5 January 2020, Writing - part xx094 Writing a Novel, Fill’em 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 write 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.
Forth, it is all about study.
Fifth, teaching builds ideas.
Sixth—fill up your mind, then wait for the catharsis. The Greeks, and specifically Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle believed that when you filled your mind with art, plays, music, thought, symposia, thinking, and study that at some point great ideas would begin to pour uncontrollably from your mind. I’m not so sure. I’m sure great ideas will come, but I think you have to incite the gag reflex a little.
A catharsis from the kathartic method means your mind will overflow with ideas, so many ideas you will need a bucket to clean it up. As I noted, I don’t think this is as automatic as the Greeks presented it. It’s the environment.
The Greeks were not necessarily in a rarified environment, but their days were spent in contemplation, symposia, and study. If your time is completely enveloped in contemplation, symposia, and study, you will indeed begin to regurgitate or gurgitate new ideas automatically. If you are a slug, nothing will be automatic.
What I mean is this—the development of ideas comes because you are seeking them. If you aren’t actively seeking ideas you won’t get them. In fact, you might not realize you have one if it whirls through your brain. The process of seeking ideas involves the doing and thinking I indicated above, one through five, but the implication in each of these areas is you are thinking.
Thinking is what it is about. Each of the methods for filling your mind above are all about thinking. The implication is you are thinking. I could have just written, you need to think, but sitting in front of the boob tube is not thinking. Study, teaching, reading, thinking, filling, all these concepts are about thinking. Developing ideas is all about thinking. All these ideas I’ve been giving you are about thinking. However, if I wrote, just think to develop ideas without any focus or ideas how, it would make no impression at all on you. It would be worthless to you.
In every case, it’s all about thinking, and thinking about the right stuff. Perhaps I can give you some more direct sources about where to get 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:
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic