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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 674, Style in Tension and Release, Outline Scene Development, Style Q and A

14 February 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 674, Style in Tension and Release, Outline Scene Development, Style 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.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

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 editing many of my novels using comments from my primary reader.  I’m editing Children of Light and Darkness at the moment.

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 15. 15.  Style

Woah—style is huge.  I just spent more than six months defining style from almost every angle I could imagine. Here are the elements I found for an author’s style.

1.  Novel based style

a.  Writing focus
b.  Conversations
c.  Scene development
d.  Word use
e.  Foreshadowing
f.  Analogies
g.  Use of figures of speech
h.  Subthemes
I.  Character revelation
j.  Historicity
k.  Real world ties
l.  Punctuation
m.  Character interaction

2.  Scene based style

a.  Time
b.  Setting
c.  Tension and release development
e.  Theme development
f.  POV


When I write about scenes, I mean, a sequence of continuous action in a novel.  This is the smallest element of a novel. 


My method for scene development will accommodate the focus and style of any author, but it is a method.  Here is my method for scene development.

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’m writing from Paris on another short world tour.


If creative elements and tension and release are basic parts of scene development, where is the style?  Style in the creative elements and in tension and release come from how the author uses these elements and the emphasis of the elements.


For example, an author who focuses on horror novels would use horror creative elements and tension and release.  A horror creative element might be a graphic murder event to a spooky sound.  The tension and release could be related to fear or terror—torture for example.


An action oriented author might use purely action events as creative elements.  A gunshot or a racing automobile.  The tension and release would be mostly action and related to action. 


I focus my writing on historical fiction with a supernatural twist (usually myth in the modern era) and science fiction.  Most of my writing is conversationally based.  My creative elements drive conversation.  My tension and release cycles are based in conversation.  My characters are fighting or interacting through conversation.  Here is an example from my yet unpublished novel Valeska.


The woman nodded and led them to a private room with a table that could seat ten.  Rich dark oak paneled the walls.  The table was set for four. 

George seated Leila and then Heidi.  Scáth was already in her chair.  George sat across from Leila and next to Heidi.  Scáth was across from Heidi.

George picked up the wine list, “May I chose the wine?”

Heidi took it from his hands, “I’d rather select what I like.”

George reached over to get back the list, “How many bottles do you think they will let you purchase.”

Heidi scowled.

Leila didn’t say a word.  She opened her clutch and dug around for a moment, then she pulled out an ID card.  She handed it across the table to Heidi.

Heidi took the card and examined it, “I has my name on it, and says I was born on 31 October 1994.”  She grinned, “That means I am 21 years old.  The picture is wonderful--it must have come from Gorski’s.”

Leila didn’t look at them, “Scáth had the same problem.  I thought it would make things easier for you.”

Heidi asked, “Why do you have a picture from Gorski’s?”

Leila gave a sigh, “We aren’t incompetent.  We investigated you from the moment you came to our attention.”

“Do you know what kinds of wines I like?”

“Sweet white Rieslings from northern Germany.”

Heidi handed the wine list to Leila.  Leila took it, and Heidi raised her chin, “Choose a wine for me.”

Leila scanned the list, “They are mostly French—they don’t carry any German wines.”

“Pity.  Select one for me.”  Heidi smiled, “What do you like?”

“Tokaji Classic, late harvest from Hungary.  It is a desert wine.”  Leila glanced at her, “I think it will be sweet enough for you and for me.”

Heidi laughed, “That will be pleasant.  I know the wine.  Do you know what I like to eat too?”

Their waiter came to greet them, and George ordered the wine for them. 

After their waiter left, Leila took a deep breath, “Yes, we know your tastes.  That’s why I asked Scáth to order the chicken for us on the private dining menu.”   

Heidi smiled slyly, “Then this dinner is all about me and not about Mr. Mardling.”

Leila turned her face away from Heidi.  Her voice became very tense, “Yes.”

Heidi’s eyes softened, “I take it then, that for Scáth and for this organization, this dinner is all about business, but for Leila, it has other meanings.  Sweet, Leila, can you tell them to me?”

Leila didn’t face her, “I’d rather not.”

Heidi purred, “I think you are pursuing Mr. Mardling.”

Leila put up her hand, “I said, I’d rather not speak about it.”

“Mr. Mardling told me what you did and what Scáth said.  He also told me what you swore, goddess.  Did you mean it?”

Leila still kept her face averted, “I made an oath in the ancient fashion.  Because of who I am, I cannot take it back.”

Heidi continued, “So because of it, you have placed yourself in Scáth’s hands to try to make yourself more attractive to Mr. Mardling.”

Leila flashed an angry look at Heidi, but turned her face quickly away again, “Yes, yes, yes.  All of that is true.”

“Good.  I just want us to start on a platform of honesty.”

Leila turned to George.  She didn’t allow her eyes to touch Scáth or Heidi, “Mr. Mardling, this is all very embarrassing to me.  I’m sorry things have come about this way.  I was hoping they would be so different.”

Scáth snarled at her, “How could they be any different?  You usually dress like a charity-case, smell like a wet dog, and have the manners of an Essex girl.”

Leila started to say something, but stopped. 

The waiter entered with a bottle and a wine chiller.  He served the wine.  Heidi showed her new ID to the shocked waiter.  Scáth showed her ID to the doubly shocked waiter.  It still said she was somewhere around 21—Leila procured her a new one every year.  He served them all the sweet Hungarian wine.  Heidi raised her glass in a toast, “To London and new friends.  May we all achieve our goals such that we can remain friends.”

Scáth gestured to Leila.

George touched Leila’s arm.  She raised her glass and touched each of their rims.

Heidi glanced at Scáth, “You didn’t drink your wine.”

“I told you, sister.  I don’t drink or eat anything.”

“I see.”

George waved his glass, “You said that before.  Heidi eats and drinks.  What kind of being are you.”

Scáth grinned, “I can’t tell you.”

“Then how do you expect Heidi to tell you just what she is?”

Scáth continued, “I will tell Heidi if she asks.  I will not indulge your curiosity.”

George leaned back, “I can understand that.”

The waiter brought the soup—French onion.  That was followed by smoked & fresh salmon rillettes.

In this example, dinner is one of the creative elements that brings the four characters together.  The only human in the bunch is George—the rest are…well mysterious.  That’s one of the points of the novel, the revelation of just who these characters are.  Conversation is the means of revelation.  I include other creative elements in the mix, but the overall tension and release comes out of the conversation.  You can taste the repartee between the characters.  A little cattiness here and there.  A little depreciation.  A little anger and annoyance.  The conversation is like a symphony of revelation and verbal fencing.  I love this kind of writing, and I really enjoy providing it to my readers.     


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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