18 February 2021, Writing - part xx504 Writing a Novel, another Example of Big Talk
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.
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:
1. Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%
2. Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%
3. Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%
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%
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%
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%
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.
Here is an example of getting to big talk in a dialog. This is from my unpublished novel, Azure Rose: Enchantment and the Detective:
The ladies stepped through a pair of French doors to a sunroom at the side. The room was well lit, but not from the outside. The windows looked dark. Near the center of the room were a couple of padded chairs and a love seat. In between the seats sat a tea table.
When Azure and Sveta entered, Mrs. Calloway already sat in one of the padded chairs. Sveta seated Azure in the chair opposite, well separated from Mrs. Calloway by the tea table. Sveta and Klava sat on the love seat. Sveta rang for Harold. When he arrived Sveta asked him to bring tea.
Azure put up her hand, “I’d rather drink Champaign.”
Mrs. Calloway sniffed, “She is much too young for wine.”
Sveta ignored her, “Harold, please bring Lady Wishart, Champaign.”
Harold nodded. After a few moments, he returned pushing a tea dolly filled with tea and a fine selection of appetizers from the buffet. He placed a flute of Champaign and a nearly full bottle in an ice bucket next to Azure. When he departed, Sveta poured the tea. They each took a sip. Azure drank a long swallow from her flute.
Mrs. Calloway began to speak, but Sveta put up her hand, “Please, Mother, let me brief you on the circumstances that require this meeting.”
Mrs. Calloway wouldn’t be assuaged, “I do not like to be in the presence of this schoolgirl. I don’t want her near my son.”
Sveta sighed, “So you said. I heard it all. Who couldn’t? Listen to me. The Queen has asked us to work with Lady Wishart…”
“In spite of my warnings and protestations?”
“Yes, in spite of all that. She has the favor of the Queen and we have been directed to help her.”
“Help her do what?”
Sveta sipped her tea, “Lady Wishart is investigating the murder of magic users in the Kingdom. We have been directed to aid her in her investigations.”
“Why would Stele be investigating the murder of magic users? We investigate magic use and put an end to it.” Mrs. Calloway slitted her eyes at Azure, “Is she involved in magic use?”
Azure lifted her lip, “I have been insulted again. That makes more than once in this house. I won’t put up with it. Except that you have information that I need, I’d have Lachlann take me home at once.”
Mrs. Calloway snarled, “Take you home for what purpose?”
Azure turned Mrs. Calloway a piercing stare, “She has insulted me again. I insist that she desist immediately.”
Sveta scowled, “Mother that was an insult. Lady Wishart does not deserve your attacks. She is a virtuous lady whose actions do not merit your rebuke.”
Mrs. Calloway sat back and stared in her tea, “If that is the case, then I do apologize. I am concerned about my son, and I am concerned about nearly everything I have heard tonight.”
Sveta nodded, “We share some of your concerns, but not necessarily about this lady or her actions. The Queen is concerned about the murder of her subjects. We know they are involved in the use of magic, but Celtic gods are to blame for their murder and Lady Wishart is investigating this with us.”
“Celtic gods. Then this Lady is at great risk.”
“She is. She understands these risks, but she is accomplishing her investigations for the Crown. You should encourage and support her.”
“Why isn’t Stele alone involved? This is a dangerous business for any mortal being.”
“We know this. The Queen understands, but the Lady Wishart is the one who brought this to our attention, and the Queen wants her to continue her investigations.”
Mrs. Calloway looked up, “Raise your arm, Lady Wishart.”
Azure lifted her left hand.
“Your right arm, please.”
Azure lifted her right hand.
Mrs. Calloway sighed, “I thought I saw it before. Aife has marked her as her warrior and head of her band, the Black Branch. I’m not sure what that means precisely, but it indicates that she claims the support of at least one goddess in the Kingdom.”
Azure sipped from her flute and refilled it, “It means I have the support of one of the greatest powers against magic and a punisher of gods.”
Mrs. Calloway pressed her lips together, “That is to be seen. Aife was punished herself.”
Azure stared at her, “If Aife is successful, I want you to give her back the Isle of Shadows.”
Mrs. Calloway puffed out her cheeks and turned red, “Who are you to make demands like that of me?”
“I am the Lord Chancellor of the Book and the Lady Wishart. My mentor is Aife, head of the Black Branch. I want you to grant her, her original place, the Isle of Shadows.”
Mrs. Calloway sighed, “You do have a legitimate claim. But why would I do that?”
“Perhaps one day I will be your daughter-in-law. Certainly, you would grant my petition if I protect the kingdom and meet your requirements.”
Mrs. Calloway turned redder still, “You said you don’t share my son’s affections.”
“I am fickle. Perhaps I will seduce him and take all I wish—then where will you be?”
Sveta slapped her hand on the tea table, “Stop it this minute, both of you. My Mother did insult you, but you are simply baiting her.”
Azure sipped her Champaign, “I admit, I am baiting her. I don’t have any power here. I was insulted and demeaned. I don’t deserve any of it.”
Mrs. Calloway sighed. She put out her hands, “You do deserve my censure for your actions against the Fae.”
“What do you know of my actions with the Fae? I simply take what is allowed by the Book. That is my right.”
“Is this true?”
“Now that you finally ask, yes, it is true. The Book allows me to take a just recompense for my judgements.”
Mrs. Calloway’s face softened, “Why would you do that?”
“Because I wish to regain my estate. I have nothing. I am penniless.”
“You are wearing a rose colored Dior dress.”
Azure stood so suddenly she knocked over her flute of Champaign, “The Crown bought this dress so I could attend this party. If you wish, I shall remove it at this very instant.”
Mrs. Calloway waved Azure back into her seat, “That will not be necessary.”
Sveta put down a napkin to wipe up the spill and refilled Azure’s flute.
Azure sat trimly on the edge of her seat.
Sveta took a deep breath and let it out. She put out her hands, “Now that we have had everything out, may we get to the business at hand?”
Mrs. Calloway glowered, “I am not certain everything is apparent to me.”
Sveta closed her eyes for a moment, then snapped them open, “Mother, I’ll try to make it as clear as possible to you. You were wrong about Lady Wishart. She is not cheating the Fae—she is trying to regain her estate via one of the few options open to her. She is not seducing our brother, your son. He is courting her. She came here to discuss an investigation that she started for the Crown. The Queen directed Stele to support her. This is the reason she is attending my party.”
Sveta turned to Azure, “Lady Wishart…”
Azure let out a tiny smile, “You may call me Azure—that’s what Lachlann calls me.”
Sveta closed her eyes again, “You are obviously baiting my Mother again, Azure. Can we get to the business at hand?”
Mrs. Calloway glared at Azure, and Azure returned her look.
Sveta smacked the table again, “Klava, give your report.”
Klava had been trying to hide her smile all evening. She leaned forward in a very business-like fashion and handed a paper to Azure, “Azure, these are the incidents of murdered magic users from the Stele data. We investigated or provided a cleanup for each of these locations, and we found a dead confirmed magic user at each.”
Azure glanced over the paper and gave a nod, “This matches with my data from the Golden Cauldron Coven and from Scotland Yard’s records.”
Klava let out a little sigh, “You knew about all these already?”
“Yes, yes, I did.”
Klava nodded, “I can provide some information that I suspect you don’t know. In Cumbria, there exists a hidden village called Mahonby. I marked its approximate location on the map I gave you. It’s geographically centered on all of the early murders.”
Azure’s eyes sparkled, “That is new information. I noted the murders centered on something, but all I could find was the Long Meg circle.”
Klava nodded, “Long Meg is the way in.” She passed another piece of paper to Azure, “If you go to Long Meg and follow these instructions, you will be able to check out the village directly.”
Azure stared at her, “This is too simple, what’s the catch?”
Klava stared back, “It isn’t simple. This might be very dangerous. If you investigate, you will need to wear ancient Anglo-Saxon clothing. We believe Mahon and the others might be hiding there. Mahon was worshiped in this area in ancient times.”
Azure glowered, “Why don’t you investigate yourselves?”
“We would, but they would detect us immediately. The village of Mahonby is a place out of time. Sveta and I are not of that place or time, and Mrs. Calloway is too recognizable in this type of place.”
“I see. May I bring Aife?”
“We would recommend it. Aife is from this time, culture, and place. She would be able to help you as well as evaluate any oddities.”
“We already concluded that some deity who is high in authority is somehow involved. We don’t have any idea who it might be. We do see that the murders are centered at this geographical point. It happens to contain Long Meg and the hidden village of Mahonby. Holding such a place out of time requires great power. My conclusion is that whoever is behind everything lives there.”
Azure leaned back, “Very well. I’ll take Aife…”
Mrs. Calloway squared her shoulders, “You will not take Lachlann.”
Azure snapped her fingers, “I had no intention of taking him. He is insufferable.”
Mrs. Calloway grinned, “Good. We can agree on one thing.”
Sveta grabbed the sides of her head, “What is wrong with you? Both of you? My brother said he loved you. Azure. Why would you think him insufferable? Mother, Lachlann says he loves Azure. He wants to marry her.”
Azure stood, “The reason I don’t want Lachlann tagging along should be obvious.”
Mrs. Calloway also stood, “My reasons should also be obvious.”
Sveta started to laugh. Klava quickly joined in. Azure wouldn’t look at Mrs. Calloway, and Mrs. Calloway wouldn’t look at Azure. Finally, with the same annoyed expression, they both said at nearly the same time, “What’s so funny.”
Sveta stood, “This is so amusing. You and Azure both don’t want Lachlann to go because of the potential danger. He won’t listen to either of you. He’ll do what he wants to do without any by-your-leave.”
Azure glanced down at her feet, “So he will.” She put out her hand, “Thank you for your hospitality and information. I plan to act on it immediately.”
Sveta touched Azure’s hand, and then Klava.
Mrs. Calloway didn’t reach out to Azure. Azure spun on her heel and headed back out to the ballroom. Harold opened the French doors for her and she glided through. She spotted Lachlann immediately and made a beeline for him. She grabbed his arm with a, “Take me home.” And headed for the front door.
James had been speaking to him. James raised his hand, but couldn’t get a word out before Mrs. Calloway grabbed his arm, “We’re going home.”
They headed from the party at a discrete distance behind Azure and Lachlann.
Now, here is the big talk—it’s about the investigation of murdered magic users. If you read closely, or even not so closely, this should become patently obvious to you. The entire setup was a setup. I used a Christmas party as the setting. Azure thought she would just see Sveta and Klava there, but Mrs. Calloway was also attending. Can you see how delicious this situation is?
The attendance of Mrs. Calloway who is at odds with Azure provides multiple functions. Mainly, this gives me tension and release in the overall scene. The scene without this friction would still be entertaining, but with it becomes a cascade of excitement and energy. These things do happen in the real world, but they are few and far between. They are usually not as controlled, and they usually don’t result in big talk as much as just hurt feelings and ruined relationships.
In this scene, I get to bring Mrs. Calloway and Azure together in full knowledge, and I get to show their animosity and opposition. Lachlann is the catalyst. This is how you build and direct dialog to give entertainment and to get to the big talk. Not every dialog will have this degree of energy or emotion, but this is what we strive for in our writing. Plus, there are all kinds of secrets revealed and let lose in this dialog. I’ll give you the direct results next.
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.