11 October 2018, Writing - part x643, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Plot Types
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
Everything is about entertainment. The purpose for all published novels is entertainment. Other than this is the only point of fiction literature, one of the main reasons is that entertainment can fill a lot of holes as well as result in the suspension of disbelief.
The factors that do lend themselves to entertaining are these:
6. Use of figures of speech (vocabulary and language).
I’ve written about this before. The most effective and perhaps only plot type is zero to hero. You can have others, but most of the “others” are just not that entertaining. Zero to hero is a comedy plot type. You can also have hero to zero. Hero to zero is a tragedy plot type.
There are actually only two types of plots tragedy and comedy. As I noted, tragedy is hero to zero and usually dead. Comedy is zero to hero. Comedy and zero to hero is the basic mode of our current modern fictional entertainment. Let’s put it this way, you can’t go wrong with zero to hero.
Now about different modes or types of zero to hero—I’m not certain there are any. It depends on how you define entertainment and the terms zero and hero. Zero is a lowering of the protagonist to a pathos developing level. Any level will do, but the lower the better. This creates the elevation some Greek literary philosophy writes about—the elevation is the difference between the beginning state of the protagonist to the ending state of the protagonist. We all know the greater the better.
The zero state is variable, but dependent on the protagonist. I want to drive my protagonist to the lowest levels possible depending on the plot and the protagonist. The hero level is likewise variable. The greater difference between states is what you are aiming at. For example, you knew there had to be, in Star Bores, Luke goes from a dirt farmer on Tatooine to a General in the rebel space force in a single movie! Let me point out that this is bogus and most thinking adult sna d children over the age of three know this is a bogus and unearned hero state. So, now we have something else to think about, the state of the zero and the state of the hero.
I want to drive my characters to the lowest point reasonable for their culture and state. We see an excellent example in Sara Crew from The Little Princess. Sara starts as the middle to upper middle class child of a military officer. No nobility, but a good life. When her father dies, she is driven to penury, work, and abuse. This is a reasonable level for her place and society. The author could have driven her lower, but that would have been another story entirely. The hero level is also a level above her beginning. She regains a father-like figure, her wealth, and her position. The hero level is reasonable and, to a degree, higher in status than her previous position. It is especially a higher moral level than her previous position.
To properly use this comedy type of plot development, you need to drive or start your protagonist to a zero level reasonable to the culture and society. You can do this in many ways. The classical method is as noted: position, abuse, work, lack of wealth, lack of food, lack of shelter, lack of trust from others, lack of acceptance…and all. This isn’t a complete list, but you get the idea. You can either start at this zero level or drive your character to a zero level. For example, in my novel, Dana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden, my protagonist starts with literally nothing. She is poor, hungry, abused, lacking acceptance, and living in a tar paper shack. In my novel, Aksinya: Enchantment and the Deamon, Aksinya starts with everything and ends the first chapter with her family dead, her life in ruins, and with a demon at her side.
The zero state and getting to it is a critical and key part of every novel. I can’t think of any entertaining novel that doesn’t use this type of development. It is fundamentally part of the telic flaw resolution. As illustrated by Star Bore, the hero state is just as important—let’s look at that next.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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