31 January 2020, Writing - part xx120 Writing a Novel, Creativity 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.
Creativity has more to do with buildup, choices, and thought than anything else. The work of creativity is making choices at each stage and then putting those choices together. For example, we started with setting paragraphs. I gave you some examples, but what you chose to write about was your creative choice. We moved from places to characters. The characters were your ideas and your creations. Even if you chose the places and characters from real life, they still were your creations on paper. This is exactly how I approach place and character design from my writing.
I choose real places and describe them for my writing. Because the places come from real life don’t make them any less my writing and creation. For example, if you need a kitchen for your writing, why invent a kitchen from your imagination. Find a kitchen that is close and while describing it, make it yours. If you need a kitchen like no other, what exactly is that? I guess you can engage your deep imagination. I don’t. To me a kitchen is a kitchen. I look in a book or a magazine for the kitchen I want and then I describe it. If I need a kitchen from a castle, I find a kitchen in a castle. If I need the door on the left instead of the right, I turn it around. My point about places is this—look for the places you want for your settings, and use them. The creativity is in the descriptions and the finding—the research and the writing is what makes the places yours. Then there is characters.
Look for the characters you need and write descriptions of them. If you need a composite character, just put a couple of people or things together. The choice and the writing is the creativity. I use my pony-faced girl as an example all the time. I actually saw a girl with a pony shaped face. I used the shape of her face for one of the minor characters in my novel, Hestia. The girl’s features were perfect for the novel and the character. The novel’s character had an entirely different character, attitude, and being. The creativity was in the writing and the choice.
Next, we are looking at action then dialog in a scene or a vignette if you like. There is no action or dialog that is new to humanity. A character will walk across a room just like every character before Daniel Defoe walked across a room, and like every human since the beginning of time walked across a room. The walking isn’t creative, the purpose in the walking might be. Whatever the purpose is, somewhere it might or has been used before. I do have a few novels that are absolutely unique in their plots, but the elements of all novels are similar. It isn’t the elements themselves but rather how the author puts the elements together.
We moved from settings and description to action and dialog in terms of choices and creativity—the next movement is to themes and tension and release in the same context.
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