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.
Remember, use 100 to 300 words to introduce a character. One of the tricks I like to employ is to remind my readers about the appearance of my characters--especially the major characters. I ususally do this thorugh the eyes of another character. This allows an independent view of the characters (in the mind of the readers) and lets me reinvigorate the knowledge of my readers.
In this example, Freifrau Bockmann picks up Aksinya and Natalya to take them back to her estate for the weekend. We get to see Aksinya and Natalya through the eyes of the Freifrau.
On Friday afternoon, Freiherr Bockmann’s coupe, the covered carriage, came for Aksinya and Natalya. The Freifrau Bockmann herself sat in the coupe. For the weekend, Aksinya and Natalya had taken clothing from the house across the street. They wore something other than their Sacré Coeur uniforms now. Aksinya was dressed like a countess, and Natalya like a lady-in-waiting. Both of their jewelry was much more elegant than that which would have been expected any student to wear.
Freifrau Bockmann’s eyes widened when she saw them. She descended from the coupe and curtsied to Aksinya. Then, she greeted both the girls with a kiss. The Reverend Mother stepped out of the school to see them off. Frau Drescher stood as an after thought in the shadows near the gymnasium’s door.
The Reverend Mother curtsied to Freifrau Bockmann. It was a deep curtsy that included Aksinya, “Freifrau Bockmann, the Countess and Lady Natalya have started well. We are glad you decided to take them under your wing for their social training during the weekends.”
Freifrau Bockmann was effusive, “Thank you, Reverend Mother. I will return them Sunday evening. Please don’t expect them for dinner.”
“Yes, Freifrau Bockmann.”
With the driver’s help, they climbed into the carriage. After they were inside, Freifrau Bockmann tapped the ceiling of the coupe with the top of her cane and the driver started the horses moving.
Freifrau Bockmann gazed at her two charges. The one had a boyish figure and a sharp face. It was so typically Russian it almost hurt to look at her. Her features were not very lovely, but her clothing fit her perfectly and she was dressed exquisitely. Her hair was arranged with a touch of genius. The Lady Natalya had made the most of so little although Freifrau Bockmann thought she could see evidence that it was finally growing out. The young countess before her might not be very lovely to look at but her manner and manners were perfect. She sat and stood and walked exactly as you would expect from a countess or even a princess. Yes, she had the perfect demeanor of a princess. Plus that look in her eyes. The Countess Aksinya’s eyes gave an impression of majesty, strength, and power. That seemed very odd to the Freifrau Bockmann.
The Lady Natalya, on the other hand, was a perfect opposite to her countess. Her face was lovely. Her figure was like an opening bloom. Her proportions were exact and perfect. She looked like the picture plates you found in novels about the royalty. Her appearance seemed like a perfect reproduction in life of one of those still portraits. She didn’t show the exact and perfect decorum the Countess did—her face and actions were much more lively. She seemed the exact counterpoint to the Countess, and the Freifrau Bockmann knew, they were both very intelligent.
The Freifrau Bockmann waited until the carriage had cleared the archway of the convent and school before she asked, “How was your first week?”
This is an example of an introduction within the framework of conversation. Again, the point is simply that when you introduce your characters (setting the who) make sure you set the who. Show us about those characters.
I'll give you more examples, 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/.