22 June 2017, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part x167, It’s Finished, Reviews and Reviewing
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.
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. I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.
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.
First, you write and write and write until you are competent and someone finally accepts one of your novels for publication.
Second, you keep writing.
Third, you market.
Fourth, you keep writing with the hope your marketing and your writing will finally come to fruition.
Fifth, you market.
Unless you are a best seller, reviews are hard to come by. The best you can do is ask your book fans or other writers to make a review. You can also find groups and individuals who will give you a review in exchange for copy. I think all of this is a great idea. Most authors will exchange reviews.
I’m lucky that a few of my published novels have attracted some good attention. They have garnered some great reviews. I’m often asked to do reviews for other authors, and I will almost always suggest an exchange of reviews.
When I review another’s novel, I read the entire novel, and at the same time, I make notes concerning the writing. I note any errors I find, but I am mostly interested in the details and how I might correct them. In many if not most cases, I am reviewing historical fiction. With historical fiction, I am looking at the historical details in the novel. Since I’m a student of history and a historical fiction writer, I’m very interested in historical accuracy. For example, I’ve read numerous historical fiction from ancient periods where the author wrote about hiding under furniture, using money, about washing plates, or other historical aberrations. To be clear, people didn’t really have any furniture until late in the last millennia, and no furniture would have been large enough to hide anyone. Money was invented in about 600 BC in Lydia, but was not ubiquitous until the 19th Century. People didn’t eat what we think they did and didn’t have food in any fashion like we do today. Plates really were unnecessary for individuals and individuals didn’t eat on plates until about the middle of the last millennia. There was no plate washing or food on individual plates until around that time.
So, with this in mind, my job as a reviewer isn’t to note all the historical difficulties in a historical novel, but rather to provide true feedback to the author of the novel. Historical aberrations aren’t the only problems I note. Many times in a complex novel, an author has contradictions, time issues, character issues, mistakes, cringe worthy incidents, areas that could be improved. I note these and provide feedback on how I would correct them. Especially for writing improvements. It does no good to write, I didn’t like the way this incident was resolved. It is much more helpful to write, this is how I would have resolved this issue… I mean for this private review to be private and for the author’s eyes only. It is the kind of review I would want for any of my novels. I’ve received a few reviews like this, but very few.
The problem with most reviews and reviewers is they see themselves in too important a light. I know there are many better writers than I am—we are all on a path to writing better. With that in mind, I want to provide creative feedback that provides the author a way to improve their writing. That’s what I want for my writing. It does no good to write, I didn’t like this. It is very helpful to write, I didn’t like this because. And, here’s how you might improve it.
I will note, I did receive a treatise on one of my novels with a very critical review from an unpublished author I met on a trip. I didn’t mind the critical review, but the problem was the writer didn’t like anything about the novel. They didn’t like my approach or style of writing. I write for entertainment and to entertain—I was not able to entertain this reader. I feel like I have been able to see the spark of entertainment in every published novel I’ve read—after all, the publisher and the publisher’s editors saw promise and worked hard to make that work profitable in the marketplace. For self-published works, I still see what the author intended and I want to provide useful feedback and not something unattainable. What I’m saying is this—make your private feedback useful. The author can’t usually change a currently published novel, but they can improve future novels.
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