13 February 2020, Writing - part xx133 Writing a Novel, Art is not Natural
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 we have filled our mind with all kinds of information and ideas, we are ready to become creative. Creativity means the extrapolation of older ideas to form new ones or to present old ideas in a new form. Literally, we are seeing the world in a new way, or actually, we are seeing some part of the world in a new way. Let’s look at an example.
The writer must create like an artist with the manipulation of writing (language) in the world through hard work to present something that is not natural, common, or previously existing in the world, and adds beauty to the world and humanity.
Art is not natural. Yes beauty and beautiful things in nature is natural, but that isn’t art. Art is a human creation. It can’t be natural. Art does come out of natural substances, because ultimately that’s all you have. Everything in the world is natural—except that which is human created. To be art it must come from the minds of humans. Animals can’t create art because animals can’t think. I know. I know. All kinds of crazies who don’t comprehend animals or the animal mind try to equate humans and animals, but the reality is that a parrot can recite Shakespeare, but it don’t mean the parrot can understand or appreciate Shakespeare. And there is our art—writing.
Writing is never natural. Writing is the exact opposite of natural. It is natural for animals to communicate—it is not natural for animals to express their thoughts. Communication is not expression. Animals react and express themselves in grunts, signals, and obscene gestures. Humans communicate their thoughts and expressions. In fact, the ancient Greek view of humans was that they never stopped thinking. The act of being human was the act of thinking. Animals reacted, humans thought.
So we are up to writing as an expression of thought. As I noted, writing is not natural. Writing is a means of communication, but fictional writing is a means of entertainment. Literally, in fiction writing, we are producing word pictures that speak the thoughts of the author into the mind of the reader. The intermediary is the words. This isn’t conversation or storytelling. In fact, authors are not storytellers. Authors are story showers through written words. Let me give you a picture.
In a conversation fifty to seventy-five percent of the communication is body language. In storytelling, a large portion of the communication is body language including tone, gestures, acting, mimicking, timbre of the words, pattern of the speech, accents, enunciation, expression, and expressions—and that’s not all. The storyteller is like an actor presenting and communicating in every dimension. The writer only has a two dimensional piece of paper and the written words to present the storyteller’s acting on paper. I don’t expect just any storyteller to have the skills to be a writer. I do expect the writer to have every skill of the storyteller and be able to condense it down into the two dimensions of the page.
Writing is not natural. Writing is an expression of the mind placed into the two dimensional construction of the page and symbols. Those symbols must project to the reader the picture the writer has in their mind. Not necessarily the ideas of the writer, but the imagination of the writer. This is why figures of speech are so important and powerful to the writer.
Within the proper context expressing the rising sun as the climbing sky-candle or the sea as the whale track or a life like a fliting moth all produce pictures in the mind of the reader. The author expresses the world in ways that are not natural. Many of the pictures and expressions come directly out of nature—none are natural. Just writing the word “tree” is unnatural. The term “tree” does not exist in nature. If I put an actual tree in front of you in its natural habitat, that is natural, but I can’t and I don’t. If I place a picture of a tree in its natural habitat in front of you, that is a representation of a tree, but it isn’t natural. If I place the painting of a tree in its natural habitat, that is definitely not natural. Even less natural is the word “tree.” We understand and see a picture in our minds, but it is only the picture we as the reader have. What if I meant a banana tree? Bet you were thinking of a generic conifer or a deciduous tree.
If I write: the tree rose up straight large and magnificent with dark green needles and perfectly formed cones—I have presented a picture to you. If I further write: the old man of the forest rose up straight large and magnificent bearded with dark green needles and sprinkled with the spice of brown rounded cones—that is an entirely different picture. That is a culmination of figures of speech. It is definitely not natural. I’ll leave to you which expresses the mind of the author better. I’ll also leave to your mind which provides a better picture of the imagination of the author: the word “tree,” the expression of the coniferous tree in the first sentence of this paragraph, or the second figure of speech based expression of the tree as an anthropomorphic figure.
Writing, like art, is not natural. It can’t be natural. It is the expression of the minds of humans. Thinking is perhaps natural, but thinking is an expression of the imagination. The imagination is neither real, rational, nor shared directly by humans. The best we can do is express our imagination through two dimensional words on a two dimensional pallet. Those two dimensional words by being converted into multidimensional pictures from the mind of the writer to the mind of the reader can produce much more than the natural world in expression.
Writing is hard work is the first step. It is not natural, and next, it is not common.
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