29 April 2012, Development - and still more on Classical First Scene
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.
If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:
1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
a. Description of the character - introduction
b. Voice of the character
c. Continuing revelation by showing
In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.
Aegypt begins with the protagonist and should have a more exciting beginning. I've already confessed this slight fault with the novel. It is classically published and has attracted a good audience of readers. Two follow-ons are on contract. In spite of any shortcoming with the beginning scene, it has been successful. The problem is that if you evaluate the novel, I doubt you can find a better place to start it. You can't introduce the protagonist's helper or the antagonist. If you move to the next level of high action, you miss any of the buildup (in this novel, like most suspense novels, the buildup is very important).
There is some excitement and adventure in the first scene, but it could use a little more. I might have started the novel during the raid alluded to in the first scene. That would have probably been the best beginning, but I didn't, and the raid, except that it expresses the mental state of Paul Bolang, has no real importance in the novel. Remember, don't leave in anything extraneous.
So, I confessed again. Still, this is good for you to see. Writers should not be above critically reviewing their own works. There is no novel that is perfect; all can use improvement. The trick is to get it as perfect as possible.
I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.
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/.