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.
A scene outline is a means of writing a novel where each scene follows the other with a scene input from the previous scene and a scene output that leads to the next scene. The scenes don't necessarily have to follow directly in time and place, however they generally follow the storyline of the protagonist.
A storyline outline is a means of writing a novel where the author develops a scene outline for more than one character and bases the plot on one or more of these storyline scenes. This allows the scenes to focus on more than the protagonist. This is a very difficult means of writing. There is a strong chance of confusing your readers.
Whether you write with a scene outline or a storyline outline, you must properly develop your scenes. All novels are developed from scenes and each scene has a design similar to a novel. Every successful novel has the following basic parts:
1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
Every scene has these parts:
1. The setting (where, what, who, when, how)
2. The connection (input)
3. The tension development
4. The release
5. The output
There are lots of approaches to scene setting. That means there are about a million plus ways you can set a scene. The main point is you have to clearly get across the where, when, who, what, and how.
When you introduce a character, spend at least 100 to 300 words introducing them to us. That introduction is a description of their features, movements, and clothing. If you read or reread Aksinya, you will see numerous times where I describe Aksinya and Natalya's clothing to you. I do this through conversation and description. The clothing changes with the days and the time of day. The reason for this is to give you an impression of the times and the way people dressed in those times.
What follows here is the introduction and scene setting for the scene where Aksinya meets her Aunt and Uncle. The important things to note are the intermeshed place setting and the words spent in describing Aksinya's Aunt and Uncle.
They made their way up the marble steps up to the large front door. The servant opened the great oaken portal and let them in.
They entered a wonderful and huge marble and statue lined entry that overlooked an enormous open ballroom. They stood in an unenclosed foyer bordered before them by a wide set of stairs that led down to the floor of the ballroom. On the other side of the ballroom, twin marble stairways led to the second floor. The stairways climbed into each other and joined then separated again and continued to the upper floor.
When Aksinya, Natalya, Asmodeus, and the servant entered, a host of maids descended on them. They took Aksinya’s fur and Natalya’s cloak. Aksinya then spotted a very well dressed man and a woman who had descended, unnoticed, to the center of the house’s converging stairways. Asmodeus stepped forward and called in a loud voice. His breath formed clouds in the frosty air, “May I announce, the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna and her lady-in-waiting, the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska.”
The man and woman made their way slowly down the steps. The moment Aksinya’s cloak had come off, she began to shiver. She had not eaten, and she was cold. The enormous room was chilly. She wondered automatically if the demon had anything to do with her sudden discomfort. He turned to her that moment and grinned. Aksinya caught a whiff of sulfur. She scowled back at him. She impatiently watched her uncle and aunt make their way to them. She certainly would not move. She was too cold, and she knew how these things worked. She had lived in this type of society all her life. It was a painful reminder of the life she thought she had left when her family died.
Her uncle and aunt finally made their way to the ballroom floor and stepped slowly across the ballroom. They made their way to the wide foyer steps and then up them. Her uncle stood before her and grasped her hand. His face was thin and well lined. Still, it seemed as jovial as Aksinya remembered it. She always thought he endeavored to convey a haughty appearance of aristocracy, but that attempt was constantly overwhelmed by his gentle features. He sported a wide mustache and a pointed beard. He put the unnecessary monocle, this time, in his left eye. He routinely forgot which eye was supposed to require it. This evening, he wore a fine woolen suit with coat and tails. He went to his left knee and touched her white-gloved hand with his lips. He spoke in German, “Countess, I am your uncle, Freiherr Herman Bockmann, and this is your aunt, the Freifrau Brunhilda Bockmann. I hope you remember us. I welcome you to our home, our estate here at Grossbock.” He stood and Aksinya’s aunt stepped forward. Aksinya had remembered her name was Brunhilda. Aksinya always thought that was so funny when she was a child. Freifrau Bockmann was tall and stout. She had a well endowed bosom and clothing that was just a little too small for her. Aksinya remembered her mother’s words about Aunt Brunhilda, “That her sister-in-law was always one season and one size out of style.” Aksinya couldn’t help but smile at the remembrance. Indeed, Aunt Brunhilda wore a silk dress of a bright summer hue. Yet, she wore it with grace. Aunt Brunhilda looked well in anything.
The point is simply that when you introduce your characters (setting the who) make sure you set the who. Show us about those characters. If you notice in this example from Akinsya, I gave you a lot of information from Akinsya's remembrance of her Aunt and Uncle. This is one method to show us about a character without telling.
I'll give you more examples, 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.centurionnovelthesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor, http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.