20 October 2012, Development - Initial Settings
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.
You have a creative idea which you turned into a theme. You focused that theme and defined characters from it. From the development of the characters, you defined the initial setting of the novel. Let's look at the last in terms of an exercise and a means of developing the first scene.
Notice, I haven't really said much about the plot yet. The development (definition) of your major characters (protagonist, antagonist, and protagonist's helper) gives you potential settings and beginning storylines. From the theme for Aksinya, the initial point where the protagonist's and the antagonist's storylines intersect is the perfect point to begin the novel. The setting is provided from Aksinya's storyline.
Let me refresh you on storylines. Every character has a storyline that runs from the beginning of their life until the end of their life. In most novels, the protagonist's storyline is also the plot. The intersections of the other character's storylines with the protagonist is the overall plot. Those storylines are occurring in the background all the time, they run in parallel even when they don't intersect with the storyline of the protagonist.
In Aksinya, the storyline of the demon begins at some point when he was created. The storyline of Aksinya begins with her birth. Everything from the point of the demon's creation and from Aksinya's birth are undoubtedly interesting, but won't necessarily make a great novel. The initial intersection of their storylines is the point where Aksinya calls the demon. From her storyline, this is also in the guesthouse of her family's estate. I could have selected another setting and beginning, but that wouldn't have resulted in as powerful a novel.
As an exercise, outline the storylines of your major characters from birth to death (or some point in the novel). Note where the storylines first intersect. That will usually give you a good beginning for your setting and plot.
I'll write more about this tomorrow, but the theme should define the major characters which defines the potential settings of the novel. That is especially evident from the examples of my science fiction novels.
More on turning your themes into plots tomorrow.
My Notes: once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, focus your theme, and define your characters. More tomorrow.
I'll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.
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.
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, http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.