12 January 2020, Writing - part xx101 Writing a Novel, Creativity is Writing
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 make the catharsis.
Seventh – Write.
The development of ideas is based on study and research, but it is also based on creativity. Creativity is the extrapolation of older ideas to form new ones or to present old ideas in a new form. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect). Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.
Creativity is a conscious act of the mind. It is not an accident or fate. People develop ideas because they have put sometimes years of thought, sweat, and tears into their subject.
Creativity is writing and is caused by writing. Writing is not creativity decreasing as it is creativity increasing. Why else do you think creative writing teachers, professors, and coaches tell you to keep a journal?
Now, I’m not very enamored by most creative writing teachers, professors, and coaches. If they have something really published for which they received money, they might be qualified to teach creative writing to people who want to be writers. If they haven’t been paid for their writing, they are just hacks. You can’t expect any good teaching on writing from anyone who hasn’t proven their skills by being published. Not self-published, but published. I think this is very important, but most universities do not. I was inundated with professors and instructors who were supposed to be experts, but their expertise was only that a university was willing to hire them to teach writing.
To be very clear, if you aren’t published, how do we know you know how to write? Perhaps you could teach grammar to the grammar unaware or writing styles (as in style guides) or perhaps you could tell us what good books on writing tell us about writing, but I’m still wary. There are many books about writing that are not written by fiction writers.
Okay, enough of the soap box. You get my point. I literally didn’t not really learn much of anything about fiction writing from my university writing training. It wasn’t a total waste of time because they made you write, but it was not a very great learning time because it didn’t tell me anything new. It was a checkmark in the university requirements.
The best way to learn about writing, especially if you don’t have acceptable teachers, is to write. Now what is an acceptable teacher? Very simply, you need to find an author who has regularly published books, stories, articles, and papers. To be fair, many professional publications do not pay in cash money, they pay in copy. I’ll give that as credit. By the way, copy means copies of the magazine. In fact, most professional publications including peer reviewed scientific publications pay in copy. For that reason, if the teacher is teaching you how to write technical papers or short stories, I’ll go for paid in copy. On the other hand, books are not paid in copy.
After writing and having published over seventy technical papers, actually being paid for a few commercial pieces, having one novel partnered published, and six novels regularly published with two more on contract when my publisher went out of business, I think I can teach you about writing. I can also tell you, I’m still learning. In my blogs, I try to pass on to you what I have learned and what I am learning. At the same time, I’m still trying to get a new publisher. It is very difficult to find a new publisher especially if you are not the author of a best seller. I’m working hard trying to find a new publisher.
The most important step in creativity may be to just write. This begins another chapter in this discussion of creativity—notes, records, and documenting.
I need to get to the point of extrapolating creativity, and also finish the thought about event horizon and worldview.
The beginning of creativity is study and effort. We can use this to extrapolate to creativity. In addition, we need to look at recording ideas and working with ideas.
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