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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Writing - part x575, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Vocabulary, Context

4 August 2018, Writing - part x575, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Vocabulary, Context   

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  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

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 and select "production schedule," you will be sent to
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
Cover Proposal
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:  Suspension of disbelief is the characteristic of writing that pulls the reader into the world of the novel in such a way that the reader would rather face the world of the novel rather than the real world—at least while reading.  If this occurs while not reading, it is potentially a mental problem.  To achieve the suspension of disbelief your writing has to meet some basic criteria and contain some strong inspiration.  If you want to call the inspiration creativity, that works too.  Here is a list of the basic criteria to hope to achieve some degree of suspension of disbelief. 

1.      Reasonably written in standard English
2.      No glaring logical fallacies
3.      Reasoned worldview
4.      Creative and interesting topic
5.      A Plot
6.      Entertaining

Here is a list of these basic language factors (standard English) that might prevent suspension of disbelief:

1.      Vocabulary
2.      Grammar
3.      Dialog
4.      Language
5.      Idioms
6.      Understanding
7.      Terms

Generally, we write about problems with your writing that might prevent suspension of disbelief.  The assumption is that you can write well enough to produce a work where suspension of disbelief is possible, and the problem is to keep the reader in that suspension of disbelief. 

Yesterday, I wrote about vocabulary and defining your unusual words in the writing.  It is important as a writer to realize which words you will need to define and how to define them.  In yesterday’s example, I placed the definitions directly in the dialog and the narrative.  Today, I want to show you how to define words in context.  But, let’s look at which words to define.

Number one, define all foreign words.  In the past, I have used foreign words and phrases in my works, and in the future I will continue this.  I usually place a footnote for the word or phrase.  This is inherently bad for sustaining the suspension of disbelief because the reader, if they don’t know the meaning, must look at the bottom of the page and break their focus on the writing.  I still think using a footnote for a foreign language phrase is a good technique as long as you realize the potential problems it causes.

You don’t need to define short shared foreign words or foreign words in common usage in your language or with your readers.  Si, oui, danke, merde, zut, and all are examples.  If you need to, you can define these word in context.

Second, define all professional words that are not in common speech.  The example of the phobia yesterday is a professional word that definitely needs a definition.

Third, define all words in context that are not used in common speech.  There are others, but we will get to them in sequence.  Let’s look at defining in context.

You don’t have to give a definition in dialog or narrative.  You can also point to a word in the context of the writing.  For example, let’s pick a word that isn’t very common “railbird.”  How could we introduce the meaning of this word in context of the writing?  Railbird means, 1. A horse-racing enthusiast, 2. A spectator in a contest, or 3. An observer who offers uninvited advice or criticism.  You don’t need to infer or define the word with all the definitions.  Here is an example of defining this word, railbird in context.

      The patrons at the racetrack leaned on the low barrier that kept them from the track.  The looked like the railbirds that they were—birds hanging on a rail with their necks craned to catch the earliest glimpse of the horses and their riders.

Using such a statement, you can provide your readers a definition within the context of the writing.  This type of defining in context prevents any disruption of the suspension of disbelief.  It also provides a word picture that helps the reader see exactly what you are trying to show. 

We’ll wrap up vocabulary, next.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, 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

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