4 November 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting
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
The way to write well is through scenes. The problem is very few people are teaching how to write good scenes. Most writing classes focus on the technical basics or the higher level development in writing. Writing classes should teach how to write in scenes--this is the fundamental secret of good writing.
Whenever you read any poor writing (or just questionable writing), note the way the scenes are put together. Look at the first set in writing a scene (scene setting). In my experience, many (if not most) modern writers don't properly set their scenes. If I read a scene and I'm left wondering about the where, when, who, what, or how--the author has failed. Writing is not about hiding the basics of the scene. I've put this in the context of a stage play before--you don't set your players on an empty stage (unless it is experimental theater). You design and build the stage, you place the characters on the stage, then you set them into action.
Look at any classic literature from the golden age of writing (19th century), you will see wonderful, colorful, and vibrant scene setting. The scene setting is so extensive, it is many times too much to our modern literary sensibilities. It is still beautiful and sets the entire scene properly. When you set a scene, you don't have to be so detailed you describe every single thing, but you must describe the necessary items.
As you begin to write, make sure you have the basics down. I'll write more in detail about the basics of scenes 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/.