30 May 2018, 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 in the USA.
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.
Here is the beginning of the scene development method from the outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
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.
How do we gain the skills to write well? Let’s begin with reading. Reading allows us to understand the following:
- What a novel is.
- How a novel is constructed.
- How a novel is entertaining.
- How a novel is written.
- How novels have evolved.
- Different genre in novels.
If we understand what makes a novel entertaining, we can move on to how a novel is written.
This idea incorporates significant concepts about writing. First of all, the author must be a skilled reader. Second, the author must be a skilled writer. Third, the author must have an idea. Forth, the author must have the discipline to write a novel.
Brainstorming, lists, dreams, daydreaming, plot outlining, and all might produce ideas worth writing. How do we find an idea to write about?
To me, creative elements write the scene. I don’t need any ideas beyond them. But I know that won’t do for an explanation. I know you want some concrete explanation to help you develop ideas for a scene. I’ll do what I can.
Perhaps if we start with the setting elements, turn them into creative elements, and see how they might build an idea for a scene.
What about golf? Yesterday, I looked at specific cultural and social events like tea. These are wonderful means to create dialog and action. Until my latest novel, I always wanted to interject golf into a novel as a setting element which would automatically become a creative element.
Here is an example from my latest novel. I’m done with the first cut on this one. Notice how the golf moves from a setting element to a creative element and allows the characters to engage in action and conversation.
Ms. Davis tugged Azure toward the parking lot and her automobile. They arrived at the side of a Mercedes touring car. Ms. Davis jumped in the driver’s seat and Azure climbed in the passenger’s side. Ms. Davis drove out of the lot, past the automatic gate, it opened with her card, and headed down the M40.
Azure asked, “Where are we playing today?”
“Temple Golf Club.”
Azure rolled her eyes, “I hope you are paying the green fees. I’ll barely break even with our bet.”
“Come, come, Miss Wishart, you’ll make the junior fee by the second hole—unless you aren’t playing up to your usual strength today.”
Azure mumbled something under her breath.
Ms. Davis turned Azure a gentle glance, “Don’t worry, Miss Wishart. We are playing on the school’s golf club’s tab—you know this is another opportunity to recruit you.”
“I should have realized that.”
“How are your finances this year? That is one of my goals.”
Azure didn’t say anything.
“Come on tell me. Your uniform looks perfect, as always. You appear slightly pale, but you always look pale. You never look plump enough to me. Are you getting enough to eat?”
“That is a very personal question, Ms. Davis.”
“Of course it is personal. You still didn’t answer my question. Are you getting enough to eat?”
“I am eating well enough, thank you. The extra stipend from the scholarship has help improve my situation. I thank you for approaching the board on that account.”
“It was my pleasure. Our student body president and head girl can’t go around in an emaciated state—how would that look? I do wish you would accept a place in our boarding house.”
“I am helping with Pitt again this year. You would place me in the fifth and sixth form Clarence House. Plus, I have other commitments.”
“I know. You are living out somewhere in the country with a Ms. Highgate. You pedal here every morning for miles. All very commendable for an ordinary student, but you are not an ordinary student.”
“I intend to be an ordinary student.”
“My sweet girl, you are anything but an ordinary student. An ordinary student would be a border in my school.”
Azure spoke a little more forcefully than she meant to, “If this is an issue, you should return me immediately to the school. They will be looking for me and for you.”
“Tut, tut, dear. This is still an issue, but I will continue to let it stand, for now.”
Azure sat in silence for a moment.
Ms. Davis continued, “For today, you shall call me Pauline and I will address you as AR.”
“We are golfing. As always while we are golfing, you will refer to me as Pauline and I shall call you by your student nickname, AR. I thought I insisted before.”
“We are not on the links yet.”
“We will be soon enough.”
Ms. Davis drove into the parking lot of the Temple Golf Club. She stopped at the bag drop, and a caddy pulled their golf bags and push carts from the boot. Ms. Davis handed Azure her sport bag, and they headed into the woman’s changing room.
When they exited, Ms. Davis wore a striking tartan golf skirt and a dark green shirt. Azure wore a white skirt and shirt.
Ms. Davis looked her over, “Always white. Even so, you look splendidly in it. I’ve no idea how you keep everything looking so pristine.”
“Thank you, Pauline.”
Ms. Davis smiled, “On to the driving range. I see our bags.”
They headed to the driving range. Azure chose a station a little away from Ms. Davis so the lady couldn’t engage her in conversation right away. They moved to the pitching and then putting green. Ten minutes prior to their tee time, they pushed their carts and bags to the first link. The golf course was empty this early on a weekday morning.
Azure stood back, but Ms. Davis motioned her to the tee box, “Your honor, AR.”
Azure nodded. The first hole was a straight par four from a slightly elevated tee sloping down to the green. The course conditions looked perfect. The grass was freshly cut and the ground hard. Azure’s drive was slightly to the right and directly on the fairway. The hard low grass gave it a long rollout.
Ms. Davis groaned, “If you are playing that well, I might be a pauper by the end.” She hit her ball a little to the left and in the fringe of the fairway. It didn’t get much roll at all.
Azure’s second shot hit the green and Ms. Davis came up short.
Azure holed the ball in two putts. Ms. Davis boogied the hole for five. She marked the score sheet, “One for you, and I’m already one shot down.”
As they walked to the second tee, Ms. Davis asked, “Are you really sure you won’t join the golf club this year. We could really use your help. In addition, I have a little athletic scholarship money left over at this time.”
“Since when does Wycombe offer scholarships for athletics?”
Ms. Davis colored, “I really want you on the team. I could keep a better eye on you and ensure you are getting the attention you deserve.”
The second hole was a long par four that sloped up to a partially hidden green. It was the hardest hole on the course. Azure placed her ball on the tee, “Can you really afford to treat a student this way.” She lined up her shot and placed it well down the fairway in the middle.
Ms. Davis stepped up to the tee box, “If the student has the best grades in the entire school, is the student body president and head girl, and is the most mature young woman in the school, then yes, I can ensure her and the school’s best interests in just this way.” She hit her ball near the center but not as far as Azure’s.
They headed down the fairway.
Azure licked her lips, “Ms. Davis, Pauline, I really didn’t want to share this with you, but I am engaged in more than simply my school commitments. I don’t have much extra time for golf or other activities.”
“I know you are busy with all kinds of things. They are your little secrets, but I can make it worth your while.” She arrived at her ball and placed a shot nearly straight but short of the green.
Azure’s second shot was also a little short. Ms. Davis chipped up near the hole.
Azure putted from off the green and the ball rolled about six inches from the pin. Azure pulled the pin and tapped her ball in, “I hope you don’t mind. You are out.”
Ms. Davis waved, “I would have let you pick it up anyway. Nice putt.”
Ms. Davis two putted, “There’s another fiver I owe you.” She marked the score sheet.
They pushed their carts to the third hole, “Please consider my offer about the golf team.”
“I might be able to as long as I can play but without practicing with the team. Otherwise, the time commitment is just too much for me to handle.”
“I’ll speak to the coach and see what we can do. Will that be acceptable?”
Azure thought a moment. The third hole was a near straight par four. She teed her ball, “That is acceptable for now. The golf coach may not be as accommodating as you are.” She hit her drive straight down the fairway near the center.
Ms. Davis teed her ball. She placed it to the left of the fairway near the trees. “I’ll work out something with him. You don’t need to worry about it.”
They headed down the fairway, “But I do need to worry about it. I might not be able to meet your expectations or his.”
Ms. Davis punched her ball to the left of the green. Azure put it on the green near the pin.
Ms. Davis pitched her ball near the pin. Azure lined up her putt and birdied the hole. Ms. Davis two putted again. As she pulled her ball from the hole, she remarked, “You really are a silly girl. Every time I play golf with you, you shellac me. Do you imagine you can’t achieve these results in a competition?”
They headed to the fourth tee box.
The fourth hole was a long straight par five with trees on either side of the fairway. Azure drove her ball down the left hand side. Ms. Davis hit her ball near the center but not quite as long.
As they walked together toward their balls, Azure answered her, “Pauline, when I turned twelve, I was able to get a job as a ballboy for a course near my house. I took up the sport because I seemed to have a natural inclination, and I could get free advice on my game. I played when the course shut down in the evening—they let the caddies and the ballboys play then for free. As I improved, I found that I could increase my weekly earnings with a few bets here and there. Caddies, pros, and the other employees couldn’t image that a slip of a girl could ever beat them hole for hole. It was simple to find easy marks, and somehow I became good at the game. I worked there as a caddy for a while—that is after I became strong enough to carry a set of clubs for the golfers. I even won some side bets when the golfers asked to see me hit the ball. The only reason I took up the game was for the cash.”
“I see. Is that how you paid for your education?”
“Not really. I was always good at school. Scholarships are plentiful for those who study books as much as they study golf. Golf did pay my bills and kept food on the table.”
Ms. Davis hit her second ball out of the trees and into the fairway. Azure placed her ball again in the fairway well within striking distance of the green.
Ms. Davis’ third shot was short. Azure placed hers on the green. Ms. Davis chipped up on the green for a long putt.
When they reached the green, Ms. Davis asked, “What was your situation that as a girl, you had to pay for food and rent?”
“I’d rather not say. If you recognize my name, you know a little of the travail my parents might have experienced.”
Ms. Davis lined up her putt. She placed the ball close to the hole and two putted. Azure two putted.
Ms. Davis laughed, “Another fiver. I remember the affair vaguely. There was a Wishart who came under fire and who lost his family estate near here, I believe.”
As they pushed their carts toward the fifth hole Azure continued, “My mother died when I was five. My father never got over it. He was trying to hold onto the family estate and pay off the inheritance taxes. His pay would not cover that and feed us. Eventually, he embezzled some funds from the Crown, was caught and went to prison. The legal fees and fines took everything that was left in the estate. I had no living close relatives, at least none that wanted a little girl even one who could play golf. I was placed with a foster family near my old home. They were pleasant and helpful, but they couldn’t provide the lifestyle or the education I desired. I eventually received an open scholarship to Wycombe.” She laughed, “I worked for pocket money at a golf course there too.”
When they arrived at the fifth tee, Azure examined the hole. It was a par three with a hidden green that rose up from the tee box. She teed her ball and blasted a straight shot that ran up to the green but not quite on.
Ms. Davis hit her ball a little to the left and to the side of the green. As they pushed their carts to the green she remarked, “Then why don’t you take advantage of our boarding facilities. I could get you in and the school would pay.”
“I’ve been befriended by a person who is in need of my special skills. She is somewhat beholden to me. I have a place to live and a family of sorts.”
“A golf friend?”
Azure laughed, “Quite the contrary. A Victorian soul with as many problems as my father.”
Azure chipped her ball up to the cup. Ms. Davis pitched hers onto the green.
Azure putted her ball in one stroke and Ms. Davis two putted. She marked the score sheet.
They didn’t say anything as they moved to the sixth tee box. The sixth was a straight par four with trees on either side of the fairway. Azure blasted her ball on the left side of the fairway. Ms. Davis hit a strong drive to the right. Azure put her shot on the wide green and Ms. Davis hit on as well. They both two putted for par.
Ms. Davis marked the score sheet, “Even on that one. I’m still down a lot. What about this year. What are your plans?”
“In the student council, I plan to make the year eventful and fun just like the last.”
“You certainly achieved that. Are you going to put together the mystery games like last year?”
“I have some new cases in mind.”
“I hope not too many murder cases. Last year, I didn’t have any complaints but some of your mysteries were lurid. You didn’t get them from the papers, did you AR?”
Azure answered a little slowly, “Some of the best come right from the papers.”
“I understand. The girls enjoyed them. What about your other plans?”
They had arrived at the seventh tee. The hole was a par four slight right to left dogleg with the green hidden to the left. Trees bordered the left side of the fairway. Azure put her drive to the right on the fairway past a small copse of trees. Ms. Davis hit near her. As they walked down the fairway, the Thames valley was visible below them in the distance. They both stopped a moment to take in the view. When they continued, Ms. Davis hit her second shot into the left bunker, and Azure hit hers into the right bunker. They headed to the green. Azure hit out with a nice sand pitch near the pin. She knocked a one putt into the cup. Ms. Davis hit her sand shot over the green. She pitched it back on the green and two putted.
They walked toward the eighth hole tee box, “AR, you didn’t answer my question. What are your other plans for the year?”
“I’m not sure what you mean. My academic plans are to continue as your top student. I have other plans not so public.”
The eighth was a long par three with trees all along the left side. Azure hit a long ball that didn’t’ make it to the green. Ms. Davis knocked her ball to the left and hit a tree that threw the ball back into the short grass. Azure handily knocked her second ball onto the green but it left a long putt. Ms. Davis hit her ball again to the left into the rough. She pitched onto the green for a short putt, and they both finished with boogies.
The ninth hole was a long straight sloping par five. Azure boomed her drive on the right and the ball rolled neatly down the slope and toward the green. Ms. Davis hit to the left, but kept her ball on the fairway. Ms. Davis’ second shot also stayed on the left side of the fairway but trickled down near the rough. Azure’s second shot was clean and to the right. It rolled down the slope and down toward the green. Ms. Davis put her third hit on the edge of the green and Azure put hers right up near the pin. Azure made the short put, and Ms. Davis two putted.
Ms. Davis marked the score card, “Well AR, you golfed under par. How many times have you played this course?”
“This is the first time.”
Ms. Davis shook her head, “I’d hoped to find a course you hadn’t played before so I would achieve some advantage. I still find I’m poorer by far.” She held out her hand, and they shook, “I hope for a replay. How about next Monday?”
“Why not? At the moment, things should be going smashingly there. Here, I had an opportunity for private consultations with my favorite student, head girl, and the president of the student body. I may have put an ace on my golf team. I had a fun round of nine holes with a pleasant young lady. Is there anything better in this world?”
Azure blushed, “I didn’t know I was your favorite student.”
“Really, you couldn’t guess. Teachers long for a student who exceeds them in drive and determination. I like your style, and I like the way you interact in my school. You make it pleasant for the young girls and the older girls. They all look up to you. Without you there, I would have to work much harder.” She laughed, “I would very much like to continue to be your friend as well as your headmistress. You wouldn’t believe how important a girl like you can be for a school like ours. And if you repeat any of this, I shall disavow every word.”
Azure laughed too, “Thanks for the round and for the spending money. I’ll need cash for some new clothing this year.”
“Really, why is that?”
“Oh, for nothing in particular that I want to speak about.”
“Back to secrets then?”
“Always secrets, Pauline, always.”
They changed back to their school clothing, and Ms. Davis delivered Azure back to the campus. Azure went to her third class with a purse full of pounds.
Sorry, the example is a bit long, but point made. I think this shows how you can turn a setting element into a creative element and use it to reveal the protagonist and further the plot.
I’ll write more tomorrow.
For more information, you can visit my author site 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