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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 835, The Stage of the Novel, the Stage


24 July 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 835, The Stage of the Novel, the Stage

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  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 website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to 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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.  

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th novel.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. 

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. 

Scene development:

1.  Scene input (easy)

2.  Scene output (a little harder)

3.  Scene setting (basic stuff)

4.  Creativity (creative elements of the scene)

5.  Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)

6.  Release (climax of creative elements)

 

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.

 

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.

 

Let’s go back to the beginning.  I’ll use my newest novel as an example.  It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above.  Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play.  A novel is not a stage play or a screenplay, but the author should approach some aspects of the novel from this vantage point. 

 

In setting the stage of the novel follow my rules for writing 4a above:

 

4. Don't show (or tell) everything.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

 

In a play, the curtain opens to a set stage.  In a novel, the curtain opens to an empty stage—the author sets the stage.  In a play, the audience usually has a playbill with some information on the time and place and sometimes on the characters.  In a novel, the author must set everything.  This is why the setting is so critical.  I’ve mentioned more than once that I like to state the time and place at the beginning of my chapters.  That isn’t sufficient either, but it’s a start.

 

When the curtain of the novel opens, the stage is empty.  The author begins to place the framework of the world, then he adds detail—all the senses should become involved.  The setting must be sufficient and with enough detail to excite and fill the imagination of the reader.  If you remember, readers (and novelists) can only hold so many thoughts in their mind at a time.  The most difficult settings are those that are unworldly.  The best and easiest settings are those that are familiar. 

 

When I write a description, I start with a real place.  For example, when I describe a kitchen, I start with a real kitchen from the time and place.  If the place is out of this world, I still start with the known and move to the unknown.  This is an important and related idea—let’s stick with the known.

 

As I wrote, when I write a description, I start with a known.  So for a kitchen or a living room or a house, I start with a real place.  If I need something more special, I actually draw a floorplan.  I’ve made so many real floorplans in my life, I can actually make one in my mind.  So, here is my concept for setting.  I take a real place and describe it on paper.  I try to make the descriptions entertaining and realistic.  At the same time, I fit them into what I need for my novel.  The stage begins empty and the starting point is the known—this makes things easy.  This covers the space, what about time?  

 

More tomorrow.


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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 834, The Stage of the Novel, Secrets


23 July 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 834, The Stage of the Novel, Secrets

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  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 website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to 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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.  

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th novel.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. 

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. 

Scene development:

1.  Scene input (easy)

2.  Scene output (a little harder)

3.  Scene setting (basic stuff)

4.  Creativity (creative elements of the scene)

5.  Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)

6.  Release (climax of creative elements)

 

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.

 

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.

 

Let’s go back to the beginning.  I’ll use my newest novel as an example.  It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above.  Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play.  A novel is not a stage play or a screenplay, but the author should approach some aspects of the novel from this vantage point. 

 

In setting the stage of the novel follow my rules for writing 4a above:

 

4. Don't show (or tell) everything.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

 

Let’s talk a little about secrets.  I don’t know where the idea came about that normal novels don’t have secrets.  All novels are the revelation of secrets.  The reason for this is that every novel is the revelation first of the characters and second of the plot.  The characters and the plot are unknown by the readers at the beginning of the novel.  The author reveals the characters—that’s what a novel is all about.  Because the characters are revealed, the protagonist life in the novel and telic flaw is revealed.  This revelation of life and telic flaw is the plot. 

 

A novel is first entertaining, second a revelation of the characters, and third a revelation of the plot.  The revelation of the characters and the plot are supposed to be the entertaining parts.  This is why with great novels, readers say, “I loved the characters.”  With mediocre novels, a reader might say, “I enjoyed the plot, or the ending was unexpected.”  What else is a reader going to say when they don’t like the characters much?  When I read a novel, I want to love the characters.  Even if the plot and theme is a little stinky.  If the characters are great—the novel is great. 

 

You want an example?  I had a chance to do some intensive reading to clear out my pile.  I wanted light reading so I picked up some YA novels I was interested in.  The first was the Maximum Ride novels.  These are novels about children who were modified with animal DNA to have animal and superhuman characteristics.  In the case of Maximum Ride (a girl) and her flock, they are avian humans.  The character of Maximum Ride is wonderful.  She is a pathetic character who is a leader.  Remember, female, young, not helpless but persecuted are great pathetic characters.  The characters are rich and raw plus fun.  The plot, not so much.  So much deus ex machina I can barely stand it.  They win the lottery every time.  Plus, when they need a new skill, they magically have a new skill.  The plot is puke, but the characters are wonderful.  The author keeps up this pouty smart-mouthed dialog with the girl Maximum that is really creative and interesting.  So, in these novels, you have great characters and pretty terrible plots.  On the other hand, I also read Richard Riordan’s YA novels about Egyptian god-kids.  The characters are okay, but the plot isn’t too bad.  Still a bunch of deus ex machina and a stupid end of the world theme.  Really, how many times must the world be at the brink before someone begins to write about people and not the end of the world?  The characters are pretty weak and whimpy, but the plot turns and the tension and release in the novel drives it well. 

 

These are typical YA novels today.  The writing isn’t great, but the storylines and characters are fantastic to okay.  They show what an author can do with strength in carefully revealed characters and plot.  

 

More tomorrow.


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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 833, The Stage of the Novel, more Setting the Stage


22 July 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 833, The Stage of the Novel, more Setting the Stage

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  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 website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to 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.

All novels have five discrete parts:

1.  The initial scene (the beginning)

2.  The rising action

3.  The climax

4.  The falling action

5.  The dénouement

The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.  

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th novel.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. 

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. 

Scene development:

1.  Scene input (easy)

2.  Scene output (a little harder)

3.  Scene setting (basic stuff)

4.  Creativity (creative elements of the scene)

5.  Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)

6.  Release (climax of creative elements)

 

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.

 

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.

 

Let’s go back to the beginning.  I’ll use my newest novel as an example.  It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above.  Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play.  A novel is not a stage play or a screenplay, but the author should approach some aspects of the novel from this vantage point. 

 

In setting the stage of the novel follow my rules for writing 4a above:

 

4. Don't show (or tell) everything.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

 

At the least, the author should show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.  Perhaps we should give some insight to what is the stage of the novel.  The stage of the novel is specifically the point of view (POV) of the novel at the moment of the writing.  In most novels and most scenes, this is the POV of the protagonist.  In third person novels, the POV can move around.  This is a good technique for showing more than the protagonist can know or see without moving into telling.  The author should always show the reader everything important to the plot and theme of the novel that is evident on the stage of the novel.

 

On the other hand, note rule four: don’t show everything.  A novel isn’t a data dump.  A novel is a focused collection of scenes that drive to a climax.  Nothing extraneous is allowed in a novel.  I have no problem with obfuscation, but I do have a problem with meaningless catharsis.  Additionally, secrets should abound in all novels.  Novels are ultimately about the unveiling of secrets.  This is true of all novels.  There are secrets the protagonist knows and doesn’t share.  There are secrets the other characters know and don’t share.  There are secrets from the characters and secrets from the readers.  Everyone, like in real life carries secrets—sometimes to the grave. 

 

For example, Oliver Twist is a novel about discovering the secret background of Oliver Twist.  Treasure Island is about the unveiling of the secrets of the pirates, the island itself, and the protagonist’s background.  All novels are about secrets even if it is as simple as the revelation of the plot.  The plot (rising action and the climax) are both unknowns to the readers (and usually to the characters).  As the plot builds, the storyline is revealed—you could write (and I do) that the secrets of the plot are revealed.  No matter how mundane the novel might be, every novel is about the revelation of the characters and the plot.

 

Every character has secrets to hide and every plot has secrets to reveal—if this weren’t true, what would be the fun of reading a novel?  

 

More tomorrow.


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