23 February 2018, Writing - part x413, Developing Skills, Style Guides
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.
If you possess good or at least reasonable writing skills how should you design your writing. Style guides are the means to standardize writing. These are primarily journalistic devices, but every author needs to be familiar with the concept and content of style guides.
In the USA, the two major style guides are the Chicago and the New York Times. These define how the journalists are to format their writing. Strunk’s Elements of Style is a typical simplistic style guide offered to students. It has worth as a learning tool and a beginning point. Its overall worth is not necessarily that great. For example, Strunk will show you how to make basic formatting for technical papers, but not necessarily the accepted ways for advanced punctuation or some other types of formatting. No matter what you do, the author is many times on their own for advanced or complicated questions for capitalization, numerical formatting, and punctuation.
If the guide doesn’t address it, what do you do? Writing is an art as much of a skill. Usually, your publisher’s editor will direct the formatting or some things, however, if you don’t have a publisher or an editor, you are largely on your own.
My point is this. Style guides are a critical tool for writing, but they don’t cover everything. The author needs to use common conventions (style guides) and apply necessary formatting when the conventions don’t properly and sufficiently provide guidance.
Now, I will pass two important points that you won’t usually get anywhere else. The first is that in modern fiction, the semicolon is almost never used. It is replaced with the double hyphen “–“ sometimes called the en-hyphen. The double hyphen is used in place of the semicolon and is also used in dialog to reflect a space longer than a comma, but less than an ellipsis.
The second point is the use of punctuation in dialog. The point of punctuation in dialog is to convey the sound of the speech and conversation. The ultimate point of punctuation is provide understanding to the reader. The author must properly use punctuation and at the same time convey the proper feel and understanding in the dialog. I have covered some of this in these pages. Perhaps more in the future. The next idea to look at is approaching writing.
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