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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Writing - part xx003 Writing a Novel, Universal Literacy

6 October 2019, Writing - part xx003 Writing a Novel, Universal Literacy

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

Education is everything in terms of writing and especially writing novels.  If you remember, really before universal literacy, the novel didn’t have a chance.  Just like every great innovation or invention, the development of an entertainment market caused the novel to be created and to make its mark on human history.

Then came universal literacy.  I mentioned this in the writing section, but it is important to remember that universal literacy was propelled by two events in the Western world.  First, the invention of the novel, and second combined with the reduction in the costs of paper.  The costs of paper went down because of the availability of cotton fiber.  Cotton fiber was available because of cotton rags.  Cotton rags became available because people started wearing underwear during the middle of the Enlightenment. 

Thus as we exited the Age of Enlightenment and entered the Industrial Era and the Victorian Era, books were cheap and the age of books as entertainment had begun.  If you remember, I noted that the average literate family taught their children to read within a day, a week at the most.  The characteristic of the literate was that they owned a book.  The book most owned was the Bible.  The first book bought by people as the price of paper, and therefore books, came down was the Bible.  Every family strove to purchase a Bible and every family learned to read and read the Bible.  This means that nearly every person at the time was either literate or strove to literacy.  We had entered the age of universal literacy.

We see this in literature from the time.  Nearly every child and every person from the poorest to the wealthiest could read.  They read the Bible first and then they picked up every novel they could.  Reading was ubiquitous and the desire to read books was ubiquitous.  The availability of literature turned from ability to read to finding books to read, and the books became cheaper and cheaper.  Penny novels became the soul of the poor, middle class, and young ladies of wealth who were looking for excitement and love.  Not to say there was anything really puerile or naughty in any of these penny novels, but they were considered a lower form of entertainment. 

Novels were entertainment and entertaining, and peoples greatly desired this form of entertainment.  Literacy didn’t guaranty education, but it made education possible for even the least favored in society.  The Romantic Era came about directly because of this sudden realization that the poor could compete with the wealthy and the noble in education. 

In the Victorian Era, the presumption was that the noble and the wealthy were born to assume their positions and that those who were not of favored birth could never compete or achieve at the same level.  Of course, I think you should note, the nobles allowed the wealthy into their club because the wealthy trounced them in the education department—the concept of nobility already was dealt a death-blow when the newly wealthy broke down the education doors and the nobility couldn’t compete.  Then the poor began attending the schools that once catered only to the noble and wealthy.

When the poor started achieving at the same rate as the noble and wealthy, everyone could see it wasn’t breeding that mattered.  Sure good genes was always a good thing, but hard work and perspiration could result in achievements greater than anything the wealthy or the noble could do.  In fact, in the USA, you found the poor achieving wealth and success that was greater in many cases than anything the Victorians achieved.  This was called the American Dream.  It is a Romantic Era dream.  It is a dream that was impossible in the Victorian Era.  Suddenly, the nobles and the wealthy didn’t want the bad habits of the poor or newly rich to influence their children or world.  In addition, governments took note of the success of the poor in education.         

The nobility and the wealthy wanted to remove the competition.  The governments saw a problem that the poor might reach the levels expected only of the noble and the wealthy.  There was a crisis of class caused by universal literacy.  This became a problem looking for a solution.  The next great change was the age of universal education in the West.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, 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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