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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 841, The Stage of the Novel, Describing Characters and the Stage

30 July 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 841, The Stage of the Novel, Describing Characters and the Stage

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 finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is: 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 started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. 

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)


How to begin a novel.  Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea.  I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement.  Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement.  Here is an initial cut.


Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.


Let’s go back to the beginning.  I’ll use my newest novel as an example.  It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above.  Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play.  A novel is not a stage play or a screenplay, but the author should approach some aspects of the novel from this vantage point. 


In setting the stage of the novel follow my rules for writing 4a above:


4. Don't show (or tell) everything.

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


As I mentioned about places, description includes more than that which can be sensed.  Likewise, with characters, the description includes more than that which can be sensed.  Everything necessary that can be sensed should be described, but the author has many avenues to reveal those other portions of the description.


Most specifically, we are writing about names and history.  I like to include names as part of the initial description.  This is a basic physical tag that happens to be a purely mental creation.  In our human cultures, it identifies a person.  I don’t see any reason for an author not to use the name in a character description. 


An author may also include character history in a description as well.  I prefer to use conversation to reveal character history, but there is nothing wrong with throwing out a few historical references.  For example, if I write:


George spoke with an Oxford accent.


I just told you something about George.  What’s the problem with continuing the thought:


George spoke with an Oxford accent which immediately identified his place of undergraduate studies.


This is an example of using senses to turn to a historical part of the character’s description.  On the other hand, you might also write:


George spoke with an affected Oxford accent—the closest he had ever come to Oxford itself was passing through its train station.


Again, this gives an impression within the description that is a bit more than the senses can detect.  There is no problem with this kind of description.  What you need to be careful of are descriptions that tell—when I write “tell,” I mean they provide information that should not be known and cannot be known through normal conversation or the senses.  For example, don’t write:


George was a likable person.


You might put it in another character’s conversation:


Jake smiled, “George is a likeable person.”


You might give us a hint:


George’s lips turned up in a very likable expression.


Notice, the last is an impression borne of the gesture (expression) and the senses.  The author has just made a small conclusion to enhance the description.  There is more.                


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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