a short terse sentence bracketed by long narrative.  On the other hand, if the pacing needs short sentences, by all means use short sentences.  If the pacing requires long sentences, use long sentences.  The question is then, what is the pacing. 

I started with action and moved to pacing.  There is an obvious difference.  Usually, action means tight pacing—but not always.  Sometimes, events, even action oriented events come with very long pacing.  An example is lovemaking.  It may have a lot of action, with plenty of passion, however, the pacing might be very long and draw out or it might be frenzied and quick.

A fight scene could have very taunt and quick pacing—a space battle might be long with very long pacing.  More down to earth, a sea battle with sailing ships might be very long and drawn out, with sequences of quick action.  The main idea is look at the pacing.  Tension and release should match with the pacing.       

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

No comments:

Post a Comment