16 October 2018, Writing - part x648, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Topics
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).
Characters are the focus of entertainment and the plot, but other parts of a novel can help drive entertainment. As we are discussing, the suspension of disbelief is about entertaining. If you can hold your readers in a state of entertainment, you can usually hold them in a suspension of disbelief. The point is to hold your readers in a suspension of disbelief. A powerful topic can help hold readers in the suspension of disbelief and a powerful topic can increase the entertainment potential of any novel.
I’m not an advocate of writing by topic. For example, I advise against writing using popular topics such as vampires, zombies, werewolves, witches, the end of the world, climate issues, and a host of other ideas from the headlines or popular literature. There is nothing wrong with picking an exciting and entertaining topic, and there is nothing wrong with picking a popular modern topic—the point is to pick a topic that you can write about and that is entertaining.
An entertaining topic will go a long way to holding your readers in the suspension of disbelief. Just look at Harry Potty. The characters are pretty lackluster. The plots are kind of dead. The settings are wonderful and the topic is really exciting to many readers.
How about vampires? For some reason vampires, werewolves, and zombies have become a popular topic. A creative spin on these characters and this type of topic can be really entertaining. I have written about vampires and werewolves as a topic and as a side topic. I think they are entertaining.
What excites and entertains readers? A look at modern novels and genres can help us get an idea, but the real measure is you. The problem with writing based on topics is that unless the topic is exciting to the writer, the chances of conveying that excitement to the readers will be difficult to impossible. This is why I don’t recommend writing to a topic.
The way to approach a topic is to find one that is interesting to you. This is akin to writing what you know. We know that writing about what you know is pretty bogus—how does a science fiction author write about what they know when the subject is in the far future? Or how does a historical writer write about the ancient world that they have never seen? The answer is simple—it is study. What you know isn’t Anne of Green Gables. What you know is what you have studied. It helps if you have lived it in some fashion, but life is about what you think along with what you do or experience.
So about topics. What are exciting topics to you? I find the supernatural my intellectual prowling ground. I study about it, and I write about it. My characters are humans and those who come out of myth. I find this topic entertaining and I hope to convey my excitement through my writing so that my readers will be entertained and held in a suspension of disbelief.
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