9 December 2012, Scenes - Scene Setting, Who, and even more Tags
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.
The point of using 100 to 300 words to describe a character when you first introduce them is to set the character. The point of using tags is to prevent confusion for your readers. Many writers make the mistake of introducing a character simply based on a name--this is a surefire method of confusing your readers.
I advise not introducing too many characters at once. I also advise limiting the number of characters in your novel. You should limit the number of characters introduced to prevent confusion with your readers. In fact, if you find yourself introducing more than three characters at a time, I think you need to reevaluate your novel. Now, I have introduced multiple tertiary characters at one time--you know like a receiving line or a family group. That can work to your favor--if you approach it the correct way.
The point isn't tertiary characters, it is major and secondary characters. These are characters that should be limited in number and limited to gentle and separate introductions. If you don't, you dilute the power of introductions.
I've read novels where the author introduced many characters at once. Usually, the major error by these writers is that they didn't give 100 to 300 words of description. Without this level of description, there are not enough tags or information for a reader to assimilate the basic data on the character. No matter how well you write or how carefully you write your 100 to 300 word description, if you try to introduce more than three characters at once, you will likely lose your readers.
After all, this is the most important point--don't confuse your readers. I'll get to that, 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/.