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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 718, Scene Based Style, more Tension and Release Development, Style Q and A

29 March 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 718, Scene Based Style, more Tension and Release 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, 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 Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is something like this: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous 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 on the tarmac at home.


Scene based style is moving down into the weeds of the novel.  So far, I’ve looked at the higher level style of the novel itself.  Now let’s look at the elements of style in the writing itself.


I want to give you a simple example of style and tension and release in a scene.  Here is the scene:


The morning came a little early for Shiggy.  Angel and Ashly both were in her room when the alarm went off.  When Shiggy came out of her water closet, Sorcha stood at the top of the stairs.  She wore a pair of loose pants and a baggy shirt.  Shiggy’s mouth fell open.  
Tension building—different clothing than before.>
“Close your mouth, Shiggy.  You’ve proven you know how to dress and accommodate yourself as a lady—at least most of the time.  Today we will relax a little and get to some new work.”  
The tension is the new work.>
“New work, ma’am?”

“Put on a pair of pants and a sweat shirt you will find in your wardrobe.  I’ve placed a few there.  You are to match the clothing.  I’m looking for slightly sultry and relaxed appearance—think Flashdance.”  
Flashdance is a cultural reference.  The tension building and the creative element is Sorcha’s ideas (a little out of place) and Shiggy’s lack of understanding.  The tension is specifically that Shiggy doesn’t understand sultry or sexy. >
“Flashdance, ma’am?”

Sorcha rolled her eyes, “I take it you aren’t familiar with dressing down for effect.”

“No, ma’am.”

“I am surprised you survived in any kind of womanly existence prior to our meeting.  Listen closely.  I don’t care if you wear underclothing or not.  A little freedom can be very sultry and sexy.  You have the small…um…upper body, the minimal chest to make it work very well.”  
The tension development is the sarcasm as well as the implied insult.>
“Without underclothing?  I don’t think I’ve ever dressed without underclothing in my life.”  
This is a creative element and tension development.>
“Really, Shiggy, you amaze me sometimes.  Today, don’t wear anything underneath.  In the future, you might choose a very sexy pair of panties, like a thong or Brazilian thigh-highs.  Boyshorts are a real turn on too.  I put some of both in your underclothing.   You can go without at the moment.”  
You can see the tension development continuing.>
“Who am I supposed to turn on?”

“No one at the moment, but in the future, we shall see.”  
The tension development is in Shiggy’s lack of comfort with the circumstances.>
“Yes, ma’am.”

Sorcha started to turn.  She turned back, “Don’t forget your weapons or your makeup and hair.  You are supposed to be sultry not unappealing or unarmed.”

Shiggy put out her hands, “How can I get to my pistol with pants on?”  
She was wearing a mini before.>
Sorcha laughed, “Well, you could always take them off, but I have provided you a belt holster.  Take your steel pistol and wear it at the back of your waist.  Don’t wear heels.  Day slippers are sufficient for now.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Sorcha climbed down the stairs.  Shiggy dressed as she was instructed and came down to the kitchen.  She wore a loose pair of sweat pants that said pink in them.  Her top was a loose and slightly intentionally ragged shirt with a similar label.  The pants seemed oddly formfitting at just the right places.  The shirt fell off one side of Shiggy’s shoulder.  She couldn’t get both sides to stay up at the same time.  Sorcha sat at the table at her laptop.  She didn’t glance at Shiggy, “Drop your shorts and raise your shirt.”

Shiggy colored, but she did as instructed.   
Tension development—Shiggy’s discomfort.>
Sorcha stood and came over to her.  She looked her up and down, “You have quite a bruise on your thigh there.”

“My lady bits are still recovering too.  I’d like you to know.  Riding on the gear of a helicopter at speed with a mini is not comfortable at all.” 

Sorcha glared at her.

Shiggy lowered her eyes, “Ma’am.”  
The creative element is that Shiggy must address Sorcha as ma’am.>
Sorcha came around behind her and adjusted Shiggy’s holster and the weapons belt.  She tapped Shiggy on her bottom, “Pull them up and put your shirt down.”

Shiggy complied, “I can’t keep both shoulders covered.” 

Sorcha came back to the table, “You aren’t supposed to dear.  That’s part of sultry.”

“It might get a bit cold that way.”

“That’s the price one has to pay for sexy.  Today, during your office work you may sit in any way you wish.  The point is too look sexy without showing off anything—that is at the moment.”

Shiggy didn’t feel comfortable about that at all, but she did feel very comfortable in the clothing.

If you examine the writing above.  This is a relatively simple scene about clothing and its wear.  I marked the creative elements in this scene for you.  The point is that I could have written this very simply.  Something like: Sorcha instructed Shiggy to wear more relaxing clothing than usual.  She had to wear a belted holster instead of a thigh holster. 


I’m simplifying, but the point is that with conversation and showing.  I can build a very entertaining scene with creative elements all over the place.  I hope you can see the tongue-in-cheek humor in it.  This is my style.  I take very simple incidents and make them entertaining.  I find this entertaining.  This is a quality of style and the type of writing that I like to read and write. 


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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