1 March 2017, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x54, Creative Elements in Scenes, Expected and the Unexpected
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.
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
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 Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.
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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.
I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel.
1. Scene input (easy)
2. Scene output (a little harder)
3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene: transition from input to output focused on the telic flaw resolution)
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.
For novel 28: 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.
For novel 29: 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.
These are the steps I use to write 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
Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the 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
Let’s delve deeper into the expected and the unexpected in plots and themes, and then tie that to the creative elements. Back to the beginning. The protagonist must have a telic flaw. This telic flaw is the basis for the novel and the climax. The protagonist must overcome the telic flaw (comedy) or be overcome by the telic flaw (tragedy). You can see a novel is about the revelation of the protagonist—the telic flaw is just part of that revelation. You can also see the reader expects the protagonist to do something about the telic flaw. The expectation of most novels is that the protagonist will overcome their telic flaw. In the ancient world where tragedy abounded, this wasn’t assured. In the modern world where comedy (classical comedy) is almost always the resolution of art (literature), the reader has given up on the idea that the protagonist might not succeed. Our world and literature is all about the protagonist overcoming their telic flaw. Because of this literature has become more and more complex. This is a good thing.
Let’s put this into an example. The best is a detective mystery. The protagonist is the detective. The detective’s telic flaw is the mystery—let’s say a murder. This is called an external telic flaw. It is a problem external to the detective. An internal telic flaw is a physical, emotional, or mental issue the protagonist must resolve in the climax of the novel. I like to have both an internal and an external telic flaw in my protagonist, but we’ll keep to this simplified example—the murder mystery. In this case, the detective must resolve the murder mystery to the expectation of the readers. Notice, I didn’t write to the expectation of the police, detective, citizens, criminals, victims or anyone else in the novel. The writer writes for the readers not the art or any other concept. Novels are about entertainment.
Since the author is writing to the expectations of the readers, the readers expect the protagonist (detective in this case) to solve the crime. The expected climax is that the protagonist discovers the how what, who, when, and where of the murderer, catches the murderer, and resolves all the issues related to the crime (in one way or another). This is the expected climax. This should be obvious to the author and to the readers. However, with the expectation of a comedy, this isn’t enough.
This is where the plot and the theme come in as major directors of the novel. Although the resolution and climax are obvious and expected, the author must write the novel such that they appear both unexpected and not obvious. This is where we write about plot devices and plot developments. I should give you a list:
Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)
Flashback (or analeptic reference)
Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)
I should add to this list secrets. Each of these plot devices revolve around creative element(s). The purpose of the plot devices are to lead to the resolution of the telic flaw in such a way that the telic flaw resolution is unexpected. This should be clear to the writer. I could solve the mystery in the first scene (a short story). The detective protagonist happens upon the murder scene, determines how it was done, finds the murderer, captures the murderer, and puts the murderer in prison. Bingo, bango, bongo, that’s the beginning and end. The reader knows that all these steps and events will happen. They must happen to the expectation of the reader or they are not entertaining. They must happen in such a way that the reader is not expecting the expected resolution of the novel. And, in the end, the perfect climax is one that is presented as impossible, but the author writes to make possible—the absolutely unexpected and impossible expectation. Most of my novels are written this way.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
http://www.ancientlight.com/fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic