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Friday, March 10, 2017

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x63, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Frame Story, or a Story within a Story

10 March 2017, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x63, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Frame Story, or a Story within a Story

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

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

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 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. 

Scene development:

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


Below is a list of plot devices.  I’m less interested in a plot device than I am in a creative element that drives a plot device.  In fact, some of these plot devices are not good for anyone’s writing.  If we remember, the purpose of fiction writing is entertainment, we will perhaps begin to see how we can use these plot devices to entertain.  If we focus on creative elements that drive plot devices, we can begin to see how to make our writing truly entertaining.  I’ll leave up the list and we’ll contemplate creative elements to produce these plot devices. 


Deus ex machina (a machination, or act of god; lit. “god out of the machine”)

Flashback (or analeptic reference)

Frame story, or a story within a story Current discussion.

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)


Frame story, or a story within a story:  Here is a definition of frame story, or a story within a story from the link-- A main story that organizes a series of shorter stories.


This is a terrible definition.  I’ll give you a better one.  A frame story is a plot that contains one or more plots as a part of the main plot.     


This is an uncommon plot device today.  It once was used relatively often.  You can see examples in Shakespeare: A Midsummer’s Night Dream and The Taming of the Shrew.  Examples from the link are Panchatantra, Arabian Nights, and The Decameron, as well as a modern example Brian Jacques' The Legend of Luke.  Don’t forget The Canterbury Tales.  If you notice, there are few modern examples of this plot device.  I don’t think I’ve used it myself. 


Take a close look at the concept of a story within a story.  The modern author uses a flashback or a flashforward instead of the frame story device.  I wrote that I don’t use either very often.  These are all useful plot devices in the right setting.  Today, the right setting might be a little few and far between.  The story within a story doesn’t lend itself to any specific creative elements.  It might produce an entertaining scene, story or novel, and that is the point entirely.  If you think a story within a story will make your novel, scene, or novel more entertaining, use it.      


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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