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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Writing - part xx511 Writing a Novel, The Big Talk Example

 25 February 2021, Writing - part xx511 Writing a Novel, The Big Talk Example

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


Cover Proposal

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.

4.     Study.

5.     Teach. 

6.     Make the catharsis. 

7.     Write.

 

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. 

 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

 

1.     The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.

2.     The telic flaw determines the plot.

3.     The telic flaw determines the theme.

4.     The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.

5.     The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.

6.     Plot examples from great classic plots.

7.     Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.

8.     Plot examples from my novels.

9.     Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.

10.  Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

 

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

 

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

 

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

 

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it happens.  There is much more to this.  Here’s the list of plots I’ve looked at already:

 

Here is the list of classics that everyone should read.  What I want to do is evaluate this list for the plots. 

 

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury – Best modern novel in English.  

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible – Most important book to understand Western culture.

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 We The Living – Ayn Rand

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

 

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Dune – Frank Herbert

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – better to see as plays

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 The Cadwal Chronicles – Jack Vance

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Green Pearl Novels – Jack Vance

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

 

21 Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchel

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 Starship Troopers – Robert Heinlein

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

 

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

37 The Tale of Genji - Murasaki Shikibu

38 The House of Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne

39 The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

 

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 Dracula – Bram Stoker

43 Till We Have Faces – C.S. Lewis

44 Le Morte D'Arthur - Thomas Malory

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand

 

51 What Katy Did - Sarah Chauncey Woolsey under her pen name Susan Coolidge

52 A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett

53 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling

56 Kim - Rudyard Kipling

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 Beowulf – Unknown

60 The Odyssey – Homer

 

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins

64 The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett

65 The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Robinson Caruso – Daniel Defoe

69 The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

 

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes

73 Heidi – Johanna Spyri

74 Hans Brinker - Mary Mapes Dodge

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 The Big Sky – Arlo Guthrie

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

 

80 The Black Arrow - Robert Louis Stevenson

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

83 The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

84 The Miser – George Eliot

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemmingway

87 Tarzan – Edger Rice Burroughs

88 The Death of Socrates – Plato

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 I, Robot - Isaac Asimov

 

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 Huckleberry Fin – Mark Twain

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift

96 Matilda – Roald Dahl

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

 

101 The Once and Future King – T.H. White

102 The Deerslayer – James Fenimore Cooper

103 The Black Book of Communism – Various

104 Ben Hur – Lew Wallace

105 The Robe – Lloyd C. Douglas

106 The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

107 The Histories – Herodotus

108 Lives – Plutarch

109 The Call of the Wild – Jack London

110 Stand on Zanzibar – John Brunner

 

111 The Shockwave Rider – John Brunner

112 The Aeneid – Virgil

 

This is what I did.  I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

 

We have a list of all the major plots from this list of classics in literature.  The question is what can we do with it?  This is the first step in evaluating our results.  I took a percentage of the results based on the number of classics. 

 

Modern writing is all about the Romantic—both Romantic protagonists and Romantic plots.  This is where we are going and this is the focus of modern entertaining literature. 

 

In the end, we can see there are just a few baseline plots that are characteristics of most classics.  These are the revelation, achievement, and redemption plots.  When I write these are baseline, I mean that they are overall plots that might also have a different plotline or other plots directly supporting them.  Here’s what I mean exactly about each of these plots:

 

Redemption:  the protagonist must make an internal or external change to resolve the telic flaw. This is the major style of most great modern plots.

 

Revelation:  the novel reveals portions of the life, experiences, and ideas of the protagonist in a cohesive and serial fashion from the initial scene to the climax and telic flaw resolution.

 

Achievement:  the novel is characterized by a goal that the protagonist must achieve to resolve the telic flaw. 

 

I evaluated the list of plots and categorized them according to the following scale:

 

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

 

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

 

Quality (q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

 

Setting (s) – These are plots based on a setting.

 

Item (i) – These are plots based on an item.

 

All of the plots we looked at fall into one of these five.  Let’s do that:

 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

 

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

 

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

 

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

 

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

 

Starting with the protagonist makes novel writing about as easy as it is possible to make novel writing.  As I wrote, if we start with the protagonist, I can’t guarantee you the next bestseller, but I can assure you it will solve four problems common to novelists:

 

1.     What is the plot?

2.     Why is my novel so short?

3.     Why is my novel so simplistic and uncomplicated in terms of plot and theme?

4.     Why do I get writer’s block when I want to write?

 

Not every writer gets writer’s block.  I never get writer’s block.  I get tired of writing.  I sometimes want to change up my writing (write something different). I never run out of something to write.  How could that be?  Doesn’t everyone get writer’s block?  Only in the movies, and I would say only non-professional writers.

 

Here’s some ideas to help you prevent writer’s block.

 

1.     Nothing anyone writes the first time on paper (or ether) is worth reading, publishing, or anything else.

2.     You gotta write to learn to write well.

3.     If you don’t like it, dump it.

4.     If you are in over your head, just stop and regroup.

5.     These are all helpful ideas for getting your stuff together, but why don’t professionals have the problem of writer’s block?

 

Writing paragraphs may be the most powerful way to train up your writing skills.  None of the paragraphs I wrote as a seventh grader are worth reading now, but they sure helped me learn to write.  We are writing about training.

 

Every paragraph looks like this:

1.     Topic sentence

2.     Body based on the topic

3.     Conclusion and transition

 

Every paragraph looks like this except dialog paragraphs.  These are special paragraphs that are designed through the speaker rather than coherent outline. 

 

You must include tone and body language in the dialog, or the conversation will go awry for the reader.  There is more to dialog to make it sound correct to the reader.

 

I’m repeating in synopsis all my previous advice on writing dialog, but dialog is very important and most beginning (and some experienced) writers seem to have problems with it. 

 

So, we saw that dialog follows normal human conversational order, lets the dialog flow, uses contractions, doesn’t use direct address, expresses tone, body language, tags, and action in the dialog.  These are the most straight forward and best way to correct most dialog.  Then you need to study and practice.

 

In this example, the big talk build up comes in multiple scenes.  This may be more common in most novels.  The power of this example is that it comes one after the other, and it is very important to the outcome of the novel, and the knowledge of the reader.  This scene comes from Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si.  This is the scene of the big talk with Mr. Morfran.

 

Before the end of breakfast, Mrs. Lyons glanced directly at Essie.  Essie turned away her eyes, “Look at me, Essie.”  Essie tentatively moved her eyes to Mrs. Lyons, “Listen very closely to me.  This morning, I am expecting Mr. Morfran to come on a business visit.  He will tell me more about you and bring your things.”

Essie pressed her lips together and said nothing.

Mrs. Lyons continued, “I do not expect any problems from Mr. Morfran, but I will keep my pistol handy.  The question at the moment is you.”

Essie gazed steadily at Mrs. Lyons lips and not her eyes.

“Essie,” the girl jumped, “Look at me.  I do not wish you to interfere with our conversation.  I don’t want you to change…to turn into a wild cat.  Do you understand me?”

Essie growled a slight growl, “I understand.”

“The question is this: should I ask you to remain in the garden or would you sit quietly in the parlor while we talk?”

Essie pounced, so to speak, with her words, “I will sit quietly in the parlor.  I will serve tea.”  Her voice changed slightly, “If Morfran tries anything, I will turn, drag him to your front lawn, and kill him.”

“Why drag him to the front lawn?”

“You told me to clean up my own messes.  I’d rather not have to clean the parlor floor or the rug.”

Mrs. Lyons sighed a gentle sigh and looked up, “Very well.  You will do as I say.”

Essie’s voice still sounded slightly transformed, “Up to the point of your or my injury.”

“Do I detect some change in you?”

“Yes, yes you do.  I am not very quick.  I am only a wild creature, but before, I endured under the control and authority of Morfran.  Since you took that responsibility, he has no authority over me.  I can kill him at will and without any reckoning.”

“You shall not kill him.  Whatever you think, you are responsible for your actions and murder is not permitted any human being.”

“I told you, Mrs. Lyons, I am not a human being.”

Mrs. Lyons sighed, “You are a being under the authority of the Lord God Almighty.  I think your clan call Him the Dagda.”

“The Dagda.  What does the Dagda have to do with me at this moment?”

Mrs. Lyons sighed, “The Dagda has everything to do with you.  I know a little about these things.  They, my friends, thought I didn’t understand them at all, but I realized much that was going on around me outside of the normal human sphere.  I just never let on.  Listen child.  I have known beings in this world who are as wonderful and fantastic as you.  They might be very interested to know you.  At the moment, we will move with caution and wisdom.  You will learn, and we will see what happens.”

Essie moved her eyes down.

“The other thing is this.  I wish you to call me Aunt Tilly.  All my other adopted children, grands and greats call me that.  I’m a bit old for mother, so Aunt Tilly must do.”

Essie glanced up in surprise, “Did you really mean what you said to me?  Am I actually to be your daughter, Essie Lyons?”

“Yes, I meant every word I said to you.  You are Essie Lyons.  You are my child.  I have the responsibility for you after all.”

“No one has ever offered me kinship before…”

“There is a first time for everything.”

The front bell rang.

Mrs. Lyons stood, “Bring the tea.  I suspect that is Mr. Morfran come to call.”

Essie paused for only a moment, then she stood and picked up the tea tray they prepared together.

Mrs. Lyons stepped to the front door.  As she passed the front parlor, she pointed behind her back toward it.  Essie entered and placed the tray on the tea table.

Mrs. Lyons opened the door.  Mr. Morfran stood on the stoop.  Mrs. Lyons glanced around, but all she saw was Morfran’s old Triumph.  Beside him sat a large cage that looked like it would barely hold a human being.

Mr. Morfran bowed, “Good morrow, Mrs. Lyons.  I came just as I promised.”

Mrs. Lyons stared at the cage.  A very bright metal, like silver formed it.  Dark ancient wood, splattered by ugly stains, lined the bottom, and a silver mesh undergirded it.  It sported an elaborate lock.  Mrs. Lyons’ face displayed distaste, “Good morning, Mr. Morfran.  What have you brought to clutter up my front door and house?”

“I shall place this,” he pointed at the cage, “wherever you wish, but I told you I would bring its things.”

“Mr. Morfran, I will not have her called an it in my house.  Leave the cage here for the moment.  Won’t you come into the parlor?”

Mrs. Lyons closed the door behind Mr. Morfran.  She guided him into the parlor.

Morfran spotted Essie sitting on the sofa and stopped abruptly.

Mrs. Lyons stepped past him into the room, “You needn’t fear her while I am present.  Please sit.”

Essie brought her large green eyes up to Mr. Morfran’s.  She didn’t smile, “Mr. Morfran, would you like tea?”

Mr. Morfran warily stepped to the other wingback chair.  He sat very carefully in it.

Without waiting for his answer, Essie poured him a cup of tea.  She poured tea for Mrs. Lyons.  Essie paused, “Mr. Morfran, would you like sugar?  Milk?”

He nodded and Essie placed the sugar and milk containers near his place.  Mr. Morfran took a couple of cubes of sugar for his tea and poured a dash of milk in it.  Essie moved the sugar and milk to Mrs. Lyons.  Mrs. Lyons prepared her tea and picked up her cup.  Mr. Morfran watched her carefully one eye on Essie and one eye on Mrs. Lyons.  When she drank, he drank.  Essie poured herself some milk and a drop of tea.

Mr. Morfran didn’t relax, “Amazing.”

Mrs. Lyons settled in her chair, “Now, what have you brought for us, and what can you tell us about Essie?”

Mr. Morfran settled his teacup back on its saucer.  He reached toward his pockets.

Essie gave a little growl.

Mrs. Lyons turned the girl a glare, and she relaxed a little.

Mr. Morfran pulled out a silver key.  It looked very dark with tarnish and age.

Essie let out a low hiss.

Mrs. Lyons whispered, “Essie.”

Essie moved a little closer to Mrs. Lyons.  She quieted.

Mr. Morfran placed the key on the tea table, “This is the key to the Aos Si’s cage.  It is the only lock and cage that will secure it on heaven or earth.”

Mrs. Lyons decided not to fight the issue.  She replied, “Really?”

“The Aos Si is a magical creature.  It commands the forces of the fae courts.”

Mrs. Lyons asked, “Which courts precisely?”

Mr. Morfran nodded, “Here is where we test your understanding of the real world.  The courts I mean are those of the fairies, the fae.  There are four fae courts in these lands.  They are broken into the single Unseelie and the three Seelie.  They are Welsh, Irish, and Celtic.  Ceridwen rules over all, but also keeps her own courts.  Those are the courts of man and of the gods.  The Aos Si is thought to be a solitary fairy.  Aos Si is Irish, but the Sith is Scottish.  Sith is its proper name—Aos Si simply its common title.  The Aos Si is neither of the Irish nor the Celtic court.  I will not say which court handed it over to my care, but none claim it.  Although it is thought to be a fairy, it is also known to be a witch and thus in some degree a creature of man.  That is what makes it so dangerous to both men and the fae.”

Mrs. Lyons’ eyebrow raised.

Mr. Morfran continued, “Aye, I knew you would be questioning, but surely what you saw yesterday should leave you with some proof of what I tell you.”

Mr. Lyons nodded, “Go on.”

“The Aos Si can open any lock.  It doesn’t need a key.  The cage, as I said, is the only thing that can contain it.”

“Am I to conclude that you kept Essie caged in that horrible place her entire life?”

“It was brought to us in the cage as a grown being and kept there for all our protection.”

Mrs. Lyons sighed, “I will not need the cage, but I shall keep it for the purpose of preventing her further incarceration.”

“You would be wise to keep it caged, but I’ll not badger you further on this point.  Only realize you place yourself at odds with Ceridwen, her courts, and the four fae courts by your actions.”

Mrs. Lyons sipped her tea, “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.  I am not entirely ignorant of what you speak.”

“Very well.  I’ve given you my warning.  Since you swore responsibility of the Aos Si, I must confer on you her other possessions.”  He reached into his other pocket and pulled out a small book.  He placed it beside the key on the table.  The book appeared very old.  It possessed a leather cover and a leather tie that held it together.  “This is the Book of the Sith.”  He pronounced the word Sith as Sidhe.  “The Book of the Sith supposedly contains the spells of the Aos Si, the Sith.”

Mrs. Lyons asked, “Essie have you seen this book before?”

Essie shook her head.

“Nah, she has never seen this book.  That is why I am giving it to your keeping.”

Mrs. Lyons chuckled, “She seems to know enough to turn…”

“She would have more knowledge, but we have been very careful to keep it from her.”

Mrs. Lyons’ face displayed a very angry frown, “Is this why you kept her in ignorance of any learning?”

“That is precisely the case.  If she learns, she might become more powerful and much more dangerous.  I told you.  You have taken on a grave responsibility.  I saw already that you are teaching it—that is a very unwise thing to do.”

“I’ve accepted the responsibility of her.  I will teach her to live properly in this world.  Just as I would any of my children.”

“That’s to be seen.  I told you the courts, all the courts, will oppose you in this, but I have a final thing to give you.”  He reached into his pocket and brought out a piece of wood with a stone embedded in it.  He placed this beside the book.  “This is a piece of the sacred place of the Aos Si.”

Mrs. Lyons sounded intrigued, “What is this sacred place?”

“I…we have no idea.  The Aos Si has such a place.  It is either a tree or a mound, a sidhe.  This wood came from the sacred place of the Aos Si.  This is the place the Aos Si protects and is responsible for.”

“I see.  Is that all?”

“Only this.  I expect I will have to make an accounting about all of this.”

Mrs. Lyons frowned again, “What are you exactly in all this Mr. Morfran?”

Mr. Morfran shrugged, “The Morfrans have been guardians since the early ages of the Celts.  We are reputed to be offspring of Ceridwen in an earlier age.  We have been given the responsibility of many humans, creatures, and things in the past.”

Mrs. Lyons tried to keep her voice level, “Do you hold any other beings such as Essie?”

“Not at the moment.  In the past, we have been given many unhappy and dangerous jobs to do.  It may seem odd to you, but we bowed our necks to the Dagda—even before the current Ceridwen.”

“I do find that hard to believe.  I can’t imagine the Dagda, the Lord God Almighty, insisting that you cage and abuse a young girl no matter what the purpose.”

Mr. Morfran opened his hands, “It doesn’t matter what you believe.  I told you before, the Aos Si is not a human being.  It is not a girl or a young woman.  It may assume that shape at some times, but it is wholly a creature of the fae realms.  There are many such creatures, and in different times, we have been required to capture and keep them for the courts and for Ceridwen.”

“For example, what creatures other than this Aos Si?”

“Dragons have been one of our chief responsibilities.”

“Dragons?  Are there such creatures?”

“We haven’t been required to slay or keep such a creature for a long time, but the Aos Si is considered by many to be a more fearsome beast.”

“I see.  What else can you tell me about Essie?”

“That is about everything.  When I am asked about my charge, I will point them to you, Mrs. Lyons.  You now have the complete responsibility for the keeping and the…ah, the protecting.  If things get out of hand, don’t look to me for more than slaying at this point.”

“Is that a threat?”

“Not at all.  We must accomplish what we have been given to do in this world.  We, the Morfrans owned this responsibility—it is now yours.”  Mr. Morfran stood.

Mrs. Lyons stood, “Thank you for your information and your candid words.”

“I can’t give you any greater warning.  I would advise against bringing any of this to Ceridwen’s direct attention.”

“Why is that?”

“I told you.  We acted on her instructions.”

Mrs. Lyons made a depreciating sound, “I shall handle things much differently than you, but I shall heed your warnings.”

Mr. Morfran headed for the front door.  Mrs. Lyons began to follow him out.  At the door, Mrs. Lyons insisted, “Please take that unsightly cage around to my storage and place it there.  I’ll direct you.” 

Mr. Morfran picked up the cage as though it was very light.  Mrs. Lyons led him around the back of the house to the right.  Outside the kitchen door stood an old shed.  Mrs. Lyons unlocked the heavy door.  Inside lay gardening equipment.  Most of it hadn’t been used for a long time.  Mr. Morfran shoved the cage into one corner, and Mrs. Lyons relocked the door.  She saw Mr. Morfran back to the front of the house.  Without another word, he stepped into his old automobile and drove back down the lane.

This is the big talk with Mr. Morfran.  If you did a search for Morfran, you would find that Morfran is a common name in ancient Celtic and Gaelic myth.  The Morfrans in history are indeed keepers of creatures and people in these myths.  I used them in this novel in a similar way. 

 

The Morfrans were given the responsibility of Essie.  In this scene, Mr. Morfran passes his responsibility to Mrs. Lyons.  With this scene, we learn a lot about Essie and the Morfrans.

 

Mrs. Lyons is given the responsibility of Essie and her items.  This is great from a novel standpoint.  It gives us some secrets to solve.  What are these items?  Who is Essie?  Morfran couldn’t or wouldn’t tell.  This is what the novel is all about—who is Essie.  The big talk gives us some information, but it isn’t everything.      

 

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot, and apply this to our writing.     

  

Let’s start with the idea of an internal and external telic flaw.  Then let’s provide it a wrapper.  The wrapper is the plot.       

      

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.    

    

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com
  

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