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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 676, Foreshadowing, Style Q and A

16 February 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 676, Foreshadowing, 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, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I just started writing on my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Trainee.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is something like this: Clair (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, the screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization 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 finished editing Children of Light and Darkness and am now writing on my 27th novel, working title Claire.

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


Quick digression:  I forgot to tell you I’m writing from Paris on a very short French tour.


Foreshadowing is a technique used by every author to preplace ideas before they become necessary as a plot device or creative element in a novel.  Foreshadowing is very important as a device to, in the background, tie scenes together.  Here is an official definition for foreshadowing:


1.    be a warning or indication of (a future event

Here is another from the lessor value source:


Foreshadowing or guessing ahead is a literary device by which an author hints what is to come. It is used to avoid disappointment. It is also sometimes used to arouse the reader. A hint that is designed to mislead the audience is referred to as a red herring.    


Let’s discuss tying scenes together.  Scenes can be tied through time sequence.  I really suggest this method as the primary—in other words, sequentially.  Scenes are naturally tied through the characters and generally, the plot.  Scenes can be tied through setting.  However, scenes can also be tied together using ideas.  Ideas are more akin to theme, and there is the power of foreshadowing (and red herrings if you like). 


An author has more tools than foreshadowing to tie scenes together, but foreshadowing is perhaps much more than you are imagining.  For example, if my character needs the skill of picking locks to resolve the plot, I foreshadow this like Alan Bradley in the first Flavia de Luca novel by showing Flavia picking locks.  This can become a wonderful red herring if your character uses the skill in a climax, but it doesn’t work.  If you are thinking about this idea of foreshadowing correctly, you can see how powerful and important it is.  Every novel has some degree of foreshadowing to drive the plot, tie the scenes, and specifically to prevent deus ex machina. 


Yes, that is the power of foreshadowing and the red herring—to prevent the appearance or actuality of a deus ex machina.  A deus ex machina means a god machine.  It is when the author actually or appears to use the hand of god or an entirely new and unexpected skill to save the character.  For example, if I reach the climax of the novel and the protagonist is able to save the day through some great and new power or skill (lockpicking) that was never discussed in the novel before—that is a deus ex machina.  In the Greek plays, when a god came down from above (cranked down by the literal deus ex machina) to set everything to rights—that was truly a deus ex machina.  So what does this have to do with style?


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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