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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Answers to Some Questions, Number 2

15 November 2012, Answers to Some Questions, Number 2

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

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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.

Place is the obvious next place we go in scene setting. I'll take some time to answer the following questions from one of my readers. Questions in blue, answers in black:

I was trying to systematically review your writing installments, and organize them w/in the context of 'Elements of Literature', (Plot, Setting, Theme, Characterization, Point of View, etc.) and I had couple of questions:
2. W/in Setting: How important vs detrimental, is it for the action to changes form one place/time, to another, during the early,middle & ending of a novel. Is there a rule of thumb, or is that subject, depending on story, plot, style, scene & theme?
If you note the outline for a novel below:
1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement

The author has the greatest scope for change in time and place during the rising action.  If your novel is going to have great changes in time and place, this is the place to do it.  The beginning must be cohesive, but once that scene is done, you can go anywhere with the novel. 

As you move toward the climax, you should find the novel plot becoming like a funnel.  The plot should be moving in a very singular direction where the only resolution (or the resolution you choose) is the one forced by the climax.  The falling action and the dénouement are usually closely held with the climax.  Rarely does a novel move far in time or place in the climax, falling action, or the dénouement. 

Aksinya is a great example of this.  The novel moves smartly in time and space from the beginning scene to the first climax.  The falling action has very little movement or time change until the second climax.  The dénouement is really a postscript with a great deal of time and place changing.

You can imagine a novel expanding in the rising action and contracting in the climax, falling action, and the dénouement.

3. Theme: Do you think themes ought to be subtle or obvious? Is it best communicated by one character or by the text in other ways. In other words, do you express it directly (or nearly directly, up-front, say w/in first 10% of novel) or do you want the reader to gradually learn of it through the trails adn tribulations of the main character, through the characterizatio of plot, setting & point of view? Do you think the author's underlying theme is always, nor nearly always tied to his/her world view?

4. Characterization: (Agent, Who): We know characterization is generally made up of three elements, appearance, personality & behavior. Can one rank their relative importance, and do you have a rule of thumb of how you go about developing it. Also, do you make use of stock characterization, or common types or not? I know you get very sophisticated in presenting character detail in many forms (physical feature, clothing, possession, communication, etc.) ; do you every consider that your audience doesn't have the literary knowledge, memory or intellect to grasp your character, gets lost in the detail. How do you guard against it; your novel, for example was very complex.

Just a few questions. Thanks in advance. And, may I briefly add, I have certainly enjoyed reading your postings on the art of writing, and apologize if I'm asked Q's that you've already covered in the past. If so, I must have missed those particular installments, or more likely, was looking for a bit more elaboration, should you care to provide it. :)

I'll answer more, 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, 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:, and the individual novel websites:,,, http://www.thefoxshonor,

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