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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Writing - part x970 Writing a Novel, Writing and Thought

3 September 2019, Writing - part x970 Writing a Novel, Writing and Thought

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 websites 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
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:  Deirdre and Sorcha are redirected to French finishing school where they discover difficult mysteries, people, and events. 

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. 

To start a novel, I picture an initial scene.  I may start from a protagonist or just launch into mental development of an initial scene.  I get the idea for an initial scene from all kinds of sources.  To help get the creative juices flowing, let’s look at the initial scene. 

1.     Meeting between the protagonist and the antagonist or the protagonist’s helper
2.     Action point in the plot
3.     Buildup to an exciting scene
4.     Indirect introduction of the protagonist

The protagonist is the novel and the initial scene.  If you look at the four basic types of initial scenes, you see the reflection of the protagonist in each one.  If you noticed my examples yesterday, I expressed the scene idea, but none were completely independent of the protagonist.  Indeed, in most cases, I get an idea with a protagonist.  The protagonist is incomplete, but a sketch to begin with.  You can start with a protagonist, but in my opinion, as we see above, the protagonist is never completely independent from the initial scene.  As the ideas above imply, we can start with the characters, specifically the protagonist, antagonist or protagonist’s helper, and develop an initial scene. 

Let’s look at a subject that is really ignored in the modern era.  I’m not certain how much this can help your current writing.  I would argue that theoretically, this subject can really help those who write historical and futuristic fiction.  It depends on how your write your historical and futuristic fiction.  There are two ways to write historical fiction—let’s look at this.

The first and most common way to write historical fiction is to write a novel that projects modern ideas and history as historical ideas and history.  In other words to present modern ideas and historical ideas as the same.  I think this is perhaps the most egregious and perverse means of presenting a false view of history.  The author is either completely ignorant of the past, is intentionally attempting to education people in a false view of history, or both.  The real historical world is very different both culturally and socially from our current world.  The true author attempts to convey this in historical writing.

The second and less common means of historical writing is to actually incorporate the past into a novel to convey the actual way people thought and acted in the past.  This approach actually goes back into time to give a complete view of the way the people thought and acted.  To this end, let’s look at how the world changed and how people thought in the past.  This is more of a historical look at the world for the purpose of understanding how the world worked in the past and how people thought and acted.  We’ll use historical information to see what concerned affected their lives. Here is a list of potential issues.  We’ll look at them in detail:

1.   Vocabulary
2.   Ideas
3.   Social construction
4.   Culture
5.   Politics
6.   History
7.   Language
8.   Common knowledge
9.   Common sense
10. Reflected culture
11. Reflected history
12. Reflected society
13. Truth
14. Food
15. Money
16. Weapons and warfare
17. Transportation
18. Communication
19. Writing
20. Education

Gnosticism is the major religion of the modern secular world.  The way modern people think is based almost exclusively in Gnosticism.  This isn’t a good thing.  Gnosticism is the idea that knowledge is the greatest power in the world, and that through knowledge that humans can become like God or gods. 

We are living in the Gnostic world.  With the invention of the three means to know truth, the first and most important question that the educated asked was, “Can we prove God.”  Philosophy and science (logic and the scientific method) have proven God must exist.

You might ask, what about the historical-legal method and God.  The answer to this is very simple, but it requires more explanation than a paragraph.  Perhaps the most important idea to understand at this point is that the history of human thought is and was driven by deeply held religious ideas.  This is as true in the age of Gnosticism as it was in the other evolutions of religion.

Let’s look back at the historical-legal method.  We use this method to prove truth in history—nonrepeating and nonrepeatable events.  The way we do this is through evidence.  In history, the greatest evidence we have is writing.  Secondary evidence can be found in archeology.  Let’s look at written evidence.  The historical-legal method gets its name from the proof of history and a primary witness.  the use of the method in legal proceedings and in proving history.  We apply the historical-legal method in history in a very similar manner to the method used in a court of law.  In history, however, we accept some evidence that courts usually don’t.  In history and in a court of law, you have primary witnesses, secondary witnesses (hearsay), and tertiary witnesses.  In history, most ascribe primary witness only to those who were actual eye witnesses to an event.  The record of this eye witness is called a primary witness.  In a court of law, this is usually the only witness allowed. 

In history and in a court, we also have secondary witnesses.  In court, these are called hearsay witnesses, and are usually not permitted.  In history, there is some disagreement on what can be called a secondary witness.  The least permissive allows only a direct report from a primary witness to be called secondary.  The most permissive allows any nonprimary report.  The least permissive would only allow, for example, a biography with direct quotes, or a news story with direct access to the witness.  Thus, when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by the Sothern Democrats, the account of his wife, who was sitting beside him, is considered a primary witness.  The story written by the reporter who interviewed Mrs. Lincoln is considered a secondary witness.  This is great history, but the account is hearsay.  Likewise Mrs. Lincoln’s biography is a secondary witness.  Her autobiography is a primary witness.

Then you have tertiary witness.  This is anything that is not primary or secondary.  We normally consider history books to be tertiary.  This is why histories not written in the primary period of the events are considered tertiary.  This is also why historians don’t use tertiary witnesses.  Historians use primary sources first, secondary third, and only when absolutely necessary, tertiary sources.   

Also in history, a historian trusts a primary source before any secondary or tertiary source.  Thus, the hierarchy of sources is primary, secondary, and tertiary.  Every primary source trumps any secondary or tertiary source.  This is just like a court of law. 

Now, there are some cases where historians have demoted sources because they could be proven with other primary sources to be either secondary or fabrications.  If you notice, this immediately takes them out of the running as historical sources, or it moves their acceptance as a source to one of the lower categories.  This is very rare, so rare, I can’t think of a single notable instance.  Wait, I thought of one.

Margret Mead’s primary source document Coming of Age in Samoa, is still considered a primary source, but her records of her subjects were demoted to tertiary due to the fact her subjects lied to her.  Greenfield in his critic of Coming of Age in Samoa noted that the historical records of the time did not support what Mead had claimed.  What Greenfield found was that Mead misunderstood the oriental qualities of the society she tried to study.  She approached her subjects from her own cultural viewpoint, and they lied to her.  They told her exactly what she wanted to hear.  This is a characteristic of many similar cultures, and one she missed.  Thus anyone studying her works needs to keep this in mind—any good historian will.

Now, about God and the historical-legal method.  Let’s see.         

More tomorrow.

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

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