30 April 2012, Development - an example of a 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.
The beginning of my published novel, The Fox's Honor, introduces the protagonist and the protagonist's helper. The novel is a romance as well as a romantic novel. Although it quickly delves into action, the first scene action in The Fox's Honor is a kiss and a confession of love. There is a degree of excitement and entertainment in that. Although The Fox's Honor is not a story about love, it starts out strongly in a romance atmosphere. If anything, The Fox's Honor is about forbidden love with lots of space combat thrown in. Don't stop reading--I'll explain.
The protagonist, Prince Devon Rathenberg, declares his love to the Lady Tamar Falkeep. The problem is that Devon plans to die in a duel that night, and his rank makes any thought of marriage with Tamar unthinkable. Pretty strong beginning for a novel. The set up is really fun.
Here's today's point, in the first scene of a novel, you must set up the entire novel. If you have developed your characters properly and sufficiently, the novel will flow out of them. You must also pick a beginning scene that encapsulates the power of the novel and the characters. There are a lot of places I could have started The Fox's Honor: Devon's leave-taking from the Imperial Planet, Tamar at school, etc. None of these would have the excitement or the power of the current beginning where Devon declares his love and then runs off to die. He doesn't die; Tamar saves him. And...so begins Prince Devon Rathenberg's greatest problem--he engages himself with a woman he would not be allowed to marry, but a woman who is already known as a powerful political manipulator. It's a fun novel.
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/.