5 February 2020, Writing - part xx125 Writing a Novel, Developing Novel Creativity
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. Then we should perhaps look at creativity at a higher level. How about the novel?
Novels are the revelation of the protagonist. The creativity, obviously, for the novel comes from the development of the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw. How do you get one of these ideas?
Part of answering this question is in practicing to design and develop creativity. I started with study and research. We are at writing and exercises. The advanced part is the design of the protagonist and the telic flaw.
The design of the protagonist and the development of a telic flaw requires some type of creative idea. How do we develop this idea? Most writers will tell you, just go for it. If you can’t invent a creative idea for your protagonist and telic flaw, you just aren’t cut out to be a writer. I think creativity is more about study and thought than just luck. I think some people are more creative than others, but how to develop creativity is what I’ve been writing about for a while in this series.
Start with a character, expand their background, and develop the character just a bit. Next, provide some kind of action that only they can do or accomplish. This is the beginning of a telic flaw. What can your character do that only your character can do?
A romantic character is a romantic character because they are the only person in the world of the novel who can resolve the telic flaw. This is mostly because it is their telic flaw, but there is a lot to this. If you remember my character Essie. Only Essie can resolve the telic flaw of her problem with the chief goddess of the Celtic and Gaelic people. Think of my character Lieutenant Paul Bolang, only Paul can resolve the problem of the Egyptian ruins he discovered. This is true of any and all romantic protagonists. Only they can resolve the telic flaw of their respective novels. This is a hint on how to begin to design a telic flaw. Let’s explore this a bit more.
Design a character. Let’s pick one or make one up. Say or character is a financial officer in a bank. I’m using this example to show you the extremes you can go to—I figure a financial officer for a bank is pretty much an odd character for a protagonist—odd not impossible. What can a financial officer do that other people can’t do? I’d say the financial officer has great information and education on the use, storage, and investment of money and assets. The development of the telic flaw is up to the writer and their imagination, but potentially, our character could solve a banking problem. How about a robbery or committing a robbery. How about an amazing investment strategy or an amazing means of defrauding the bank. These are things that only our character can do. These personalize the telic flaw and work directly to the skills and abilities of the protagonist. You can do this with any character you develop.
This is pretty much the way I develop a novel with a protagonist and a telic flaw designed from the protagonist. You can approach this the opposite way—start with the telic flaw, and build a protagonist around it.
For example, let’s start with a great investment strategy that a character uses to make a million dollars. Obviously, the author has to figure out this great investment strategy. It doesn’t have to be a real investment strategy, all it has to do is appear to be a real investment strategy. The only reasonable character who could design such an investment strategy is a financial banker. On the other hand, you could create an unexpected character.
How about a young person from a banking family who studied finances and comes across the investment strategy from his or her grandfather’s notes. Kool character. You just need an investment strategy. If you have any knowledge of this subject, perhaps you could figure out an investment trick. There is more to this.
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:
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