31 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, more Experimental 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.
The truly experimental nature of the first two novels in The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox is the use of a shared set of scenes. The End of Honor and The Fox's Honor both share a scene. This scene is a critical one to each novel. It is not the climax of either novel, but it is the scene that leads to the climax of both. You can understand how experimental this is if you consider the nature of a scene outline. The inputs and outputs of the scenes led to a shared scene. In other words, a scene outline is so versatile that multiple plots can be generated with similar (or dissimilar) inputs and outputs. This should be expected--no two writers will write the same scene even with the same inputs and outputs.
Let me describe this scene and its ramifications a little and how the inputs and outputs can be the same. I think this understanding will show how other storylines interweave in the plot especially with a scene outline.
The protagonist of The End of Honor is Prince John-Mark. The protagonist of The Fox's Honor is Prince Devon Rathenberg. By the way, John-Mark is the Dragon, and Devon is the Fox. Both characters are in the books, but they are the protagonists of the respective books. The shared scene is the scene where the rebellious houses of the Landsritter have decided to attack the forces of the loyal houses. In the scene prior, Devon Rathenberg, who was thought to be dead, returns to the rebellious houses and is coerced to become their leader and prince reagent. Prince John-Mark must step down as the leader and the prince regent for this to happen. The scenes leading up to the shared scene are not the same, one is from the PoV (Point of View) of John-Mark and the other is from the PoV of Devon.
This is the entire point of the use of storylines to drive the plot, I'll explain further 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/.