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.
Here is another example of scene setting from the novel, Aksinya. This is a complete scene setting. There is the where, the when and the who. This transitions to the what and how. The beginning is very basic, the end much more complex.
They visited Sacré Coeur in the late morning the next day. Aksinya wore a wonderful gown Natalya had just finished fitting to her. Natalya had an appropriate matching dress that had come from Aksinya’s closet. Natalya could wear almost any of Aksinya’s clothes without fitting. They never fit Aksinya very well to begin with. Now, Aksinya wore nearly only those that had been her mother’s or her sister’s. Asmodeus insisted.The weather was clear and cold. They rode in an elegant covered carriage, a coupe, from Aksinya’s uncle and aunt’s mansion to the convent and gymnasium at Sacré Coeur. The busier streets were lined with men looking for work, thin children and adults begging, women selling themsleves or other meger wares. In Russian cities, Aksinya had seen these kinds of people all her life. She didn’t expect them to be so prvailent in Austria or Wien. She tried to keep her face carefully forward. Her aunt and uncle ignored the people completey.
They entered the center of Wien and arrived at a beautiful old catholic church with three attached buildings. The church appeared first. It was tall with a face decorated by stained glass. The bell tower stuck upward from the center. Connected directly to the church was another long building that was constructed in a more modern style. It was mostly sandy brick with long windows on the upper floor and shorter windows on the lower floor. A wide archway cut through the center of this building. Their driver turned the stylish coupe, through this archway. They entered a large retanguler courtyard. That’s when the other two buildings came within sight. On the other side of the courtyard was a building that appeared almost as old as the church. It was wood and stone and built in an archaic style. To the right, another building attached to the building that fronted the street and the older one across the courtyard. The building to the right was the newest. Within the courtyard, to the left across from this building the side of the church. It was as decorated with stained glass as the front.
When they entered the courtyard, Freifrau Bockmann began a running commentary, “Do you see Countess, the building along the street is the students’ dormitory. Most of the rooms front the courtyard. Across from that is the convent. They are both attached to the church. Between them and across from the church is the school... I mean the gymnasium. That is such a new term for me. It was always just a school when I attended there.”
The building between the convent and the dormetory had a fine facade. It looked like a school, but definitely one that taught the highest level of decorum. Over the double door in elegant script was the name, Sacré Coeur. The driver pulled directly before the door. A very officious appearing older woman and a tall nun stepped through the wide door to greet them.
The driver opened the door of the coupe and handed down first the Freiherr then the Freifrau Bockmann. The Lady Natalya followed them, then Asmodeus. At the last, the driver handed down Aksinya. She was dressed in the finest clothing of anyone there. She wore a wonderful creation in red satin and white lace. Her hat was the newest style from
The nun and older woman immediately moved to Aksinya’s side. They both curtsied.
Freiherr Bockmann put out his hand, “Countess Golitsyna, may I introduce the Reverend Mother Kluge and Frau Drescher. Reverend Mother and Frau Drescher, this is my niece, the Countess Aksinya Andreiovna Golitsyna. She is the one we spoke about yesterday.”
The Reverend Mother’s wore a full habit with a wimple that only allowed her face to be seen. The wimple flowed over her head and shoulders and was lost in the folds of her habit. The face that showed was wrinkled, but appeared kind. It wasn’t a hard face or a harsh one. It seemed to be filled with a smile most of the time, like the smile that went out to Aksinya right now. Aksinya lowered her eyes, but not her head.
Frau Drescher on the other hand displayed features of steel. Her wire rimmed glasses sat back on her very sharp nose. Her eyes darted constantly until they focused on a person and then they didn’t seem to move at all until the woman was fully satisfied with her scrutiny. Frown lines marked the corners of her mouth and her eyes. She wore a frown now and unsuccessfully attempted to turn that into a smile. She was slightly plump and wore a very severe dress that wasn’t a habit, but might as well have been.
The Reverend Mother wore a large cross that depended from a silver chain around her neck. The demon eyed it then moved to the far side away from her. The smell of sulfur increased slightly. The Reverend Mother engulfed Aksinya in her smile, “I understand Countess that like your aunt, you wish to attend Sacré Coeur.”
Here we have the entire setting for the introduction to the school Aksinya and Natalya will attend. You know the demon has decided this will be the place for them both. The point is the setting. Notice how I set time, place, and character--the next step is to let them loose. Notice also how much time I take in setting these elements. Look at the picture of the clothing. Setting is always a critical element of writing. Make certain you apply enough time and effort to this.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/.