29 August 2018, Writing - part x600, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Topic
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
I’m moving on to the next topic which is the topic. Believe it or not, a very interesting and creative topic can overcome a host of problems in reason and logic. The example is (drum roll) Harry Potty.
Indeed Harry Potty has a whole hosts of worldview problems, but those problems don’t occur to the reader at the time because they are completely engaged in the topic of the novel. The topic is magic and magic automatically requires some degree of suspension of disbelief. In any case, I hope you can see how the topic itself can save a novel.
Here’s another example. If you remember one of my favorite example novels is Anna McCaffrey’s Dragonsong. This novel has a time and place issue, but even if the problem tickles at the edge of the read’s reasoning and logic, the topic draws the reader into the novel so tightly that without multiple readings, you don’t get the problem.
There are a host of other novels that do have some logic and reasoning issues, but still don’t drive the reader out of the suspension of disbelief. I mentioned this before, novels that do knock the reader out of the suspension of disbelief don’t usually get published. The topics are a major point in this goal of developing a novel that holds the reader in the suspension of disbelief.
I will say that I have read a number of novels, especially science fiction novels, which did push me out of the suspension of disbelief. The major problem with science fiction is that if the science isn’t right, the scientist can’t stomach it. It makes their mind work in ways adverse to the suspension of disbelief. The scientist won’t buy it, but the nonscientist might.
The way a science fiction novel with this type of non-science pedigree might get published is because the topic is creative and interesting, the writing is entertaining, and the publisher or editor isn’t as conversant as they should be in science. This happens all the time in science fiction because most science fiction publishers are suckers for a good story, but are not very wise about science. This means, you might have hope. Well maybe.
I’m really not in favor of novels that promote topic and disregard worldview. They can exist. They can be bestsellers. They don’t ruin literature. But is that the novel you would really like to write? If Harry Potty could and would be written in a more cogent way, the novel might not just be a Young Adult novel. But that’s the point—it is a Young Adult novel. I don’t expect greatness from it. There is a question if it will last another generation. That’s likely because they made a movie about it. I’d like to see Dragonsong made into a movie.
The question that should be on your mind is this. If topic maters so much—what is a good topic? We’ll look at that 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