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Monday, January 6, 2020

Writing - part xx095 Writing a Novel, Ideas

6 January 2020, Writing - part xx095 Writing a Novel, Ideas

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

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 make the catharsis. 

Ideas come out of thoughts.  The point of all of the above is to produce and focus thoughts.  These thoughts become ideas for telic flaws and protagonists.  There are some other sources you can mine for ideas, but I do want to be clear.  Ideas are always clear and cogent.  They might require refinement.  They may not come complete.  They require nurturing.  They are never drug induced.

There is a view by some that drugs and alcohol can help develop and bring new ideas.  I think this is not just false, but rather it is destructive to ideas.  If you think you can develop ideas in a drug induced haze, I know you would have ten times the number of ideas if you had a clear mind.  If a drug induced haze produced great ideas, the people in hospice care or in the hospital would be producing all kinds of great literature and science.  The reality is that drugs and alcohol cloud your mind and block ideas.  I have never known a great scientist who came up with a scientific idea while in a drug induced haze.  Likewise, in writers, I’ve never known an effective writer who was a druggy or an alcoholic.  I have known of many authors who destroyed their writing careers through drugs and alcohol.  The drugs and alcohol didn’t produce their success, it led to their ruin.

So get the idea of the alcoholic author or artist as a success out of your mind.  You won’t produce anything worthwhile.  If you haven’t heard this before, too bad.  It’s the truth.  By the way, most accounts about writers and artists as druggies and alcoholics are either exaggerated or false.  Most promoted by their unsuccessful competition.

So how do you produce ideas?  Look at the list I already gave you.  Use your mind.  Your mind is what ideas are all about.  A damaged, confused, or hazy mind will not produce good ideas.  I will note that I have generated really great ideas in dreams, just before I slept, or on waking up.  Obviously, these are usually times when I and most people are in a completely clear and focused mind.  Perhaps a relaxed mind, but not a fuzzy mind.  The point is that when I get these ideas I write them down.

Other places where I get great ideas is when I am reading, listening to a lecture or talk, studying, just thinking.  You need to be ready for these ideas and have a tool to record them.  I always have a small record book to write down long ideas.  For shorter ideas, I put them in my iPhone.  The point is to not lose any ideas.

Recording ideas and working ideas.     
    
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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