6 August 2018, Writing - part x577, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Grammar
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: 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
Here is a list of these basic language factors (standard English) that might prevent suspension of disbelief:
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.
Really, what can I write about grammar? If you wish to hold your readers in a suspension of disbelief, you must ensure your grammar or rather, lack of grammar, does not throw them out of that suspension of disbelief.
Grammar is, unfortunately, an under taught skill in modern education. Today, the average person has no idea about parts of speech or correct word usage. I daily and routinely hear college graduates who don’t know how to properly use I, me, and myself. Almost no one knows how to properly use who and whom. As a writer, these are your bread and butter—while the normal level of grammar acuity in the educated class can drop into the elementary school level, a novelist can’t.
If you don’t understand grammar or can’t explain when to properly use I, me, myself, or who and whom, you need to become educated. These are skills which are immutable and broach no compromise. Your editors will thank you, and your readers will not be cast out of their suspension of disbelief by your unwitting destruction of the English language through lapses in grammar.
Plus, there is another side to this. When I read total lapses in grammar, I lump the writer in the “uneducated” and potentially “stupid” category. We all make mistakes and there should be some latitude for errors in our occasional and journalistic writing, but fully edited and completed writing should have no grammatical errors. Even errors in spelling, though not acceptable are understandable. An error in grammar is like an error in the basic computer code—who can understand that.
And the worst—this kind of error will drive your reader out of a suspension of disbelief. That is the most important characteristic. Or, even worse—your reader might decide to put your book down and find something else to read.
The assumption is that the final product, the novel, will meet a very high standard of correctness. We all expect this from the books we read. Your use of grammar is a critical piece in your writing skills. And if you think the editor will catch your grammatical errors, don’t be too sure and who’s to say a publisher will even let a novel with many grammatical errors get to an editor in the first place?
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