22 February 2018, Writing - part x412, Developing Skills, Writing
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’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.
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.
For novel 30: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the scene development 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
Today: Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work. I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words. That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels. When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.
To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first. Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much. I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.
The second skill set you need is writing. It would be simple to write that you need a basic writing skill set and then we can move on. There was a time when I could write, you need a high school or a collegiate level writing skill set—not any more. Many if not most of the people graduating from high school in the USA can’t read or write. A pretty large contingent graduating from college or university can’t write. And even if you can write, the skill of writing requires more than just a basic writing skill set. I am of the opinion that you can teach these skills to anyone, but the question is one of time and experience.
If you don’t already have a desire to write and some degree of the proper skill set, you likely won’t succeed. On the other hand, if you are reading this blog, there is a very high probability that you already possess the basic skills and you have the desire to move on to advanced writing skills and techniques.
I’d like you to have a strong knowledge of sentence structure and grammar. As long as you can use it, however, you are basically set. You definitely need to know how to compose a strong paragraph. If you know how to write a basic paragraph and can identify generally where to break paragraphs--that will do.
Let’s write about paragraphs a little. Paragraphs are composed. They have a subject statement, the first sentence, a body concerning the subject, a conclusion, and a connection to the next paragraph. In actuality in writing, things are not so cut and dried. Paragraphs are composed, but paragraphs in fiction writing have a purpose beyond that of basic paragraph composition. Sentences likewise. Paragraphs are used to demarcate speakers in dialog, and when writing dialog, paragraphs and sentences can get complex treatment sometimes at odds with “basic” rules and knowledge. That’s okay, that’s part of the advanced skills set I’m writing about. The basic skill set is necessary—the advanced skill set is what we learn to make us strong fiction writers.
Let’s put it this way, when you are writing fiction, especially dialog in fiction, the basic rules and concepts can get muddled—the rule then becomes rule 1 above: don’t confuse your readers. Basic grammar including capitalization and punctuation are used to prevent confusion. In dialog, the author must use all basic grammar skills along with knowledge of the use of punctuation to appropriately punctuate and break up conversation so the reader understands what is going on. This is an advanced writing technique and one your teachers may or may not have taught you.
Remember reading? Reading novels allows you to see how other writers used punctuation and breaks in their writing to keep their writing clear. This is also advanced writing skills. We’ll look at resources for writers next.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, 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