20 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, more on Storylines
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.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
All language is symbols. Therefore it shouldn't surprise you that your writing should include higher level symbols. What are higher level symbols? I mentioned before the cross as a symbol. The cross is a higher level symbol--a symbol that doesn't depend on language. Symbols can be ready made or author made symbols. Some symbols are a mix.
One of the ways authors keep complex plots and complex themes together is through the use of storylines to determine the plot and interweaving of the characters' lives. This is also a means to determine what to show and what not to show.
The point of storylines is this. In any novel, you don't show everything that happens to a major character or any character for that matter. Storylines are the entire life of a character. The part of a character's storyline you show in a novel is the plot.
If you are wise, you use the scene outline technique I wrote about before to design your scenes. The point is to have nothing extraneous in a novel. Everything must support the plot and theme and nothing can be out of place or extra. Using a scene outline and developing your novel by scenes is one of the cleanest methods to ensure excitement in every scene and to keep out extraneous writing. However, the scene method doesn't work for everyone. One of the reasons the scene outline doesn't work for everyone is that some people have problems keeping complex portions of characters other than the protagonist in balance and focused to the plot. Additionally, the scene outline method can produce great writing, but the writing tends to be ordered chronologically. Many times an author wants to vary the chronology of a novel scene development. Using storylines can be an effective method of plot and scene development. More, tomorrow.
There is much more to writing without confusing your readers. I'll write about that tomorrow. The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: Please elaborate on scene, theme, plot, character development in a new novel creation....ie, the framework, the development, order if operation, the level of detail, guidelines, rule of thumb, tricks, traps and techniques. To what extent do you outline the historic context, culture, mannerism, speech, dress and thought process of the main characters, in a historic novel...in order to maintain integrity, and gradually (help) reveal attributes of a character in the story, or otherwise clarify the plot, scene, transition, tension or resolution?
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.thefoxshonorhttp://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.