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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Writing - part x411, Developing Skills, Reading

21 February 2018, Writing - part x411, Developing Skills, Reading

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.
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 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.  The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.  
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School
 
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective
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 29:  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 30:  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 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:  Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel. 

To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first.  Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much.  I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction. 

The first skill you must have is reading.  When I write “reading,” I don’t mean that you just can read—I mean that you read.  Every good to great writer I know is a reading machine.  I literally have three or more books going at once.  I read every opportunity I get.  If you aren’t this type of reader, you will not have much chance as a writer. 

Reading is necessary to give you examples of good writing and to provide ideas for plots.  You aren’t going to get many ideas from technical writing.  I’ll give you that if you write science fiction that scientific writing and papers might give you ideas.  However, the main way you will learn to be a better writer is by reading fiction and you should be reading great fiction. 

Great fiction I will define as fiction that is a classic and entertaining.  Classic is that it is more than fifty years old, and entertaining is that you enjoy reading it.  Let me put in a caveat—if you don’t enjoy, for example, Dickins or Austin, the problem isn’t Dickins or Austin, the problem is you.  You must have the reading skills and vocabulary to understand and enjoy a certain level of literature.  Unless you are at that level, don’t even contemplate expanding into writing. 

I’ll also mention a “fake” classic.  James Joyce is not an entertaining or even cogent writer.  His works are not classics.  If you enjoy reading Joyce, you are a liar or a fool.  Joyce is like the Emperor without any clothes.  If you remember that the purpose of fiction is to entertain, you will immediately see why Joyce is not good fiction.  It is just jumbled incoherent and boring writing.  A monkey could do better. 

Back to great literature.  Sir Walter Scott and especially Ivanhoe is a great classic.  As we move into the Twentieth Century, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Herbert, Vance, Faulkner, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and all should be on your reading lists.  This isn’t exclusive, but remember, we are looking for classics and entertaining.  Tolkien isn’t that great of a writer.  He is entertaining, but his works have way too much telling. 

You are reading for ideas and for examples—those are negative examples as well as positive ones.  I have rarely if ever read a perfect novel.  I have read some really great examples of finely crafted novels.  Let me recommend Dragonsong and Dragonsinger as great examples of very entertaining and well-crafted novels.  The final novel in the group, Dragondrums is an example of a not very well put together novel.  Compare and contrast the three and see the power of great fiction and not so great fiction. 

The point, you must be a strong reader and an avid reader if you want to be a strong writer.  Start reading.  Get your reading experience and skill down, and you can move to the next step—writing.   

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Writing - part x410, Developing Skills

20 February 2018, Writing - part x410, Developing Skills

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.
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 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.  The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.  
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School
 
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records.  I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective
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 29:  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 30:  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 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:  I cleaned up the introductory information a little.  I was acquiring too much extra verbiage.  I hate to take out the outlines I developed to help you design a plot, but so it goes.  Based on where we ended up yesterday, I’m going to move to a slightly different subject. 

Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work.  I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words.  That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels.  When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel. 

If you want to be a scientist, you must excel in school for twelve years, be accepted to a good university, study and work for at least four years in science, graduate, and find a job in your field.  You won’t be a fully qualified scientist for a few years after that.  If you proceed to a higher level of science education, you will need to invest even more of your life in university. 

Let’s face it, in any field of endeavor, you must work hard for a long time to achieve success.  Think music, dance, acting, sports, and add those to science or engineering.  In any field, a person must work hard and apply themselves.  If you want to be an author, the same is true.

Let’s break this down a little.  You must plan to be a writer.  Let’s make a plan.  I’ll assume you have absorbed the common skills an exemplary student learned about writing from kindergarten through high school.  I’ll further assume you learned technical and basic writing through university.

If you didn’t, you might need some extra classes and work.  You must get to a level of reading and writing skill that allows you to plan to write fiction.  The first step is the basics of reading and the second is the basics of writing.  Perhaps we should look at reading first.

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

Writing - part x409, Novel Form, Designing a Plot, Is there More?

19 February 2018, Writing - part x409, Novel Form, Designing a Plot, Is there More?

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.
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 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.  The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.  
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School
 
Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 28th novel, working title School.  If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that).  I adjusted the numbering.  I do keep everything clear in my records. 
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 29:  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 30:  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.

This is the classical form for writing a successful 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 (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)
d.      Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (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
              
The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together.  The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw.  They are inseparable.  This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel. 

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

1.      The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
2.      The Rising action scenes
3.      The Climax scene
4.      The Falling action scene(s)
5.      The Dénouement scene
             
So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene?  Let’s start from a theme statement.  Here is an example from my latest novel:

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.

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
          
If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

With a protagonist, a telic flaw, a theme statement, and an initial setting, I’m ready to begin a novel.  I’ll move to the telic flaw for the novel.  Since I am going to provide the first chapter as a teaser any way, I might as well show you the initial scene.

Here is the theme statement as a reminder:

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.

With a single scene—the initial scene (along with the characters, setting, and the telic flaw), you have enough to write an entire novel.  This was the wonderful discovery I made by the time I wrote my eighth novel. 

Today:  If I have a romantic character who is pathos building, I can build a plot based on the revelation of the protagonist.  This is flat out how I write a novel.  I do want to write a little more about protagonists and characters in general. 

Here’s what I’m trying to do for you.  I’d like to give you ideas that help you develop a plot.  In the first technique, we used a protagonist, a setting, and a theme idea to build an initial scene.  This is my chosen technique for writing a novel. 

The second idea I presented you was zero to hero.  We design a protagonist worth writing about and project the zero of the protagonist and the hero of the protagonist.  We develop a telic flaw for the protagonist and the novel.  Then we write the protagonist to a zero and then to a hero while resolving the telic flaw.  Easy as pie.

There are also a couple of other means of plot development.  I don’t recommend them, but they exist.  That is the short story and the scene expansion method. 

Are there any other methods to develop a plot?  Let’s go way back—I gave an entire seminar in this blog on developing ideas and the use of imagination.  This was basically a treatise on how to generate ideas.  What I am trying to do now is give you easy and straightforward ways to develop a plot.  I started with my preferred method for writing a novel—that’s basically this outline which I moved from above.        

In writing thirty novels, this is what I’ve discovered about developing a plot:

1.       Protagonist and setting are used to design an exciting and entertaining
2.      Initial scene which provides a
3.      Scene output and a theme question based on the telic flaw of the protagonist
a.      The scene output leads to the next scene
b.      The theme question provides a basis for the plot
4.      The scene outline provides the continuing scenes and the theme question focuses the plot
5.      Resolving the theme question (telic flaw) resolves the plot

I write entire novels starting with this general outline.  This is what I call designing a plot from a character—the protagonist. 

I went on to show you the zero to hero method of plot development.

1.      Develop a great protagonist (romantic and pathetic)
2.      Determine a zero point for the protagonist
3.      Determine a hero point for the protagonist
4.      Figure a means (plot) to get the protagonist first to zero and then to hero
5.      Determine a telic flaw that conjoins the plot and the protagonist’s development from zero to hero

This method also starts with the protagonist and expands from there.

I went on to show you how to use short story ideas and how to expand scenes to develop plots.  Both of these rely on stuff or storylines to start a plot.  The question is who else might we discover a plot for our writing?  Let me refer back to Shakespeare.  Shakespeare notoriously used old reliable plot staples and turned them into something new through his skilled use of the English language.  In other words, you don’t need a great plot to tell a great story.  Or better, you don’t need a completely radically new or unique plot idea to write a novel.

Writing itself is a skill, an art, and a craft.  The plot is simply a part of that whole.  Just as I have been writing over and over—the initial scene is the most important scene.  This means the climax of the plot is just not as important.  The rising action is important, but not as important as the initial scene.  This means you could have a terrible plot and still produce a great novel.  I’m thinking Harry Potty, the Sparkly Vampires, and Star Bores (Star Wars).  No one would imagine that Star Wars has any kind of good plot.  The plot is terrible and repetitive.  There is no good in it.  What makes Star Wars any kind of enjoyable is the characters and the stuff (mostly special effects).  Shakespeare would not necessarily approve—not with the cheesy lines in Star Wars, but the simple, almost inane plots are not the major drivers of the show.

If you understand this, you can easily build a novel and at plot, you just have to stick with it.  In fact, one of the major sticking points people tell me about is that they started to write a novel and got to a certain point and couldn’t continue.  I understand that.  The difference in success at writing is either the ability to push through and or the ability to realize the lack of excitement in your characters.  The characters are the important part, not necessarily the plot.

I’m not sure I can express this any stronger.  It is always the characters and their interaction that produces an enjoyable novel.  The plot is almost secondary to this.  If people enjoy (love) your characters, they are interested in the characters—the plot then simply becomes the revelation of the characters (mostly the protagonist) and their interaction.  This is the true entertainment in the writing…, and entertainment is the only purpose for fiction writing.   

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