12 March 2012, Development - more Tension and Release in the First Scene
Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.
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 picture developed for the novel is turned into action within the first scene through the use of tension and release. An important question is this: can a novel have action without tension and and release? Yes it can, but it shouldn't. For example, I could have built up the picture of Aksinya and Asmodeus and then simply had them walk around and talk to each other. Is there any tension (that perhaps depends on what they do and talk about), but theoretically, they could just speak of banalities and just "walk around." This would be neither entertaining or exciting, but it isn't far from what many writers do. It isn't enough to have good characters in a great setting with fantastic potential; you must set them in motion with tension and release in every scene.
Simply put, the tension is what makes the novel entertaining and exciting--what makes it worth reading. The release is what naturally occurs in proper development of a scene. If there is no tension, you need to add it. If there is no release, you have improperly handled the tension. Look, it is really difficult for me to imagine a scene without tension, but I have read examples (I've probably written examples in the past--far past, I hope). Likewise, it is difficult for me to imagine tension without release, but I'm certain someone has done it.
What is more important is this--if you recognise the pattern of tension and release in the scenes, you can properly address them in your writing.
We'll look more at the first scene in the creative process in Aksinya tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.