27 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, more on Scene Outlines
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.
Here is the list for the use of storylines. In other words, whose storyline should you chose to follow in the plot:
1. Protagonist - presumed
4. Antagonist or protagonist's helper
The presumption is that you will write your scenes with the protagonist's storyline as the primary intersection with the plot. At some points you might want to write a scene that does not include the protagonist's storyline. The question is then, when should you consider these different storylines.
Let's look back at how to use a scene outline. In a scene outline, each scene has an input and an output. Each scene has a setting and tension and release development. So in writing a scene, I begin with the input and write the setting. I introduce the characters and set them in motion. The characters take the input from the preceding scene and continue through the tension and release until the end of the scene. The output of the scene becomes the input for the next scene.
Since I'm using Centurion as an example, I'll show how this works in the novel. The initial scene has an assumed input. This assumed input is that Abenadar's mother, Naomi, has been deserted by her Roman ambassador husband. She is pregnant and living outside of Nazareth. The setting is the well at Nazareth. Naomi goes to the well at noon and meets another pregnant woman. I should tell you that culturally, women did not go to the well at noon. They usually went in the cooler hours of the day--morning or evening. The fact that both went at noon means they didn't want to meet other women. The tension in the scene is that Naomi is pregnant by a Roman and being shamed by the people and that Miryam is pregnant and also being shamed. The output is that Miryam offers to visit Naomi. The next scene input is a visit from Miriam to Naomi. The setting is Naomi's shack. The tension is the reason Miriam is pregnant and the coming birth of Naomi's child. The output is about birth and midwives. The input of the next scene is the birth of Naomi's child. The setting is Naomi's shack. The tension is the birth of the child and about the birth of Miryam's child...and so on. Each scene provides an input from the previous scene and an output to the next scene.
Using a scene outline, every scene is directly connected to every other scene. The progression is logical in time and events. However, there are times when scenes don't connect directly and when they might not fall into the same sequence in time and space. I'll write about that 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/.