2 January 2020, Writing - part xx091 Writing a Novel, Filling Up
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.
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
Ideas. We need ideas. Ideas allow us to figure out the protagonist and the telic flaw. Ideas don’t come fully armed from the mind of Zeus. We need to cultivate ideas.
First of all, if you are writing novels, you need to read novels. The first point of discovering ideas is to read, read the classics, and read what you like.
Second, fill your mind with good stuff—basically the stuff you want to write about. When I wrote good, I mean good. From a novel standpoint that would be great novels and entertaining novels in your genre. At the same time, I also mean good novels outside your genre.
Third, you need to know what will build ideas in your mind and what will kill ideas in your mind. Let’s be very clear. If you are doing something now, and ideas aren’t coming—then it isn’t working for you. I’m a classicist, I know what brings great thoughts into the minds of men and women. I do know there are some people who can generate ideas using popular motifs, but what kinds of ideas can they be? You won’t get Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, Dahl, or even Harry Potty ideas from popular culture. I’m not certain you can grow great ideas in popular culture—by the time it is popular culture, it’s nothing buy common, and the common bird don’t sing. By that I mean, you can’t get novels published if they are not something new, different, and unique.
New, different, and unique do not come out of popular culture. Then where do we find it? You must look at anything that is the opposite of popular culture. For example, classical music is not a part of popular culture. You can’t hear it on the average radio program unless you are on PBS or the rare non-popular culture radio. What is amazing is that the government pays for unpopular music to be played at the public’s expense. The market would never accommodate it. If you want to start filling your mind with ideas, begin with the opposite of popular culture.
Thus, listen to plays, watch ballets, listen to classical music, listen and go to operas—these are all the rarified idea factories which produce great ideas. The great authors didn’t become great by reflecting bars, honky-tonks, and pool halls. Some have mistakenly attributed literature to these wonderful establishments, but the reality was the authors were looking in and not looking out.
So third, fill your mind with the timeless. The Beatles, Who, and Three Dog Night will one day be forgotten or only remembered in elevator music, Chopin and Mozart will never be elevator music. Many plays will be forgotten, operas will likely never be. The bouncy girls and boys on music TV will never be seen again, but The Nutcracker will be playing for eternity near Christmas. If you haven’t tasted these great human pieces of art, you are and continue to miss some of the greatest creations of the human mind. That’s why they cultivate ideas.
Next, fourth, study and ideas.
I am looking at using the kathartic method to get ideas for a protagonist and a telic flaw.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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