31 July 2018, Writing - part x571, Developing Skills, Suspension of Disbelief
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. 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 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: 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 cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
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 30: 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 31: TBD
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: The purpose of all fiction is entertainment. The entertainment is accomplished in large part by the suspension of disbelief. The suspension of disbelief is the ability of the writer to provide an immersive environment that first of all, appears completely rational and reasonable, and second of all, captures the reader in that environment.
This is a critical point. It isn’t enough to design and populate a world that meets this criteria—the reader must be enveloped by this world to the point that they would rather read then do almost anything. The suspension of disbelief means the world of the novel, for the time of the reading, becomes more real that the real world of the reader.
If you have not experienced this in your reading, you literally have no way to become a writer. If you have never seen this in a novel, there is no way you can pass this experience on to others. This is also why otherwise reasonably written fiction might seem or feel off—it does not achieve this suspension of disbelief.
To be fair, as a writer my discipline and my level of criticism has moved very high. It takes a very well put together novel to really envelop me in the writing. On the other hand, I can read novels and other writing very quickly and yet understand the positives and deficiencies. Likewise, in my own writing, I can see where it doesn’t convey the suspension of disbelief I desire, and that is exactly what I work for in editing and rewriting.
In fact, let’s look at editing. There are effectively three levels of editing. I’ve written about two most of the time I’ve written in this blog about editing, but there is a third. The first level of editing is what most writers unfortunately think and need—this is basic grammar, spelling, and English skills. This is not really editing—this is just proofreading. The next level of editing is truly editing—this is where the reader is looking for rationality, reasonability, and consistency in the writing. Does the plot and theme fit together properly? Are there holes in the plot and theme? Are the characters consistent? Can the plot be improved? This is true editing.
The third level of editing is for suspension of disbelief. This is the most difficult and the most elusive level of writing. Many times when proofing or editing another’s writing you will get the feeling that something is off. If the writing is especially poor that is in basic English, you will never be able to drop into the suspension of disbelief. If you are reading some sloppy or trite piece, even is well written, you will never achieve a suspension of disbelief. In many of the Victorian, pre Romanticism novels, I barely can get a suspension of disbelief. In many if not most of the 1960 to 1980 avant garde science fiction no one can achieve a suspension of disbelief. In no James Joyce novel can a reasonable person find any suspension of disbelief.
If you have no suspension of disbelief, you have little entertainment. You might as well be reading a technical paper. So, this is the subject we should embark on next—the suspension of disbelief.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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