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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Writing - part x263, Novel Form, Internal Tension


26 September 2017, Writing - part x263, Novel Form, Internal Tension

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 www.ancientlight.com.  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 http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.

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 http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:

 

1.      Design the initial scene

2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)

a.       Research as required

b.      Develop the initial setting

c.       Develop the characters

d.      Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)

3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)

5.      Write the climax scene

6.      Write the falling action scene(s)

7.      Write the dénouement scene

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.  The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.  

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records. 

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.

 

For novel 29:  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.

 

This is the classical form for writing a successful novel:

 

1.      Design the initial scene

2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)

a.       Research as required

b.      Develop the initial setting

c.       Develop the characters (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)

d.      Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (internal and external)

3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)

5.      Write the climax scene

6.      Write the falling action scene(s)

7.      Write the dénouement scene

              

The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together.  The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw.  They are inseparable.  This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel. 

 

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

 

1.      The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

2.      The Rising action scenes

3.      The Climax scene

4.      The Falling action scene(s)

5.      The Dénouement scene

             

So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene?  Let’s start from a theme statement.  Here is an example from my latest novel:

 

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

 

Here is the scene development outline:

 

1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)

2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)

3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.

4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.

5. Write the release

6. Write the kicker

          

If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

 

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene.  This example is from Shadow of Darkness an Ancient Light novel.  If you remember, I’ve written about internal and external telic flaws.  The external telic flaw is the obvious external situation that the protagonist must reconcile in the climax of the novel.  The external telic flaw in this novel is the rescue of Sveta and the return to who she really is.  The internal telic flaw is basically about who Sveta really is.  In the novel, both must be reconciled.

 

This scene illustrates the conflict inside of Sveta.  In a poorly written novel, all this would be written in the minds of the characters.  This is a means of revealing the mind of a character by showing.  Remember show don’t tell.  In this scene, Sveta reveals why she won’t accept Aleksandr’s romantic love.          

 

Here is the scene:        

 

        Marya said nothing to Sveta.  In the morning, she found that Mother Anna, Mother Marya, and Father Nikolay waited for her in Mother Anna’s office.  When she walked in Mother Anna stated, “Svetlana, sit down.  We need to talk.”

        “Mother Abbess, I don’t wish to speak about it.”

        “This is very important to all of us.”

        “It is time for me to dress, and if Father Nikolay stays here, he may be embarrassed.”

        Mother Anna caught Sveta’s hands, “Svetlana, listen to me.  We don’t oppose the attentions of this young man.”

        “But I do.  I have not encouraged them.”

        “But he is persistent.”

        “Yes, he is very persistent, and he says, he loves me.” 

        Mother Anna led Sveta to the chair beside her desk, “He says he loves you?”

        Sveta gave a half laugh, half sob, “As though anyone could love me.”

        “Why not Svetlana?”

        She wiped her eyes vigorously, “No one can love me.”

        “We all love you, Svetlana.”

        “That is different.  This is something deep in my heart and soul.  It is a taint that nothing can remove.”  She gazed around at them, “It doesn’t touch my love of God.  It affects the way others should see me.”

        “But we love you, Svetlana.”

        “Because you don’t know me.  There are secrets, horrible secrets locked in my heart that God would not want me to reveal to anyone.”

        “God will forgive your every sin.”

        “My secrets are not sins—they are power.”

        Father Nikolay put his hands on her shoulders, “Svetlana, you don’t need to say anything else.”  He crouched at her side, “This young man is Orthodox.  He goes to my church every Sunday.  You may not love him, but you might find he is a friend.  You can trust him.  You might find some protection in knowing him.  The MVD is a dangerous place, and he is well versed in the university and the Gulag.  Yes, I know all about his parents.  You might check out his dossier.  If I were your father, I would tell you to continue as friends and use him as cover.  You can communicate with me through him, and listen to me carefully…I will say it again, you can use him as cover.”

        “I think I understand.”

        “Good.”

        Mother Marya stood, “It is time to get ready for our day at the MVD.”

        Father Nikolay stood, “I’m off to my church before my MVD deacon locks me out.”

 

To a degree, Sveta doesn’t want to acknowledge who she is.  She doesn’t believe others can love her because she doesn’t love herself. This will come out more directly in the future.  This is a foreshadowing of that specific event and revelation.  Many readers who are astute about people and personalities will get this already.

 

There are a few jokes in this scene.  Many of them are simply the tension and release of the scene.  This is about Sveta’s supposed interrogation about Aleksandr—that’s what she thinks.  In reality, her friends are giving her latitude to love Aleksandr if she wishes.

 

This is part of the heartache of this novel.  Aleksandr loves Sveta.  Sveta would like to love Aleksandr.  She doesn’t believe she is allowed to—that is in the scheme of life.   

   

I’ll give you more examples.

 

More tomorrow.


For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, 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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Writing - part x262, Novel Form, Problems and Tension


25 September 2017, Writing - part x262, Novel Form, Problems and Tension

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 www.ancientlight.com.  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 http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.

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 http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:

 

1.      Design the initial scene

2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)

a.       Research as required

b.      Develop the initial setting

c.       Develop the characters

d.      Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)

3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)

5.      Write the climax scene

6.      Write the falling action scene(s)

7.      Write the dénouement scene

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.  The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.  

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records. 

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.

 

For novel 29:  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.

 

This is the classical form for writing a successful novel:

 

1.      Design the initial scene

2.      Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)

a.       Research as required

b.      Develop the initial setting

c.       Develop the characters (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)

d.      Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (internal and external)

3.      Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

4.      Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)

5.      Write the climax scene

6.      Write the falling action scene(s)

7.      Write the dénouement scene

              

The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together.  The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw.  They are inseparable.  This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel. 

 

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

 

1.      The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

2.      The Rising action scenes

3.      The Climax scene

4.      The Falling action scene(s)

5.      The Dénouement scene

             

So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene?  Let’s start from a theme statement.  Here is an example from my latest novel:

 

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

 

Here is the scene development outline:

 

1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)

2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)

3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.

4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.

5. Write the release

6. Write the kicker

          

If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

 

Here is an example of developing or building tension and release in a scene.  This example is from Shadow of Darkness an Ancient Light novel.  Sveta is slowly discovering who she was and is.  She seems to be a person of strong control and growing into one of great power.  She has her own problems like anyone else.  The problem with problems in people with great responsibilities is that they can blow out of control in proportion to the importance of an event.

 

Here we have the typical problem for translators.  When a term or a euphemism isn’t fully understood and the response or translation is incorrect.  I’ve used this before, but usually Sveta is the one correcting.  Here we see a difference and a different side of Sveta.          

 

Here is the scene:        

 

        Pleasantly, Andrei Zhdanov drank himself to death in August, and the still warm days of September 1948 allowed easy access and travel for their Chinese visitors.  As a result of Zhdanov’s death, some pressure came off the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, but Sveta knew it was only a short reprieve.  Now Beria was under pressure from Stalin concerning the issue and had taken over where Zhdanov began.  Beria intended to reinvigorate the charges against the Jewish Committee Members under false allegations of Zionism and Cosmopolitanism.  Beria already consolidated power and planned to remove any obstacle Zhdanov’s associates and interference might have provided.  Due to changes in the inner Party structure, Nikita Khrushchev was also supposed to attend this party.  Nikita Khrushchev was the communist head of the Ukraine.  He was thought to be increasing in influence.

        Sveta took Marya with her.  After they arrived, she sent her motorcar back for Aleksandr at the university.  When Stalin made his appearance, Sveta came immediately to his side.  He smiled at her, “Good evening, Little Ptitsa.  We have Chinese guests tonight.  I’m not sure you will be able to help us.”

        “Don’t worry Comrade Stalin, I have made arrangements.”

        “Very good.  Now my Little Ptitsa, I want you to meet Comrade Khrushchev.  Comrade, this is Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova.  She is my Little Ptitsa—perhaps the best translator and representative we have.”  Stalin looked meaningfully at Khrushchev.

        Nikita Khrushchev seemed indifferent.  He was an ugly man with large features and a bald head.  His very appearance gave the impression of brashness and stubbornness.   He stepped up to Sveta, “Very nice to meet you Comrade Kopylova.”

        Sveta smiled.  Nothing seemed to make an impression on the man.  Out of the corner of her eye, Sveta saw Marya direct Aleksandr toward her.  When Aleksandr stepped up beside her, Sveta turned back to Stalin and Khrushchev, “Comrades, this is Associate Professor Aleksandr Nikolayevich Diakonov from the University of Moscow.  He will help us with our Chinese friends.”

        Stalin smiled at the professor.  Khrushchev only scowled.

        When the leaders turned away, in Chinese, Aleksandr whispered to her, “I made a good impression?”

        Sveta returned in the same language, “A smile from Stalin is as good as life.  About Khrushchev, I don’t know.”

        They did not have long to speak, the Chinese delegation moved toward their position.  Liu Shaoqi was long-faced with a large nose.  His hair was swept back from his forehead.   Stalin and Liu Shaoqi shared pleasantries, and Sveta translated for them.  When Sveta began to speak, Liu Shaoqi stared in surprise.  Stalin also raised his brow.  After a few moments, Liu Shaoqi pointed at Sveta, “Who is this?”

        Stalin smiled, “My Little Ptitsa, Svetlana Evgenyevna Kopylova.”

        “She speaks Chinese with great skill.  Was she born in China?”

        Stalin laughed, “Our language education, which Svetlana Evgenyevna directs, is the reason for her skill.”

        Liu’s brow raised, “Surely, a very well developed program.”

        The conversation continued without anymore references to Sveta, and the party moved to dinner.  At dinner, Sveta sat across from the Soviet leaders and the Chinese delegation.  Aleksandr sat next to her.  His gaze assured Sveta of her careful mastery of the language.  The Chinese contingent seemed equally pleased.

        Everything went well until near the end.  Stalin had made a comment about the American actions in regard to the Nationalist Chinese.  The statement was potentially inflammatory on many levels.  Liu replied with a complex sequence of words Sveta had not heard before.  Sveta knew the words, but she didn’t understand their context or their full meaning.  She didn’t speak for so long, Stalin was about to say something.

        Aleksandr quickly responded for her.  Sveta flushed and hid her mouth with her napkin.  Nothing like this had ever happened to her.  She had never been confused by a clear statement in any language.  She knew Liu’s statement had been a complex modified metaphor, but she should have been able to decipher it.  She almost missed the Soviet leader’s response.  She replied too quickly before she could reflect on the statement appropriately.  Liu and the Chinese party stiffened.  Aleksandr immediately replied to them with the correct words, and the Chinese immediately relaxed.  At the end of the state dinner as the guests were leaving, Sveta apologized to the Chinese party, “I am sorry Comrade Liu, my grasp of your language still requires the help of my teacher, Professor Diakonov.”  She bowed.

        Liu stared at Sveta, then at Aleksandr, “If you are the pupil and this the teacher, then he is surely a very fine teacher indeed.  Good evening to you Little Ptitsa.”

        The moment, the Soviet leaders left, Sveta ran out of the Kremlin onto Red Square.  She ignored her motorcar—it was stuck in the line of vehicles before the buildings, and rushed past the checkpoints.  Aleksandr followed after her, and at the street called to her, “Where are you going?”

        Sveta didn’t reply.  Aleksandr easily caught up to her.  She could not run fast.  The best she could do was a hopping jog.  It was late and the streets were almost empty.  She gritted her teeth for a while and finally burst out, “Why are you following me?”

        “You might need me to help you when you decide it is time for you to go home.”

        She stopped suddenly and struck his chest with both hands, “I needed you tonight.  I hate you.”

        Aleksandr’s voice was confused, “You needed me, and I was there for you.”

        Sveta’s speech was raw with emotion.  Sveta punctuated her statements with her fists, “I always need help.  I would have died, but Vasily saved me.  They would have sent me to a people’s asylum, but Father Nikolay saved me.  I would have gone crazy, but Mother Marya saved me.  Everyone is saving me.  I hate it.”  She turned her face away, “I have one skill and one skill only.  I don’t want anyone to have to save me, yet I find in this one thing, the one thing I can do, I still need saving.”

        Aleksandr grabbed her shoulders, “I am willing to save you any time, Svetlana Evgenyevna.”

        “But what if I don’t want to be saved?”

        “Then that is the time when you most need my help.  I love you Svetlana Evgenyevna.  I am willing to die for you.  Aleksandr pulled her face close to his and kissed her.  Sveta let him.  For a moment, she melted in his arms.  Then she pushed him away and lowered her head.

        “What’s wrong, Svetlana Evgenyevna?”

        “Such pleasures are denied me.”  She glanced up into his eyes then looked straight ahead, “Marya watches from the car.  She is waiting to pick me up.”

        “Can we speak later?”

        She spat the words out, “Later?”  Then more controlled, “Later?  Soon, you must begin my lessons in Cantonese.”  She pushed away from him and stepped to the curb.  Her car came up, and Aleksandr opened the door.  Marya glared from the other side of the back seat.  Sveta touched his arm, “The university is a long walk from here.  I will send the car back for you.”

 

Aleksandr is infatuated with Sveta.  Sveta believes she is denied such pleasures as love.  This will be a recurrent theme for her and her personality through this and the next novel.  Sveta is a very powerful person who doesn’t want to accept help.  Aleksndr is not usually bold and many times unready, but he is skilled in his own way. 

 

Sveta is a warrior, and Aleksandr is an academic. 

 

There are other issues suddenly set in motion by this scene.  Marya saw the kiss.  There will be problems for Sveta based on that.  Khrushchev was also introduced in this scene.  He is not as high as Beria, but obviously is making his move in the Kremlin. 

 

By the way, this is an account of a real meeting and dinner party held in the Kremlin at this time.  The leaders I represented in the scene were there for the reasons I noted.  This is what makes historical fiction powerful and exciting.

   

I’ll give you more examples.

 

More tomorrow.


For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, 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