27 July 2018, Writing - part x567, Developing Skills, Research
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 author’s life is one of study. I don’t mean facile study, and I don’t mean simplistic study. I mean the kind of study I’m certain most people didn’t accomplish in school although they should have. I mean the kind of study that is usually reserved for people who want to know and who want to teach. There we are, already at the next topic, which is teaching, but we will get there.
Back to study. You really need to study as if you intend to teach the subject at hand—the reason is you are teaching the subject at hand. As an author, the purpose of your writing is not to teach, it is to entertain, but think about this very carefully—your writing must be able to pass normal scrutiny. Normal scrutiny to me means that casual readers, those who know a little about your subject, will completely accept your statements, description, and premise, while those who know a great deal about the subject will not be lost from their suspension of disbelief. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Remember, the point is to entertain, not to educate. To pass “normal scrutiny” let me suggest the following:
First, stay away from completely debatable topics. Global warming is one. Unless you intend to focus your plot on this subject, I wouldn’t touch it. Current fads and politically correct topics are also right out. I wouldn’t touch politics except in equal satire or as a cultural or social point. For example, in Blue Rose, I make jokes about Azure’s versus a few of the 1990s British political party member’s points of view. I accomplish through figures of speech and quips. I can get away with it because most people who are familiar with the era and the people will get it everyone else can tell there is a joke, but might not care. Thus, I don’t touch politics at all, but I do appeal to the experts and to those who might know a little.
Second, know your subject. Lots of topics are not debatable at all. Many ideas are set in stone. The wise author knows his or her subject so well any statements will be correct and true. This is true about the description of people, places, and things. Get your details correct, and no one can complain. When I use actual people, places, and things in my novels, I look at a picture, go there, and have knowledge about them as I describe and use them. This will usually placate the most avid expert—if the details are correct. Make sure you are right in time and space. The worse mistake in using an actual person, place, or thing is when they didn’t exist in the time or place. A great example today is the many historical works with incorrect stuff throughout them. The other is modern works that place the incorrect computers, cell phones, and other electronics in the wrong time or place.
Third, if you don’t know or it isn’t that important, obfuscate. If the exact is unknown in history, be a good enough study to provide a likely correct answer. For example, in my novel Centurion, the precise details of many historical events and day to day operations of the Roman Legions is unknown. People don’t record certain common details in history especially ancient history. You have to take many sources, know your subject, and be able to interpolate and extrapolate to provide a reasoned detail. Again, from Centurion, no one knows exactly how inns or eateries operated in the first century. The author must know enough to be able to fill in the details based on a knowledge of what we know. In addition, visiting the area in the current century and using recorded details from the near past with the obviously missing touches of the modern world allows the author to build a reasoned model for his or her readers.
Study is critical, and I didn’t get to the point I wanted to today—that is the supernatural and study. That’s 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