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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Writing - part x996 Writing a Novel, Writing Future

29 September 2019, Writing - part x996 Writing a Novel, Writing Future

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 websites
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

Fiction did not spring fully armed from the mind of Zeus.  It took a long time for human thought to really wrap around the concept of the empirical world and to realize there are concepts that are created from the minds of humans.

Let’s look more closely at this and what it means—the assumed present and the presumption of the future.  All science fiction writing presents the future.  It is assumed we are dealing with some disclosed or undisclosed future time.  In addition, all modern novels, or I should write most modern novels present the present as the setting of the novel. 

What I mean by that is that in a historical novel set in the 1400s, the setting of the novel, the presentation of the novel is not the past, but rather, the present is the setting time of the novel.  The novel unwinds in the present of the novel.  You might write, the novel unwinds in the event horizon of the times.  This is the way it is supposed to work. 

So, though I am writing a novel set last year, I write the novel as if the novel is unfolding in time but a year ago.  In the example of the 1400, I write the novel as if the novel is unfolding in time but six hundred years ago.  When I write science fiction, I write the novel as if it is unfolding in time, but in the future.  This is how almost all modern novels work.  In general, the concept of the narrative style or the journal style novel is dead.

Unfortunately, you find one or two of these every now and then.  Some are innocuous—they present the past tense of the novel and then go on within the present.  For example, Edgar Rice Burroughs in the Mars series, presents the first novels as a story given to the author in the past.  Luckily, this bridge into the narrative style is short and done.  These are painful to me, but short ad done is good.  Likewise, the pure journal style that you see in some novels just constantly reminds the reader that we aren’t seeing the unfolding of time, but a retelling of a past event or story.  Again, this is painful to modern readers and modern ideas. 

Back to science fiction.  The presumption of science fiction is we are writing about the disclosed or undisclosed future.  The reason this is important is because of the structure and revelation of many modern novels.  In novels that aren’t considered science fiction, we see a presumption of the future.  A great example of this is many Ayn Rand novels.  In her works, the novel takes place in some time just in the future of now.  Because she was writing in the first half to the middle of the 20th Century, some of her settings feel like they come out of the past, but the constant refrain of the novels is the near future when new ideas, things, and events are taking place. 

What is interesting about this is that Ayn Rand isn’t usually considered a science fiction author, but many of her novels have this presumption of the near future for their setting.  If we were totally honest, we might place her novels in the science fiction pile, but that is also hard to do, because we find many other novels with just this same feel.

I think we are seeing a blurring in literature of the presumption of the future.  In this, some novels that are not considered science fiction are presenting the presumption of a near future while some science fiction novels are presenting the presumption of the present, but a very different present than we might suppose.  Science fiction or not? 

I think we are seeing the evolution of the next stage of the novel.  It might be too early to pronounce it a fact, but I think we are seeing general literature moving to the presumption of some near future.  In fact, think about some of the modern favorites and bestsellers.  Harry Potty is set in some now or near future, but it isn’t the world we know.  It is the present, but not the present.  The shiny vampires live in some world of the now or near future.  When, we aren’t sure, but it is some time now.  The Hungry Games and all of the dystopian novels are set in some future.  That should make them automatically science fiction, but most of these aren’t considered science fiction at all, just dystopian. 

Thus, the next stage of the novel is likely third person past tense dialog style with a presumption of the future.  Sounds interesting.  Then how should we write?                

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, and my individual novel websites:

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