2 December 2016, this blog is about writing in scenes. I’m focusing on the tools to build scenes. I’ll leave up the parts of a novel because I think this is an important picture for any novelist. I’m writing about how to begin and write a novel.
- The initial scene
- The rising action
- The Climax
- The falling action
- The dénouement
Announcement: Ancient Light has been delayed due to the economy. Ancient Light includes Aegypt, Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. If you are interested in historical/suspense literature, please give my novels a try. You can read about them at http://www.ancientlight.com. I’ll keep you updated.
Today’s Blog: The skill of using language comes from the ability to put together figures of speech that act as symbols in writing.
Short digression: Back on the tarmac at Wichita.
Here are my rules of writing:
- Entertain your readers.
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
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.
- Scene input (easy)
- Scene output (a little harder)
- Scene setting (basic stuff)
- Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
- Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
- Release (climax of creative elements)
First step of writing—enjoy writing. Writing is a chore—especially if you don’t know what you are doing, and you don’t know where you are going. Let me help you with that.
Suspension of reality requires the following:
- Strong initial paragraphs
- Strong initial scene
- Well-developed characters
- Well written
- Appropriately written
- No distractors
- Language power
- Well-developed theme
Here is the development of a secondary/tertiary character–that is, Beth Shear. Beth is the Education Master in the third novel of this series (the Ghost Ship Chronicles: Regia Anglorum). Notice, she has a name, a title, a pedigree, a history with Natana, and soon a history with Nikita. She is just meeting Nikita and becoming reacquainted with Natana. Her interaction with both further develops her character—that’s the point of this example. Just take a look—I gave you part of the scene:
Natana and Nikita entered the Master’s office. There they found a slightly rotund woman who looked very competent, but very kind. Natana liked her right away. She should have known her name, but she didn’t remember until the woman said it. Natana held out her hand, “Hello, I’m Natana Protania.”
The woman laughed, “Hi Natana. You don’t remember me, do you? I was your Training Master on the Twilight Lamb. It hasn’t been that long, but I’ll remind you. I’m Beth Shear, Elizabeth’s mom.” She laughed again, “Elizabeth and I really do have the same name.”
Natana mumbled something, then clearly she stated, “Well, Master Shear…”
“Beth to you, dear. You are the First Office, now.”
“Beth…I would like to introduce, Nikita Protania.” Nikita stepped forward. She didn’t say anything.
“Yes, she is part of our family.”
“The Captain’s family…”
“Yes, she is from El Rashad and hasn’t had any formal training.”
“Oh…,” Master Shear drew out the word, “I think I understand.”
Nikita pronounced, “I don’t understand anything.”
Natana frowned at her, but changed her expression quickly.
Master Shear came around the desk, “Yes, the first step is always the tests.”
“Tests? Like exams. Do I get to take the apprentice exams?” cried Nikita.
“No, dear. You get to take our placement tests so we can find which class is right for you. I haven’t had to use them in so long. We’ll just use a random battery from all our grade level tests, and see how you do.”
Master Shear led Nikita to a study room and set up the tests. The Training Master gave Nikita instructions, and Natana added her own encouragement. Then the adults returned to Master Shear’s office. Master Shear waved at the chair in front of her desk, “Have a seat Natana.” She sat behind her desk, “Let me get us some coffee and a snack. It will take Nikita a while to get through the exam I gave her.”
When they both had coffees and a sweet roll in their hands, Master Shear started, “Really, Natana, she looks like she hasn’t had anything to eat in a long time.”
“Who else would I mean?”
“I’ve kind of gotten used to it. She’s malnourished.”
“The tests will tell us something of that. She’s psyonic?”
“Yes, how could you tell?”
“Because you are doting on her, dear. That’s why you brought her to the ship and adopted her. You and Den are a little young for parents of a girl that age. How old is she anyway?”
“Dieter says twelve standard but eight or nine by physical maturation.”
“Ah, due to malnutrition.”
“She really is small and light weight. If she tests high we’ll have a problem, and if she tests low we’ll have a problem.”
“She’s so small that if she tests high, all the children will be much larger than she is. If she tests low, she’ll be among children much less mature than she is.”
Natana pushed her hair away from her face, “Under those criteria, I don’t see much scope for her.”
Master Shear smiled, “Don’t worry dear. I’ve already thought it through and I think I know what to do with her in any case.”
“That’s good. Will you tell me?”
“Not until I get the test results back. I want to hear directly from you about the taking of the Regia. Could you enlighten me?” They spent a few hours in conversation about the Twilight Lamb and their new ship.
Well before Master Shear expected her, Nikita knocked on the office door. Master Shear stood and went to open the door before Natana could get to it. When she opened it, there stood Nikita, “Hello, Nikita Protania, did you have a question. Are you having a problem with the test?”
“No, Master Shear, I’m finished with it.”
“Finished with it?” Master Shear chuckled. “That was quick. Well then let’s see how you did. Take a seat beside Natana. There you go.”
Master Shear sat in her chair and activated the privacy screen in front of her monitor. She punched keys on her computer and made notations on the screen. After a little while, she leaned back and turned around, “Nikita, could I ask you to take a seat on the bench outside my office. I wish to speak to your, ah, guardian alone.”
Nikita glanced at Natana and cocked her head. Natana made a gesture and Nikita went out the door and shut it.
Master Shear leaned across her desk toward Natana, “Can she read us?”
“If she wants.” “Tell her not to.”
Natana did. She gazed at Master Shear, “Mast…Beth, did she bomb it that badly?”
“No, you’ve got to be kidding. She almost maxed it out.”
“Maxed it out?”
“She scored almost perfectly except on the historical section and a few questions here and there. Pretty amazing. You don’t think she could be using psy to answer the questions somehow?”
Natana shook her head, “She didn’t get them all right. She learned everything she knows by reading papers—there isn’t a lot of history in newspapers. She is a synthesist…”
“It’s true, she did miss a few. Still…”
“I don’t think she is ready for the apprentice exams…you know in maturity.”
“Exactly. That’s why I have the perfect solution for now.”
“You planned this already.”
“Told you I did. The moment I saw her. The test just confirms it for me.”
“Well, where will you place her?”
“I have a triple of specials taught by Mary Polar.”
“Yes, your old teacher. It’s the same triple you were in.”
“But Mary is the Master of Services on this ship.”
“That may be true, but she taught the second shift triple class on the Twilight Lamb for over fifteen years. I expect her to be teaching the class on the Regia longer than that.”
“But then she wasn’t the Master of Services on the Lamb.”
Master Shear slitted her eyes, “Are you going to tell your Master of Services that, or is the Captain?”
“Don’t, oh Beth me. She is one of our best teachers. You should know, Natana.”
“I do know.”
“She’ll be perfect for Nikita. Just as she was for you. Her triple includes years eleven through thirteen. They are all specials.”
Master Shear stared at Natana with incredulity, “Oh, sorry, I forgot, you haven’t been to the early school briefings. You haven’t started a child in the ship school yet. If you had, you would know that certain children, for many reasons, are labeled specials. They might be very bright or very skilled. They might have some specific disabilities or peculiarities—or all of these. You were a special, Natana.”
“Really? I didn’t know.”
“Good, that means our system is working very well. We don’t tell them. You were a special because of your mathematic skills, genius, and of course psy. We knew you were going to be an astrogator and a psychologist. Your training was designed by Master Polar to prepare you for those roles.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Nikita is obviously a special. What do you think she will need preparation in?”
“You might as well train her like you did me. I think those may be her skills too.”
“Now, tell me about her. Issues? Problems? Medical?”
I gave you a longer part than I needed because I wanted you to catch the nuance and power in the introduction and development of this secondary character. In this scene, through the conversation, you learn about Beth Shear, you learn about Natana, you learn about Nikita, and you learn about the way the Family Traders educate their children. That is the major point. I am showing you how the Family Traders educate in their school system. I am not trying to make a judgement or determination or present a school system in the sense of a theme or concept—I am simply showing you the school system the Family Traders use. I thought this would be the type of system that would fit for the Family Traders and their environment. The conversation shows you about it. The secondary character Beth Shear reveals it to you. In addition to helping reveal Nikita and Natana, Beth helps the reader see the details of the Family Trader schools. Soon Nikita will be experiencing that school system. She will experience it on another ship as well. This is a powerful means of developing and using a character.
I’ll write more tomorrow.
For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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