16 January 2019, Writing - part x740, Writing a Novel, Power of Settings, Thanksgiving Example
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: Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel? I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together. We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing.
You must have a protagonist and an antagonist. You may have a protagonist’s helper. Then there are other characters. Let’s talk about characters in general and then specifically.
I’ve been writing about choosing and developing protagonists who are interesting and entertaining to your readers. Readers like characters who they can intellectually identify with. These are the characters who appeal to them. If there is no intellectual connection, there is usually no connection. We saw this by the many characters whom readers can’t share any or many characteristics, but the characters still appeal.
For Christmas, I gave you scenes from my writing that were set during Christmas. I hope this was enlightening and entertaining to you. I just wanted to entertain you for the Christmas season. I also wanted to show you how important real events and settings are to novels.
There are three ways to create a setting or a world: real, reflected, and created.
A real worldview comes directly from the real world. A reflected worldview comes from a historical and real basis but from a fictional or mythic basis. A created worldview is developed from a real base, but is either fantasy or futuristic.
Here is a scene during Thanksgiving from Khione: Enchantment and the Fox. The point is to show you again how a holiday can be incorporated into a novel.
On Friday morning, Pearce was up very early. He shook Khione awake and put a glass of milk in her hand. She almost spilled it when she rolled back over. He shook her awake again. Finally, with a very little look of comprehension from Khione, Pearce stated, “Get up and get dressed. I’ll buy you some eggs on the way.”
“Really,” she stared at him. “The sun isn’t up.”
“The sun is barely up when you go to work every day.”
“But at least it’s up.”
“You’re a fox. Aren’t foxes nocturnal?”
“Not at all, “I just hunt at night because it’s easier.”
“You are a lazy fox…”
She smiled at that, but she stood and went to the bathroom. After a while, she came back out naked and began putting on her clothes.
Pearce turned away from her and shook his head. Nothing he could say would make any difference to her and she probably wouldn’t understand right now anyway. Khione fumbled around for a while until Pearce came to her rescue. She had on the underwear correctly, but she got lost in her shirt and couldn’t figure out her pants. He made her put on a sweater too. Finally, he made her sit and drink her milk. They put on their coats. He picked up her bag and set it on her shoulders, and they headed out the door.
The moment they got on the subway Greenline at the BU East station, Khione perked up. She suddenly came completely alive. She knelt on the seat and watched everything go by. She didn’t stop making happy animal noises until they came to a stop at each station. When the subway started up again, so did she. If the train hadn’t been almost empty, Pearce would have said something, but they were headed to the harbor and at this time of day, most people were traveling outbound.
“Pearce look,” she cried.
Pearce shushed her.
She jumped up and down on her knees with her nose against the window glass. “Pearce, can I open the window?”
“No, don’t even try.” His eyes were closed.
At Government Central station they caught the Blueline and exited the subway at the Aquarium station. They walked south from the station until they ended at Rowes Warf. Pearce just had time to buy their tickets and get them both a couple of egg and sausage sandwiches before the commuter ship was about to leave. That’s when the problems began.
Khione froze a step from the gangplank, “Pearce, I can’t do it. I didn’t know we would go on water. I’m a being of the forest not of the water. Please, Pearce. I can’t go.”
Pearce didn’t know what to do. There was a line of people behind him. It was a short line, but a line nonetheless. Khione wouldn’t move a step forward. He picked her up in his arms and carried her onto the small ship. Khione gave a squeak, put her unusually cold nose against his neck, and pressed her small body against him.
When he found a spot to sit, she wouldn’t let go. Pearce tried to unwrap her from his neck, but she wouldn’t budge. Every time the ship lurched, she grabbed tighter.
“Come on, Khione. Let go. It isn’t that bad.”
She made a very forlorn sound, “They’ll come to get me on the seas. It’s not safe for me there.”
“For goodness sakes. How did you get to America? Surely you went on a ship.”
The distain was evident in her voice, “I flew just like everyone else. There’s no way I’d put myself on a boat… in the water—it’s not safe.”
“I’m right here. I’ll make sure you are safe.”
She held a little tighter, “Are you sure. Will you help keep a look out?”
“Sure I will.”
“If you’ll watch for them—then everything should be okay.”
“What should I do if I see them?”
Khione shivered, “Tell the boat master to go to shore…immediately.”
“What am I supposed to be looking for?”
“Nerieds—sea nymphs. They live in the oceans. They hate the creatures of the woodland and hearth.”
Pearce rolled his eyes, but Khione loosened her hold a little. She wasn’t choking him any longer. Pearce kept a watch on the brilliant water of the bay, but he didn’t see anything to alarm him. The fast little boat took them across the bay and south to Hingham. They pulled into Hewit’s Cove about an hour later. Khione was still pressed tightly against Pearce. The moment the boat bumped against the dock, Khione was on her feet. Pearce held tightly to her hand, but she hauled him up with unexpected strength and pushed her way toward the front of the small crowd. They beat all the other passengers off the vessel. Khione dragged him all the way down the dock and didn’t slow down until they were safe on the concrete pier. She stopped and caught her breath, but she didn’t let go of Pearce’s hand.
A burst of laughter caught them both by surprise. Khione glanced around fearfully. Pearce shook his head, “Hi, Dad.”
A tall man who looked like an older version of Pearce pulled his pipe out of his mouth and laughed out loud. He was gray haired and athletic looking. His eyes crinkled in a very pleasant way. He stared at Khione as he grasped Pearce’s hand and gave Pearce a long hug. That’s when Khione realized she didn’t hold Pearce’s hand anymore. Khione moved slightly behind Pearce.
The man, obviously Pearce’s father moved to get a better view of Khione, “Hi.” He let go of Pearce and held his hand out to Khione, “I’m Paul Wimund, Pearce’s father. I’m glad to finally meet one of Pearce’s college friends.”
Khione moved warily and slowly toward Mr. Wimund. She sniffed as she came closer to him. Pearce took her hand and placed it in his father’s, “Just shake his hand Khione. He won’t bite.”
Mr. Wimund laughed again, “I might. You can’t always tell by looking.”
Pearce look a little exasperated, “Khione, this is my father, Mr. Wimund.”
“Paul’s good enough.”
Khione tried to pull her hand back, but Mr. Wimund held it tightly, “I’m glad to meet you, Khione…” He glanced at Pearce for some further information.
Pearce continued, “She’s Khione Teumesios. She’s a good friend of mine, and I thought she would like to visit with us this weekend.”
Mr. Wimund smiled more broadly, if that was possible, “When Pearce said he was bringing home a friend for the long weekend, I thought…”
Khione raised her head a little, “You thought?”
“Well I didn’t expect a beautiful young woman. You’re a student at the university? You don’t look like you’re out of high school.”
Pearce was a little flustered, “Khione is much older than she looks. She’s in my graduate classes. She’s from Greece and doesn’t understand our culture well yet.”
Mr. Wimund shook her hand again—he hadn’t let go of it, “Very good. She must be a bright young woman. Welcome. May I take your bags?” He finally let go of her hand.
Khione grasped the shoulder straps of her bag. She stared at Mr. Wimund warily.
“Okay, that’s all right.” Mr. Wimund turned slightly and pointed to an older automobile at the edge of the pier. “Let’s head home. Mom has breakfast cooking, and I’m sure Pearce didn’t eat breakfast yet.”
Khione stated, “Pearce bought me breakfast before we got on the boat.” She wrinkled her nose when she said boat.
Mr. Wimund turned back abruptly, “Really? He did.” He stared at Pearce, “That’s certainly not like him at all. Well…let’s go. I’m ready for breakfast.”
Khione licked her lips, “I’m always ready for breakfast.”
Mr. Wimund smiled again. They climbed in the car. Pearce opened the back door for Khione. Mr. Wimund’s brow lifted at that. Pearce got into the front passenger’s side.
Mr. Wimund started the car and put it into gear, “Fasten your seatbelts.” He glanced back at Khione.
Khione stared back at him.
“Could you fasten your seatbelt? I’m not so keen on it either, but it’s a state law.”
Khione stared at him, “I don’t know how.”
Pearce put his hand over his face, “I forgot.” Mr. Wimund put the car into park, and Pearce opened his door. Pearce opened the back door and showed Khione how to put on the seatbelt and buckled it for her.”
He closed her door and got back into the front. When Mr. Wimund began to back, Pearce asked Khione, “How did you fly here? You had to put on a seat belt in the plane.”
She shrugged, “There were no seats on the plane I flew in.”
Mr. Wimund didn’t look concerned at all, “That is definitely a story I would like to hear.”
Khione pressed her nose against the window, “This is the first time I’ve been in a vehicle like this. I’ve seen them all over the city.”
Mr. Wimund almost choked, “The first time…?”
Pearce rolled his eyes, “She’s from a backward part of Greece.”
Khione wrinkled her nose, “Is that a sin? I’m from Atheni. That’s not so backward.”
Mr. Wimund laughed so hard he had to slow the car as he turned onto Shipyard Drive. He almost came to a stop, “Really, Pearce, it’s not so backward not to have been in a car. I lived in Boston almost my whole life and didn’t get into a car for a long time. I didn’t own one until your mother and I moved out here. By the way Khione, what sin?”
“Did Pearce lie when he said I was from a backward place?”
Mr. Wimund couldn’t hold back his laughter, “For Pearce, that’s probably a sin, but it’s not much of one.”
“Oh!” Khione’s face became thoughtful. “I need to know about sin, to understand—I’m just learning about it.”
Mr. Wimund turned Pearce a very strange look, “Really, and Pearce is your teacher? About sin?”
Pearce ran his fingers thought his hair, “Dad, don’t put any odd ideas in Khione’s head. Khione, change the subject. I’m trying to help my father understand about you.”
“Then shouldn’t you tell him the truth about me?”
“In time, perhaps. We can talk when we get to the house.”
“Okay,” Khione shrugged and pouted.
“Okay,” Mr. Wimund shrugged and pouted.
“Really, you both are so immature sometimes.”
“I don’t see it like that at all,” Khione and Mr. Wimund seemed to say at the same time.
They all settled into an uncomfortable silence.
Mr. Wimund turned left onto Lincoln Street. It became Broad Cove Road. He turned left when Broad Cove became Otis. He turned right onto a house drive. A single story Cape Cod house sat at the end. The house had a porch on three sides that was shielded by the overhang of the roof. The front door was off the drive with a small grass lawn. The lawn surrounded the front of the house until it ran into a large neat garden on the left side. The house had a separate garage. Mr. Wimund stopped short of the garage and parked the car.
He got out, and Pearce helped Khione unbuckle her seatbelt and get out of the car. She had a puzzled look on her face as she stepped out, “Why do you wear a seatbelt? Isn’t it better to be able to move around? I like to...”
Mr. Wimund’s mouth twitched like he was about to laugh. He turned to Pearce, “I’ll leave that to you. No lies and no sin.”
Pearce scowled, “You wear a seatbelt in case of an accident. It would prevent you from being hurt.”
“Ah,” Khione thought a bit.
Pearce began to follow his father into the house. Khione hurried to catch up.
Mr. Wimund opened the front door for them. He called out, “Hi, Momma, I’ve got Pearce and his lady friend, Khione.”
Pearce and Khione entered the house. They shed their backpacks and Mr. Wimund placed them on the floor. They pulled off their coats and Paul hung them on a rack by the door. The front door entered directly into a greatroom. It was comfortably filled with overstuffed leather furniture with a fireplace on the left. The furniture was situated with the fireplace at their center. Knickknacks and artwork covered the walls and filled shelves and the side tables. There wasn’t too much to give a cluttered look, and not too little to give a barren feel. It was just comfortable. The greatroom opened directly at the back to a large kitchen and dining area. The smell of cooking bacon wafted to them. Khione leaned forward and took a long sniff.
Mrs. Wimund ran from the kitchen with a hand towel still clasped in her fingers. She was also gray haired and athletic. Her face looked slightly worn, but still full of energy. She seemed slightly out of place with an apron covering bike pants and a t-top Nike shirt. Mrs. Wimund grabbed Pearce around the neck and hugged him. She kissed his cheek and pulled back, “You don’t come back enough Pearce. We missed you.”
Pearce shrugged, “I’ve been busy.”
Mrs. Wimund pushed Pearce away, “Too busy for your mother and father.” She smiled then turned her glance toward Khione. “Now, this is a surprise.”
Khione tried to take a fast step back behind Pearce. Khione moved quickly, not as quickly as she could move, but Mrs. Wimund moved quicker. She laughed and grabbed Khione by the wrist and pulled her into her arms. Khione resisted half heartedly, Mrs. Wimund held tighter. She pinned Khione’s arms and pressed Khione’s face against her shoulder. Pearce stepped back a little. Mr. Wimund gave a laugh. Mrs. Wimund squeezed Khione a little closer and breathed, “I am so glad Pearce brought you to see us. I was worried he hadn’t made any normal acquaintances. I am so glad to meet you. At first I was a little repulsed by your presence. I wonder about that. Do you love Pearce or does Pearce love you?”
Pearce cried out, “Mother!”
Mrs. Wimund didn’t release Khione. She lifted her face over Khione’s head and stared at Pearce, “There is no other reason to bring a young woman here. You don’t come to visit us and when you do, you bring this delightful person.”
Khione’s tear-filled voice came muffled from Mrs. Wimund’s shoulder, “How do you know I’m a delightful person.”
Mrs. Widmund pressed her closer, “Of course you are delightful or Pearce wouldn’t give you a single moment of his time.”
Khione sniffed, “Is that true?”
“Of course it’s true, but now I know you love Pearce.”
“I love Pearce.”
Mrs. Wimund held Khione tighter, “Pearce, do you love this woman?”
“Stop it mother,” Pearce sounded more angry than Khione remembered. “You don’t understand this situation at all.”
Mrs. Wimund scowled, “Well excuse me for being perceptive.” She slowly let Khione loose.
Khione didn’t let go. She held tightly to Mrs. Wimund, “I’m not crying.”
“Of course you aren’t crying. Let’s have breakfast.”
“Mother, you haven’t even been introduced.”
Mrs. Wimund pressed Khione’s face more tightly against her shoulder, “I’m Allison and you are…?”
“That’s a lovely name, Khione. Are you ready to face breakfast, Khione?”
Khione’s voice came muffled from Allison’s shoulder, “Not yet.”
“I understand. Pearce, Paul, go to the kitchen and check the bacon. I think I smell it burning.”
Pearce didn’t move at first. Mr. Wimund took his arm and pulled him toward the kitchen.
Allison gently pushed Khione to arms length and held her, “Are you all right Khione?”
Khione wouldn’t look at her, “I didn’t cry.” She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand.
“Of course not,” She pulled Khione close again and released her. “Let’s have breakfast.”
“Yes,” Khione smiled, “I like breakfast very much.”
Allison took Khione by the wrist and pulled her toward the kitchen. Before they got there, she stopped and pulled a Kleenex out of the box. She placed it against Khione’s nose and commanded, “Blow.”
Khione gave a half-hearted blow.
Khione gave a big snort.
Allison kissed her forehead, “Feel better?”
“Yeah. A little.”
“Good.” Allison grabbed Khione’s wrist again and tugged her into the dining room. The wall opposite the greatroom was a large bay window that overlooked a saltwater cove. The seas were calm with almost no waves. Khione stared at the window glass between her and the ocean and smiled a very bright smile. Allison sat Khione at the head of the table. It was at the end of a long table that backed against the bay window. She didn’t sit quietly. She kept turning around in the seat to look out at the ocean.
Allison went back to her bacon. Paul and Pearce had already pulled it out of the pan and onto a plate covered with a paper towel. Allison poured some of the bacon grease into another pan and put some more bacon on to cook. She called out, “Khione, how do you like your eggs?”
Khione spoke without thinking, “Raw…but, but I’ll eat them fried.”
“Fried and juicy—right.”
“Yes,” Khione sounded like she was drooling.
Allison continued, “Khione, what kind of toast do you like?”
Pearce spoke quietly, “She doesn’t eat toast.”
“Really?” Allison turned toward the table.
Khione answered, “Yes, really. I don’t eat it.”
Allison smiled, “No reason to be apologetic. We all have our preferences.”
Khione gave a tight smile and sighed.
Allison took a deep breath, “Here,…Khione, you can have whatever you wish. You don’t have to apologize for anything.”
“Mother,” Pearce placed his hands on his hips. He sat at the table and turned his chair toward Khione, “Listen Khione. My mother is a psychiatrist. More than that, she is a teacher of psychiatrists. She thinks she can evaluate a person just by looking at them.”
“It takes more than just looking, but that’s part of it,” Allison called from the kitchen.
Khione turned her head, “She is very good at it—like a soothsayer.”
Allison laughed, “Yes, like a soothsayer.”
“Khione, my mother is not a soothsayer. She makes guesses about a person by observing their behavior. It’s like a trick.”
“It’s a trick?”
Allison called out, “It is not a trick. It is a skill.”
Khione glanced quickly between Pearce and his mother. She put her hands over her face, “I’m not sure what to think right now.”
Pearce took Khione’s hand. She smiled. Pearce looked in her eyes, “I don’t want you to be confused, Khione. Take a deep breath and just ignore anything she says. If it bothers you, forget it. If it makes you feel good, remember it.”
Allison brought a couple of heaping plates to the table. She pushed Pearce to the side with her hip and placed the plates on the table, “Be a dear, Pearce and set the table. Khione first.”
Pearce was defiant for just a moment then he moved quickly to get the plates and the silver.
Allison took Khione’s hands in hers, “I know you liked it much better when Pearce was holding your hands. He hasn’t done that often, has he?”
Khione shook her head.
Pearce plopped the plates and silver on the table, “I heard every bit of that.”
Khione scrunched her nose, “But what she said is true. You haven’t held my hands very many times. I really like it when you do.”
Allison didn’t look at Pearce, “Just set the table—the food is getting cold.”
Pearce and Paul set the table.
Allison kept hold of Khione’s hands, “This is the first time Pearce ever brought his girlfriend home.”
Khione looked to the side, “I’m not really his girlfriend.”
“Really?” Allison’s face showed she was shocked.
Pearce sat down across from his mother, “Really.”
“Then what is your relationship?”
Khione smiled a little, “I live with Pearce, and I am trying to seduce him. He is my project.”
Paul’s mouth fell open.
Pearce began to fill his plate.
Allison grasped Khione’s hands more tightly, “Halleluiah! A straight talking woman. And you are living with Pearce?”
Allison turned her head slightly toward Pearce, “Pearce, why don’t you say something?”
Pearce’s mouth was full of egg and bacon, “There is nothing to say at the moment.”
Allison gave Khione a second look, “There is a lot to say at the moment, but for now, let’s eat.” She released Khione’s hands and pushed Khione’s plate closer to her. She handed the platter of eggs to Khione, “Serve yourself, Khione.”
Pearce looked up from his food, “One moment. Khione, take two eggs from the serving plate and place them on your plate.”
Khione used her fingers. She was drooling a little. When she reached for the eggs with her hand, Pearce ordered, “Stop.”
Khione placed her hands in her lap.
Pearce spooned a couple of eggs onto her plate. He pushed the plate of bacon toward her, “Take a couple of pieces of bacon and put them on your plate.”
Khione tweaked a couple of pieces onto her plate. She growled a little, “Hot.” And stuck her fingers in her mouth. A look of ecstasy covered her features.
Pearce continued, “Use your fork to eat the eggs and the bacon.”
Khione pouted, but saliva was running down the side of her chin. She picked up the fork and clumsily shuffled an egg using her fingers and the fork into her mouth. A piece of bacon went the same way.
Pearce whispered, “Don’t eat so fast. Chew it all before you take another bite.”
Egg yolk and bacon bits joined the saliva on her chin.
Pearce made a sign for her to wipe her face.
She used her fingers to rake everything back into her mouth.
Paul and Allison watched all this from the sides of their eyes. To their credit they didn’t say anything then.
Sorry it is so long. I’ve not given you this piece before, and I don’t think I’ve put up much from this novel. This is obviously a discovery novel with a very great twist. The point is that Pearce is bringing Khione home for Thanksgiving. The point should not be lost on anyone.
I’ll pass you the scene next.
More on this weekends, weeks, months, and why Christmas is an expression of the real world.
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