2 February 2020, Writing - part xx122 Writing a Novel, more Tension and Release in Scenes
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.
1. Read novels.
2. Fill your mind with good stuff—basically the stuff you want to write about.
3. Figure out what will build ideas in your mind and what will kill ideas in your mind.
6. Make the catharsis.
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.
If creativity, especially in writing, is caused by writing—then we better get writing. Write-on. Yes, so what does this writing for creativity look like?
Developing creativity is all about writing. Well, there are the other six actions you should accomplish. Then write. Many ask, what should I write about? I understand this. If you don’t know what to write about, then what do you write about? Random stuff? Nah.
Let’s write about stuff that will help us both write better and that will build up our writing portfolio.
I’ll repeat. We started with paragraphs. I recommended settings. So the exercise was setting paragraphs for places and people. Next, we put the people into motion in action scenes in our settings, and then we brought two characters together for dialog. We have been writing vignettes. They are almost scenes, but not quite. What we need to make them a scene is to give them a tension and release. Tension and release might turn our vignettes into short stories as well as scenes. Here is a trick of writing—a scene can make a short story. The question is how do we place tension and release into a vignette?
Pick a theme. Develop a tension and release and write your scene.
The creativity we are aiming for is the tension and release in the scene. We saw how the setting paragraphs are nothing but description. The creativity is in the writing and not necessarily the setting itself. Perhaps you could say the creativity is in the choice of the setting, and indeed it is. Skill and creativity in writing is very different than the concept of creativity in creating a novel, short story, or a scene.
I don’t want to denigrate or overly simplify the idea of creativity, but I want to show just how easy creativity can be. The trick is not so much the descriptions, but rather what you do with those descriptions. This is related directly to the tension and release in the scenes. I also tried to show you how the telic flaw of the novel is tied directly to the tension and release in the scenes. If this doesn’t make total sense to you, don’t worry about it. If we write great scenes and those scenes work toward the resolution of the telic flaw, then we are using the proper creativity in writing a novel. Let me try to connect the dots on this.
I showed you with the scene outline that the author needs to design the scenes from input to output. You can even outline a novel this way. The trick of creativity is in the telic flaw of the novel and the tension and release of the scenes. There is more to this—that is, more that simplifies the concept of creativity. Let’s look at the tension and release.
I’ve even tried to help you with designing the tension and release in your scenes. If you start with a theme for each scene, the tension and release isn’t completely obvious, but with your planned output of the scene, it becomes simple to design. We are always talking about entertainment.
Look at the theme for your scene. Look at the output of the scene. Figure an entertaining way to get from the input to the output. Here is an example. Let’s say the input is your characters are going to dinner to discuss a plan. The output is a plan. The theme is obviously a dinner party. What kind of tension and release can make a dinner party entertaining? How about one of the characters gets drunk? How about a couple of characters are flirting? Perhaps a couple of characters get into a fight about the plan. The drunk character causes a mess, and the fighters have to back off to help him or her. The end is that the characters have to come to some kind of accommodation to complete their plan. All these are tension and release ideas for this scene. Again, the point is to develop entertainment in each scene.
There is another point in this that is the revelation of the protagonist in regard to the telic flaw and the tension and release.
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