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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 692, Real World Ties, Style Q and A

3 March 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 692, Real World Ties, 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 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: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, the screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.  

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th 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)

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:  Back in the USA for the holidays.


The ties of a novel into the real world are a matter of style.  Like historicity, I wish this weren’t so.  Look, you can have a novel that is like science fiction that is with completely made up places and times.  Or you can write a novel completely tied into the world. 


Let’s look at a modern novel—those are the easiest.  To tie a modern novel into the real world, the place the character lives, works, and/or goes to school should be real.  I wrote two novels using different colleges I attended as the background.  My novel Khione: Enchantment and the Fox is placed at Boston University one of my graduate schools.  My novel Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer is set at my undergraduate school, Pacific Lutheran University.  For both novels, I needed a university.  Each of my colleges fit the bill.  I used my knowledge of the campus as well as newer photos to set the stage of the novels. 


For the character’s living accommodations, I used my knowledge plus a little obscuration and googlemaps to put them where I wanted them.  When my characters went out to eat, I used real restaurants and described real menus.  They ate and drank what the restaurants offered and what I knew people in the area liked.  They visited real places in the areas of the schools.  When they visited the parents of the protagonist, they went to a real neighborhood.  Again, in Seattle (north of Pacific Lutheran University which is in South Tacoma and Spanaway) and in Boston (Boston University), the characters went to real places with real descriptions and the real events in those areas.


Places tie a novel into reality, but so does time.  I know most people don’t care if the day in a novel is Friday the 13th or Wednesday the 13th, if the moon is full, or Christmas is on a Sunday or a Monday.  I care.  In every novel, if the day of the week is set, it is the actual day for that year.  I like to look at the actual weather and the events of the day.  This is setting the novel into reality.  Perhaps your readers won’t care, but with the internet and the resources available to the writer, this isn’t that difficult.  It is a question of style because some writers are lazy.  Hey, you can have a great novel even if the reality of a place is completely screwed up, but the people from that place won’t be fooled.


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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