My Favorites

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Writing - part x603, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, the Plot

1 September 2018, Writing - part x603, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, the Plot

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
7.      POV

No matter how good, interesting, or entertaining the topic or idea behind the writing, a strong plot can easily grasp the reader and pull them into the suspension of disbelief. 

Back to our true and consummate example, William Shakespeare.  Shakespeare took tired, overwrought, and overused ideas which he wrapped into an interesting plot with the fabulous use of language and dialog to produce astounding works that hold the reader tightly into the suspension of disbelief.  Form what we know of Shakespeare his works were written to entertain the educated and erudite while also entertaining the illiterate and ignorant.  Think about this.  Many of those today who can read can’t read at a level to that required to comprehend a novel.  Yet Shakespeare was able to cater to a large swath of his culture and society.  Admittedly, he was writing plays which require watching much like movies or television, but he still held his audiences in the suspension of disbelief. 

It is the actors who determine whether an observer is held in the suspension of disbelief of one of Shakespeare’s plays.  The plays themselves are assumed to hold the reader or observer.  I know, many people can’t handle or understand Shakespeare’s writing or vocabulary, but whose fault is that?

Back to the point—the plot can hold a reader in the suspension of disbelief, and that is exactly what we want to do.

Most of us are not Shakespeares, so how are we going to follow the example of Shakespeare?  There are some authors who have a penchant for language and the use of language.  Alan Bradley and Catherynne Valente are artisans with the English language.  Perhaps not Shakespeares, but their plots aren’t really what holds their novels together.  Don’t get me wrong, the plots aren’t too bad, but they aren’t that great.  Their use of language is what makes their novels wonderful. 

Then there are the plot masters: Alistair MacLean, Colin Forbes, Jack Vance, Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie and a bunch of others.  These authors are able to weave a wonderful idea into a plot that suspends disbelief for the reader.

How do they do this?  Not all of us can use language like Shakespeare or Bradley or Valente, but we might be able to write a plot that holds a reader in the suspension of disbelief.  Let’s see if we can figure how these authors succeed.                               

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

No comments:

Post a Comment