27 November 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, more Who
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.
Your two great tools as a writer are narrative and conversation. The narrative is the description and the usual manner for scene setting. Scene setting can also be accomplished through conversation, but it is less common and more difficult. It also doesn't make as much sense. I occasionally set parts of a scene through conversation, but the best method is to just crank it out at the beginning.
An author should be cautious not to use some kind of template that sounds like a template when setting the scene, but all the elements need to be in the scene setting.
We looked at setting the time and the place. The next big element is the "who"-- the characters in the scene. What we are talking about here is character description. All description has declined significantly in good writing, but of all the description that is missing, it is character description. Why people forget character description more than any other description--I have no idea. I do know that one author explained that his use of less character description was because he wanted his character to have more universal appeal. That's great, and might be applied to a singular character, but that means the other characters must get their description.
I do agree you don't have to give great amounts of description to tertiary characters, but all primary and secondary characters should get a double dose.
Every character, like every place, should have a 100 to 300 word description. This is one of Arlo Guthrie's rules of writing. This is great advice. I try to have a 100 to 300 word description for every character and every place. I'll get into more details 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/.