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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x109, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Fashion

25 April 2017, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x109, Creative Elements in Scenes, Plot Devices, Fashion

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)

Story within a story (Hypodiegesis)

Third attempt


Judicial Setting

Legal argument


Two way love

Three way love (love rival)


Celebrity (Rise to fame)

Rise to riches

Military (Device or Organization manipulation)

School (Training) (Skill Development)





Impossible Crime

Human god



Silent witness

Secret king


Hidden skills

Fantasy Land (Time Travel, Space Travel)

End of the --- (World, Culture, Society)

Resistance (Nonresistance)

Utopia (anti-utopia)

Fashion Current discussion.

Augmented Human (Robot) (Society)

Mind Switching (Soul Switching)

Unreliable character

Incarceration (imprisonment)

Valuable item





Brotherhood (sisterhood) (camaraderie)



One way love

Fashion:  here is my definition – Fashion is the use of ideas related to beauty and social acceptance to further a plot.    

Fashion is a great example of how the above are plot devices and not just themes or plot ideas.  I use the fashion plot device in many of my novels, but I haven’t based any novel on fashion as a theme or a plot idea.  Fashion in my novels is wholly a plot device and not a theme or a plot idea.  What I mean by a plot idea is a continuous concept used through the entire novel.  For example, a novel about the fashion industry would be a plot idea in a novel.  If the theme was about fashion in the fashion industry, the theme might be about fashion too.  I think you get the point.


Fashion is broader than it seems at first.  I define fashion as beauty and social acceptance.  This is made with the assumption that fashion is a type of beauty and social acceptance.  That is the reason people want to be fashionable is to reflect their idea of beauty and to be socially accepted.  The use of fashion as a concept is very powerful as a plot device.  For example, you can have a character who thinks they are very beautiful (fashionable) or you can have a character who imagines that are very ugly (unfashionable).  The point is that the plot device is the character’s imagination—they might be ugly as sin or beautiful as a rose.  The point is what they imagine and what others also observe.  I use these ideas all the time in my writing.  


Here is an example from my writing from Shadow of Darkness.                   


        The bed was small, but large enough for two thin girls.  Sveta still wore Klava’s old shirt to sleep in.  It was stained with the blood from her wounds, but clean and usable.  In Berlin, Klava had wanted to replace the shirt with a real nightgown, but Sveta wouldn’t let her.

        When they undressed, Katya stared at Sveta’s back and limbs.  There was a horrible chunk of flesh carved out of her right calf.  Katya realized that was why she walked with a cane.  The ragged edges of the wound were healed, but the center was pink and still healing.  It must hurt her terribly.  The back of Sveta’s legs were peppered with irregular scars.  They were nearly everywhere.  Her right arm was similarly marked, and Katya wondered if that affected her ability to write?  Then she answered her own question, of course it did.  Katya’s could not realize her face was so filled with pity.  Sveta was beautiful.  Katya could look at her own ungraceful but budding form and see some hallmarks of the beauty that she would be, but Sveta was beautiful.  A beauty that was immediately breathtaking.  The awful marks on her body only seemed to accentuate, by contrast the amazing beauty that was already there.  Katya wondered if she were jealous and realized she couldn’t be.  Whatever forces in the universe made Sveta so beautiful, the same marred her beauty, and yet that made her seem even more beautiful. 

        Sveta pulled on her old stained shirt, but that only partially covered her scars.

        When Sveta turned around, she noted Katya’s stare, “I know it looks terrible.”  She lowered her head.

        Katya slowly shook her head, stepped forward, and put her arms around Sveta, “I’m so sorry, Sveta.”  How could she tell this poor girl that the wounds made her seem even greater in her eyes?  Words could not tell.

        Katya helped Sveta to the bed.  She let Sveta sleep next to the wall.  Before Katya fell asleep, she heard Sveta’s husky whisper at her back and a gentle clicking.  She rolled over a little, “What are you doing Sveta?”

        “I am praying.”


        “Praying the rosary.”

        “You are not Jewish?”

        “No, I am not Jewish.  Uncle Vasily thought I was when he first found me, but I am Christian.  Are you Jewish?”

        “Yes, I guess.  We are all Soviets.”

        “I am sorry about the Jews.”  Katya heard a strange catch in Sveta’s voice.

        Katya turned the rest of the way to face the other girl.  In the dim light, she could see tears along Sveta’s cheeks.

        Sveta continued, “I tried to do everything I could to stop it.  I didn’t do enough.”

        “You tried to stop it?  Father told us much of what he saw.  It was terrible.  The Germans perhaps killed Grandmother because she was a Jew.  How could you stop it?”

        Sveta didn’t say anything more.  She just continued her prayers.  Her voice was more muffled than before.  The clicking of her rosary seemed to go on for a long time.


Sveta is beautiful.  She is unusually beautiful, but she was also wounded during the war (World War Two).  This is using the fashion plot device.  I’m using to draw an expression from the reader and the other characters.  You can see it in the response of Katya to her.  This isn’t just about beauty or fashion—this is about the impression of beauty and the effect of beauty on a person.  Fashion can be a very powerful plot device.


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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