9 February 2020, Writing - part xx129 Writing a Novel, Novel Creativity Worldview
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?
I guess for now we are done with the exercises. You can continue them and should continue them until you are writing daily and producing novels and short stories. I’ll get back to writing skills at some point. Right now, I’d like to move over to worldview and how this affects creativity.
Worldview affects creativity in must the same way as event horizon. First, let’s define worldview, and second, let’s see how it affects creativity.
Worldview is the way in which you see the world. In involves your education, experience, culture, ability of understand the world, upbringing, and in some cases rationality. Worldview permeates your writing in many ways. This is both positive and negative. For example, if you distain marriage, your married couples will likely be at each other’s throats and your love stories won’t be about love as much as about sex. If you have a socialist bent, your writing will possibly see the most murderous governments and people in history in a positive light. Josephus was an ancient Jewish writer who wrote in Greek under the subscription of the Romans—you wonder exactly what he would have written had he been his own person. Worldview both natural and enforced deeply affects creativity.
Natural and enforced, what’s that? Josephus obviously had a commission, and he didn’t want to irritate his masters. Likewise, modern writers for magazines and journals are writing to an audience and a boss. If you think they have absolute control of creativity and subject, you are fooling yourself. They write what they have proposed and what has been accepted. Their editors and publishers clean it up with their spin before it gets to the printer. The same is true from novelists with a publisher.
We as writers and especially novelists get to write pretty much what we want. Once a publisher gets your work, it will usually change in subtle ways. This isn’t bad. The publisher and your publisher’s editors are looking to improve your work and make it more acceptable to their market. This is only natural. In almost every case, I’ve found my publisher’s editor’s changes and questions to change very helpful and improvements to the manuscript. Not every author will feel this way, but to get published, you will need to reach an agreement with your publisher on changes and edits. Usually, this doesn’t affect creativity.
The reason your publisher picked up your work was because they liked your theme, plot, premise, and protagonist. They also liked your worldview. The part of worldview that affected creativity was back in the development stage of your novel. In any case, you will usually need to adjust your worldview and the worldview of your novel to some degree to meet the desires of your publisher and publisher’s editor. There is another part to worldview and creativity.
Your worldview significantly affects your creativity. How you see the world results in your novels and your creative ideas. In general, you need to see the world in a way that is similar to a large portion of your audience. This also means, if your worldview is too much like popular culture (TV, movies, and other mass media), you likely might not be able to relate to your audience very well. Think book culture.
Book culture is pretty broad, but it is relatively conservative. I don’t mean that politically or purely socially. The worldview of your audience is also the worldview of the popular novels. You can write stuff like Harry Potty and sparkly vampires, but notice, when the authors got off script outside their books, it didn’t help their books at all. It called into question much of their writing.
Look carefully at most popular modern writing. It is pretty tame culturally, socially, and generally. Novels at the extremes get cast into genre extremes and never come up for air. Novels are written for a very general audience. My publisher didn’t allow cursing in English, but didn’t mind it in foreign languages. The point was to appeal to the broadest audience possible. They expanded or contracted my worldview however you want to look at it. All publishers do this. I suspect some genre publishers insist their writers increase their cursing to the maximum extent possible. You can see how this would significantly contract the audience.
In any case, I recommend working from a general worldview and keeping the focus of your novels on the plot, theme, and characters at hand. For example, if you aren’t writing a political novel, keep politics out of it or appeal generally to the politics. I like to make jokes about it. Keep controversy out of your novels unless they deal specifically with controversy. The point is to keep the novel broad for your audience. On the other hand, if you are writing for a genre or very specific publisher or audience, crunch your worldview down to the point that your audience or publisher wants. That’s also where your creativity gets crunched.
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