1 September 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, even 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.
I'm describing the experimental shared scene in my novels from The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. In The End of Honor Prince John-Mark is the protagonist, and in The Fox's Honor Prince Devon Rathenberg is the protagonist. 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 point. The storylines and PoV of the input scenes are different. It should go without saying that the output of the shared scene is the same, but the storylines and PoV of the scene following the shared scene are different. In The End of Honor, the protagonist, John-Mark provides the PoV and the storyline while in The Fox's Honor, Devon Rathenberg, the protagonist, provides the PoV and the storyline.
In fact, the succeeding scene in The End of Honor is of John-Mark with the fleet planning the attack on the loyalist houses. The succeeding scene in The Fox's Honor is of Devon Rathenberg planning how to rescue his wife and his county. I just gave you an enormous hint as to the themes of both books. In The End of Honor, the theme is about people whose honor leads them to make bad decisions that results in the loss of everything they hold dear--yet they are willing to uphold honor even if it destroys everything they love. In The Fox's Honor, the characters still hold to the same honor, but are willing to give up their lives for what they hold dear. The themes are different, the novels both share the same scene, but the results of that scene lead the two protagonists down entirely different paths.
This is the beauty of using storylines to drive the plot and uphold the theme, 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/.