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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 590, Types of Grammar Q and A

21 November 2015, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 590, Types of Grammar 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.  Historical 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 suggested 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 10. 10.  Type of grammar

Short digression:  I’m back in Paris on a short world tour.

Use standard English. Do not use colloquialisms or jargon in your writing.  My favorite example of a work that uses colloquialisms from the time is The Little Witch.  If you haven’t, read this book—it’s short and sweet and a great story that is ruined by colloquialisms.  The author was trying to express the differences between young and old and hip and not so hip—the novel is great, the language hurts it. 

Now, what about standard English grammar.  This is an interesting issue.  If standard English provides the words, what provides the grammar for standard English.  This is a little bit of a problem.  To determine proper grammar, you require a style guide.  The most famous English style guides are the Chicago Style Guide and the New York Style Guide.  I suspect there is also a London style guide.  I’ve seen the Chicago style guide and this is the one most commonly used. 

Each style guide will direct you to a slightly different grammar.  For example, although most writers ignore this, it has become proper to write lists like this: shoots, nuts and leaves.  This is highly grammatically incorrect in that it should be written: shoots, nuts, and leaves.  I’m not certain if this comes from the Chicago style manual, but if it does, you should ignore this bit of Chicago style manual standard Grammar.

Now, you should note that grammar includes all the rules of verb tense, changes to verb, changes to nouns, adverbs, pronouns, adjectives, punctuation, capitalization, using numbers, titles, address, and more.  These are all the small but critical items the author must contend with in grammar.  In general, what your teachers taught you in grade school and up, was mainly right, but unattributed bunk.  Obviously, you need an attributable source.  Luckily, if you remember your school lessons in grammar and have a style guide such as Stunk and White, your editor can help you get most of the rest correct. 

I will warn you, you can’t make many (most) purists happy.  When my first novel came out, a good friend who was an English teacher read it.  She liked the novel, but was astonished my editor let it be published with the numbers written the way they were.  I followed the Chicago manual of style—I’m not sure what manual she subscribed to—if she simply was used to another older style of English grammar as it relates to numbers.         

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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