29 March 2017, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x82, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Secrets
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
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)
Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)
Secrets – Current discussion.
Two way love
Three way love (love rival)
Celebrity (Rise to fame)
Rise to riches
Military (Device or Organization manipulation)
School (Training) (Skill Development)
Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)
End of the --- (World, Culture, Society)
Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)
Mind Switching (Soul Switching)
Secrets: here is my definition – secrets (mysteries) are developed, kept, and revealed in the advancement of the plot to create tension and release and drive to the plot climax.
The secrets plot device is exactly the same as the mystery plot device. Every mystery uses the mystery plot device. This plot device was invented by the author of The Moonstone in the Victorian Era, but it has antecedents well before that. The reason is that mystery and secrets are both a major plot device and a plot characteristic. You find secrets which become mysteries through simply a focus of the plot. For example, is Oliver Twist a mystery novel? The novel presents a mystery—who is Oliver? There is a mystery, but the novel isn’t really considered a mystery novel. There are secrets and there are mysteries. The novel is wrapped around these ideas. What about Pride and Prejudice? Here is a novel filled with secrets. Is it a mystery novel? It incorporates mysteries. It incorporates secrets. Still, no one would consider it a mystery novel. All novels incorporate mysteries and secrets. This is the point—they only rise to the level of mystery when the plot is centered on a mystery. You should realize that the difference between a mystery and a not mystery is simply the focus of the novel. If, for example, in Pride and Prejudice the point of the novel were the discovery of the secret of the connections between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy—oh, it is.
The question of the focus is the theme and not the plot. Every plot is one of mysteries and secrets, but not every theme is one of mysteries and secrets. The theme of Pride and Prejudice is one of love, marriage, and courting. There is the secret of secrets and mystery—all plots include mysteries and secrets, but not all themes do. There is so much more to say about secrets and mysteries, but the most important part is that all novels are about secrets and mysteries.
From Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire:
George awoke with a headache. He struggled out of bed—his chest ached, and he took a couple of aspirin. It was still early afternoon. He made coffee and ate a breakfast that was closer to a lunch. After a while, he checked his schedule—it was clear.
George opened an encrypted file and began to fill it with all the information he gathered about vampires as well as his observations from the last week. He had no intention of sharing this information with Stewart or anyone else. He just wanted to document everything that happened to him, and what he discovered.
He started the file under the name of the girl: Valeska. Then with a laugh, he added Heidi. He chuckled, how could anyone imagine a vampire named Heidi? He stretched—his chest still ached a little. He knew he had been shot through his chest. He believed he experienced a conversation with a filthy girl who asked to dine on his blood. He let her and somehow he survived wounds most people would have said were not survivable. He ran his finger along his teeth—no fangs. He hadn’t turned into a vampire—not that he could tell. He leaned back in his chair. He’d like to talk to her again. He guessed that would be impossible, and he didn’t dare return to the last place he saw her. The Polish Secret Service, embarrassed, reassumed that investigation. It turned out to be a little more dangerous than anyone expected. They found “lambs”—young boys and girls kidnapped for the purpose of sex and snuff films. Pretty disgusting stuff. The mission was supposed to have been a simple informant connection. The organization sent George because he spoke the Eastern European language of the contact. George hoped the Polish government hadn’t realized who he was—that would be a breach of security. His language knowledge was classified. Still, the organization tried to keep their allies happy.
George stayed up late that evening with reports and his own notes.
The mystery indicated by the scene is the reality of the vampire and the occurrences that George experienced. The question is how much is real and how much is not. This is always the power of a novel.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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