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Monday, April 30, 2012

Development - an example of a Classical First Scene

30 April 2012, Development - an example of a Classical First Scene

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

The beginning of my published novel, The Fox's Honor, introduces the protagonist and the protagonist's helper.  The novel is a romance as well as a romantic novel.  Although it quickly delves into action, the first scene action in The Fox's Honor is a kiss and a confession of love.  There is a degree of excitement and entertainment in that.  Although The Fox's Honor is not a story about love, it starts out strongly in a romance atmosphere.  If anything, The Fox's Honor is about forbidden love with lots of space combat thrown in.  Don't stop reading--I'll explain.

The protagonist, Prince Devon Rathenberg, declares his love to the Lady Tamar Falkeep.  The problem is that Devon plans to die in a duel that night, and his rank makes any thought of marriage with Tamar unthinkable.  Pretty strong beginning for a novel.  The set up is really fun.

Here's today's point, in the first scene of a novel, you must set up the entire novel.  If you have developed your characters properly and sufficiently, the novel will flow out of them.  You must also pick a beginning scene that encapsulates the power of the novel and the characters.  There are a lot of places I could have started The Fox's Honor:  Devon's leave-taking from the Imperial Planet, Tamar at school, etc.  None of these would have the excitement or the power of the current beginning where Devon declares his love and then runs off to die.  He doesn't die; Tamar saves him.  And...so begins Prince Devon Rathenberg's greatest problem--he engages himself with a woman he would not be allowed to marry, but a woman who is already known as a powerful political manipulator.  It's a fun novel.

I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Development - and still more on Classical First Scene

29 April 2012, Development - and still more on Classical First Scene

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

Aegypt begins with the protagonist and should have a more exciting beginning.  I've already confessed this slight fault with the novel.  It is classically published and has attracted a good audience of readers.  Two follow-ons are on contract.  In spite of any shortcoming with the beginning scene, it has been successful.  The problem is that if you evaluate the novel, I doubt you can find a better place to start it.  You can't introduce the protagonist's helper or the antagonist.  If you move to the next level of high action, you miss any of the buildup (in this novel, like most suspense novels, the buildup is very important).

There is some excitement and adventure in the first scene, but it could use a little more.  I might have started the novel during the raid alluded to in the first scene.  That would have probably been the best beginning, but I didn't, and the raid, except that it expresses the mental state of Paul Bolang, has no real importance in the novel.  Remember, don't leave in anything extraneous. 

So, I confessed again.  Still, this is good for you to see.  Writers should not be above critically reviewing their own works.  There is no novel that is perfect; all can use improvement.  The trick is to get it as perfect as possible.

I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Development - and even more on Classical First Scene

28 April 2012, Development - and even more on Classical First Scene

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I've already confessed in one of my blogs about my first scenes, see this entry and following for more details http://novelscene.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/beginnings/.  But it is still useful to show you classical forms in novels (and my novels since I am very familiar with them) so you can see how a novel can be put together.

I was discussing novels where the protagonist is not introduced in the first scene and I told you to be careful with this.  I also mentioned that my published novel, Centurion, www.CenturionNovel.com begins with a scene that does not introduce the protagonist.  Additionally, the first scene of my published novel, The End of Honor, begins with a very exciting scene, but doesn't introduce the protagonist until the second scene.  The End of Honor begins with the protagonist's helper.  Okay, The End of Honor is a different type of novel.  The novel is written in the first person point of view from the perspective of the protagonist's helper, Lyral Neuterra.  In about the middle, after Lyral dies, the novel goes to third person.  The protagonist is Prince John-Mark.  He shows up early in the novel. 

The End of Honor is not a classically developed novel, but it has many classical features.  It does begin with an exciting scene in real time, but it moves to a flashback time sequence where we see Lyral's life and experience from her meeting the protagonist to her death. 

The first scene of The End of Honor does introduce the protagonist's helper and the antagonist, Prince Perod-Mark.  In this sense, the novel is classically put together.

I've discovered as I write more and more, I find the classical forms to be more powerful and easier to use.  That doesn't mean the avant garde isn't worth pursuing.  It just means that most novels will fall into classical forms as the author's experience increases.
I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Development - and more on Classical First Scene

27 April 2012, Development - and more on Classical First Scene

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

In a typical novel, you introduce the protagonist in the first scene.  If you don't, you will likely be causing problems for yourself and your novel.  There are novels in which the protagonist is not introduced in the first scene.  I'll discuss those today. 

My published novel, Centurion, does not introduce the protagonist, antagonist, or protagonist's helper during the first scene.  The first scene begins with the protagonist's mother.  The scene itself sets up the entire novel, and it is a poignant scene.  Should it have been more exciting?  I already made my confessions about the first scenes of my novels.  I think for Centurion, it started in the right place and with the proper amount of energy.  I think this because two publishers pursued me for the rights to publish the novel.  It is, to date, my most popular novel.

Centurion shows that excitement and entertainment are not always fighting, guts, and glory.  The excitement and entertainment in the first scene can come as an emotional event as well as an action event.  I will warn you, if you can start a novel on an action event--do it.  An emotional event will work, just read the first chapter of Centurion and tell me what you think.

I'll expand on this idea tomorrow--that is when the protagonist isn't introduced in the first scene.

I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Development - more on Classical First Scene

26 April 2012, Development - more on Classical First Scene

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

Classically, one method to ensure the proper focus and excitement of the first scene in your novel is to use the first scene where the protagonist and the antagonist interact.  I'm sure you can remember some novels where this is so: for example, Kidnapped, Treasure Island, The Fountainhead come immediately to mind.  There are many others.  I'll remind you that Aksinya does too.

Another classical method of developing excitement is to use the first scene to introduce the first or an early interaction of the protagonist and the protagonist's helper.  This is often used in romance (not necessarily romantic) novels.  This type of introduction works best for love stories, but can be expanded beyond those types of plots.  We see in Akinysa that the introduction of the protagonist's helper, Natalya, is a very exciting scene. 

In general, scenes that have a strong chance of being exciting are those where the protagonist and antagonist interact.  Likewise, the protagonist and the protagonist's helper interaction can also be an exciting scene.

Back to the main point.  Your initial scene must be exciting and entertaining.  One way to accomplish this is by using a classical development--the interaction of the protagonist and the antagonist or the protagonist's helper to build an exciting first scene.  Not introducing the protagonist at all is a bad plan.  We'll look at this and other potential openings, tomorrow.

I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Development - Classical First Scene

25 April 2012, Development - Classical First Scene

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I mentioned before that with properly developed characters, the plot will automatically fall out of the development of the characters.  The first scene must be a carefully chosen point in the plot.  It doesn't have to be the beginning of the plot--it must be an exciting point near the beginning of the plot.  Here's the point--you have to capture your readers in the first scene.  This means the first scene must be exciting and entertaining.  You, therefore, must pick a first scene that is exciting and entertaining.

When I wrote Aksinya, I chose the first scene to be the point where Aksinya calls the demon.  I could have written a prolog all about how Aksinya became a sorceress, or about how Russia became mired in a civil war, or about Aksinya's family.  Don't use prologs.  I could have written a scene about Aksinya in her home and with her family etc.  I could have written a scene about Russia during that time in history.  Notice what all these potential scenes are missing.  They don't include an antagonist or a protagonist's helper. 

Here is a very simple way to know where to begin a novel.  If you don't learn anything else from my description of classical plot development learn this: your novel can't begin until you introduce the protagonist and either the antagonist or the protagonist's helper.  BANG!  That's the way to begin almost any novel.  If you begin the novel at the point where the protagonist and the antagonist first meet or become involved with one another, you automatically have the potential for excitement.  If you begin a novel with the protagonist and the protagonist's helper meeting or becoming somehow involved, you will have an exciting point to begin.

The first scene must be exciting and entertaining--one way to do it, perhaps the best and maybe the only good way is when the protagonist first interacts with either the antagonist or the protagonist's helper.  Keep this thought in mind when you begin to write--or rewrite. (And definitely rewrite if the first scene is not exciting and entertaining.)

Tomorrow, I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Development - Purpose of the First Scene

24 April 2012, Development - Purpose of the First Scene

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

The absolute purpose of the first scene/chapter is to convince a reader to buy your novel.  If you can't capture them with the first scene/chapter, they won't read your novel.  Many say you must capture your reader with the first page, sentence, paragraph.  This isn't all there is, but those are good rules to write by too.  If a reader doesn't like the first sentence, they might not read the first paragraph, which means they won't read the rest of the page, etc.  I'll give a reader the benefit of the doubt.  I don't remember the first sentence of almost any novel I've read.  I've read some pretty bad first sentences, and I will say that negative impression stuck with me through the book.  Usually because the writer wasn't very good.

In any case, the focus here must be the first scene.  The reason I keep writing scene/chapter is because, many readers will read the whole chapter in a "Look Inside" feature.  If they "Look Inside" and don't like what they see, they will not continue the novel (they won't buy it).  Therefore, if your first chapter (or the look inside feature) is more than a single scene, you need to make certain the whole chapter showcases your novel.

The big deal is excitement and entertainment.  I mentioned yesterday that Aksinya is an excellent example of a novel where the protagonist and the antagonist are introduced in the first scene.  We'll talk about this tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Development - Tension in the First Scene

23 April 2012, Development - Tension in the First Scene

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

Your first scene/chapter must be exciting, entertaining, and encourage your reader to continue to read.  Now is not the time to be squeamish.  If your novel doesn't start at an exciting point, now is the time to rewrite it that way.  If you have a prologue, now is the time to get rid of it.  If you have an introductory scene, delete it.  The most important and critical point is that your novel must begin with some degree of excitement and entertainment. 

I would argue that if you follow my advice on scene development, you should be half there.  The point to add is the tension development that leads to the theme.  If you designed your characters adequately, and your plot and theme flows out of them, then your first scene tension development should envelope the theme and drive the first scene.

What do I mean by that?  If you go to www.novelscene.wordpress.com, you will see a long discussion on tension and release.  Tension development is the means you use in writing a scene to create excitement and entertainment in a scene.  In your first scene, this tension development must incorporate the theme and drive the theme.

Aksinya is an excellent example.  Two of the main characters are introduced in the first scene--this is normally appropriate for any novel.  Expect to introduce the protagonist and either the antagonist or the protagonist's helper.  This is what Aksinya does.  I'll stop there for today.

Tomorrow, I'll explain more about tension and first scene development.  I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Development - First Scene

22 April 2012, Development - First Scene

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development. The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
     a. Description of the character - introduction
     b. Voice of the character
     c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

Once you have their attention with a teaser or a blurb, now they are going to check out your novel.  When they go to Amazon or to any other bookseller, they will see the "Look Inside" feature, and they will look inside.  Usually, the look inside will give them the first through as much as the third chapter.  If they like what they see, they will purchase your book, and you will have a new fan.

The real problem is what if they don't like what they see.  Once you have a novel in print, it is a little to late to make changes.  The big deal happened way back in time when you originally wrote your novel.  The big point here is that I hope you took this into consideration back then.

The first chapter and the first scene are the make or break parts of a novel.  You might have a sucky novel, but if the first chapter and first scene are well done, people will pick up and read your novel.  Now, I have to say, it is very odd to have a great first chapter/scene and a terrible novel, but it could happen.

In the normal process of publishing a novel, a publisher will judge your novel worthy of being published and attracting readers.  If the first scene/chapter isn't any good, the publisher will usually not want it or the publisher will insist that you rewrite it to something acceptable.  In general, it is difficult to have a regularly published novel with a bad first scene/chapter.  You can see this is entirely possible with an indie novel. 

Since an indie novel doesn't go through the usual publication process, there is some chance that the first scene/chapter sucks and will not attract readers.  Let's put it this way, I've read many indie "Look Insides" that are terrible.  If the first part of the book is poorly written, the rest of the book will likely be poorly written, plus, the first few chapters are supposed to be the best.  Look, this isn't just a problem for indie writers--it is a problem for every writer.  The difference is that regularly published writers have the benefit of a publisher and an editor.  These two will never let a weak first scene/chapter into the marketplace.  If they do, they deserve to not have the book be successful.

I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter tomorrow.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Development - yet Another Teaser Example

21 April 2012, Development - yet Another Teaser Example

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

If you haven't guessed yet, I've left this up because I plan to use it in the future as we move through development.  The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I've been going over teasers, trying to show good examples with my teasers which were developed along with my publisher.  I've also tried to point out what makes a bad teaser.  Let me go ahead with today's example.  I think this is the last I'll give you.  This teaser is for A Season of Honor

The fragile peace of the Human Galactic Empire hangs in the balance. Book Three, The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. Don't miss Book One, The End of Honor or Book Two, The Fox's Honor. By L.D. Alford, the author of the suspense-thriller, Aegypt, Centurion, and The Second Mission. Baron Shawn du Locke must choose between honor and desire. Shorn of his lands, regency, title, father, lady, and name, the only thing left to the Baron Shawn du Locke is his honor. Nothing in the past has shaken it and nothing would cause him to compromise it--until he meets the Lady Elina Acier, the last hope of the Noble Houses of the Human Galactic Empire. To protect the planet Acier from the Emperor, she must marry a Duke's son. Shawn must safely deliver Elina to the Imperial capital before the Emperor discovers and kills Elina, and before her presence drives him insane...or he falls in love.

Excitement, excitement, excitement!  If there is anything that I can write about teasers and blurbs is to keep the excitement level high.  Look at the beginning of this teaser (and all the teasers I've shown you for my books).  The first sentence is crafted to intrigue and excite.  There is a portion that mentions my other novels.  Then, wham, right into the plot and the characters.  In every teaser I've shown you, first there is the opening sentence--it is filled with excitement.  Then there is the intro to the plot.  Finally, we get the characters.  Everything in the teaser is meant to get the reader excited about the novel and interested in checking it out.  There is nothing extraneous.  There are no explanations.  There is little detail--short, sweet, plot, and characters.

Let me give a little detail on what not to do.  I'll do this generically.  I'll use one of my novels--so don't quote this as a real teaser.  Here is a terrible trailer I just made up from one I saw today:

***This is not a real teaser for my novel.  This is an intentional bad example***The date is 10,000 AD.  The times are unknown.  This is a great science fiction novel in the style of Frank Herbert.  Baron Shawn du Locke is a man whose brother, the Emperor banished him for ten years.  Now the Baron must take a lady from the planet Acier to the Imperial Capital to wed.  Acier is a planet under Imperial ban, but it's a wealthy planet.  Acier is kind of like the planet Dune except it has radioactives instead of spice.  Because of Acier's wealth, the Emperor wants to take control of the planet.  He intends to murder the woman, Elina Acier, whom Shawn is taking to the Imperial Capital...***This is not a real teaser for my novel. This is an intentional bad example***

I could go one and on, but I think you get the picture.  I took my novel and wrote a terrible teaser.  No excitement, little on the plot, you can't care much about the characters, too much detail, messy comparisons, comparisons with other novels, statements about how good the novel is.  I didn't put in all the bad stuff I could have.  This is not the way to write a trailer
 
The ultimate point is so you will have advertising that will drive people to your novel. Then the novel has to catch their attention. I'm going to move in that direction tomorrow.

I'll get back to introducing the theme in the first scene.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Development - and even Another Teaser Example

20 April 2012, Development - and even Another Teaser Example

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I made a list yesterday of what not to do with a teaser.  I think the best I can do now, is give you examples of good teasers and see how that works out.  Here is the teaser for The End of Honor:
The fragile peace of the Human Galactic Empire hangs in the balance. Book One The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox An intragalactic war threatens to tear apart his heart. and the entire Empire. The death-knell of the Human Galactic Empire has sounded-it is the crash of an axe against the virgin white marble of the Hall of Accords. It is the bitten-off cry of the Lady Lyral Neuterra, whose head lies sundered from her smooth shoulders. It is the death of the Emperor at the hand of his own son. It is the whirlwind of a thousand ships sent to enforce the new Emperor's will. And only Prince John-Mark, the Emperor's youngest son, can bring the Empire back from the edge-back to peace and honor. Don't miss... Book Two: The Fox's Honor Book Three: A Season of Honor Or L.D. Alford's suspense-thriller: Aegypt

Just like the other teasers I've shown you, this one drives directly into the plot and the characters.  Immediately, I want you to be interested in the Lady Lyral and Prince John-Mark.  You already feel some of the excitement in the novel through the words of the teaser.  My desire is that the reader will feel compelled to check out the novel.  That's the only point of a teaser.  If your teasers miss the point, you are never going to sell a novel.

Notice, at the end we get some adds for my other books.  This gives the reader some connections to these other works.  If they don't like science fiction, they might be interested in suspense.
The ultimate point is so you will have advertising that will drive people to your novel. Then the novel has to catch their attention. I'm going to move in that direction tomorrow.

I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Development - and Another Teaser Example

19 April 2012, Development - and Another Teaser Example

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I'd like to show you an example of a bad teaser, unfortunately someone might recognize the teaser, and I really don't want to directly and publicly embarrass a fellow writer.  I'll show you good examples and try to indicate where many seem to miss the point.  First, the positive example for the day.  This is for my novel, Centurion.  This teaser was developed with my publisher.  It fulfills the criteria I've given you before.  It is short, exciting, introduces the main characters, introduces the plot, and generally generates interest from potential readers.  Here is the teaser:

Hauntingly compelling, Centurion gives life to Abenadar, the man who was entrusted with the controversial and potentially explosive crucifixion of Christ. A longing heart. An unlikely friendship. Love...and the bitterest of betrayals. The son of a Galilean concubine-a Jewess-and a Roman ambassador, Abenadar suffered disapproving stares in the village of Natzeret, but so did the boy Yeshua, son of Yosef and Miryam. Perhaps it wasn't unusual the two became fast friends. As Abenadar rises through the ranks of the Roman Legion to assume the rank of Centurion, he finds love with Ruth, a woman he rescues from the streets of Jerusalem. She believes the prophet Jesus is the One-the Messiah-everyone has been waiting for. Abenadar is dubious. He's seen too many messiahs.and they all died on Roman crosses. But what if Jesus is telling the truth? As advisor to Procurator Pontius Pilate and a Roman, Abenadar has a duty to uphold...but it may cause him to lose everything.

Notice that this teaser for Centurion jumps directly into the plot.  It introduces the main character, Abenadar and then a secondary, but important character, Ruth.  The reason for this is to appeal to men and women.  Ruth is a very important character in the plot and it is important to bring her into the teaser, but the main reason for bringing her up is to tie into the romance in the novel.  You can see how this teaser appeals on many levels.  A historian, an adventure lover, a romantic, a military person--all will be interested in this novel based on the teaser.  I said before, the point of a teaser is to generate interest for your novel in a potential reader.

What should you not do?  Don't tell us how great the novel is.  Don't tell us why you wrote the novel.  Don't make it long.  Don't dwell on anything outside the plot or main characters.  You can and should bring up any topics, but only if they add excitement and interest.  Don't tell us how great a novelist your are.  In fact, don't tell us anything about you.  You may mention other books or writing.  Focus on excitement, the plot, and the characters.  And remember, you need to interest the potential reader in the characters and the plot.

The ultimate point is so you will have advertising that will drive people to your novel. Then the novel has to catch their attention. I'm going to move in that direction tomorrow.

I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Development - Another Teaser Example

18 April 2012, Development - Another Teaser Example

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I'm still looking at teasers for the moment.  Here is another example.  It is the official teaser for my published novel Aegypt.

A fascinating tale of technology, cultures, and ancient magic An unspeakable evil and an unbelievable power is about to be released into the world.... Lieutenant Paul Bolang, stationed at Fort Saint in Tunisia in the 1920s, discovers a hieroglyph. Suspecting that the fort might have been built beside an ancient Egyptian foundation, he summons an archaeological party. When a tomb is discovered and opened, death strikes immediately...and reveals a grisly secret. Lt. Bolang soon uncovers two other tombs: the tombs of the Goddess of Light and the Goddess of Darkness. As the first tomb is opened, a being escapes into the desert...and is pursued by Bolang. What will the next tomb hold? Will opening it unleash a great evil and suffering on mankind, as many believe? Or is all that simply a myth?
The last two teasers I've shown you are ones that I and my publisher wrote for the novels.  These are the official teasers that you will find in advertising for the novels.  This is the reason I wanted you to see them.  First, so you could see what a professionally produced teaser looks like, and second, so you could know that I, the author, helped write them. 

I wrote before that when you finish a novel, as part of the marketing material, you need to write synopses and teasers.  These form the basis for the future blurbs you will make for your published novel.  An indie writer should do the same.  Produce marketing material--like I recommended, then move over to blurbs and long teasers.  The ultimate point is so you will have advertising that will drive people to your novel.  Then the novel has to catch their attention.  I'm going to move in that direction tomorrow.

I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Development - Teaser Example

17 April 2012, Development - Teaser Example

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

Let's look at teasers for a minute.  I really can't help you much if you can't write without telling.  You can't write a successful novel by telling, and if you don't know the difference...you're toast.  I can try to help you with examples.  Let's look at one.  This is the official teaser (blurb) for The Fox's Honor.

The fragile peace of the Human Galactic Empire hangs in the balance. Book Two, The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox Don't miss Book One, The End of Honor, or Book Three, A Season of Honor By L.D. Alford, the author of the suspense-thriller, Aegypt, Centurion, and The Second Mission It was a time of treachery and vengeance…of nobility and redemption…all because of love. Prince Devon Rathenberg, the Emperor’s Fox and chief of intelligence, has fallen in love with the Lady Tamar Falkeep—the third daughter of the least Duke in the Human Galactic Empire. But custom dictates they can never marry. Then the unthinkable happens. In the insurrection that threatens to tear apart the Human Galactic Empire, Devon designs a plan to reveal the Empire’s internal enemies. It’s a plan of desperation that, by design, will result in the ultimate sacrifice: his own death. But before he dies, Devon is determined to win the heart of Lady Tamar and declare his love.

Notice the way this teaser is written. I've discussed this before with you.  It is filled with excitement.  There are no "I" (indicative pronoun) statements.  The author doesn't appear.  It is all telling (that's what you do in a teaser).  It tries to get you excited about the characters and the plot.

The first sentence tries to draw you in and gives a setting for the rest of the teaser.  After it provides a context for the novel and for the writing, it drives directly into the teaser.  The body of the teaser begins:  "It was a time of..."  Immediately, the teaser draws you in with the characters.  It gives you names and tries to tug on your emotions and heart strings--love.  At that point we move into the plot.  So first, exciting introduction.  Second, draw in with the characters.  Third, introduce elements of the plot.  The point of the teaser is to get the reader excited about the book.  It must be short, sweet, mention the main characters, introduce the plot, and did I say short.  If your teaser is too long, you will run off your potential readers.

I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Development - more Terrible Teasers and Worse

16 April 2012, Development - more Terrible Teasers and Worse

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I read a great teaser and checked out the book on Amazon.  The problem was that the teaser was great, but the book was all telling and no showing.  A teaser is a different animal from a novel.  In a teaser, you must tell.  You really can't show.  In a novel, you must show and not tell.  This is a very important point to keep in mind. 

I mentioned before, that I like to check out the "Look Inside" feature to read the first chapter or so of a novel.  I always start with the teaser (or a recommendation).  If the teaser interests me, I check the first part of the novel.  If that is well written and interesting, I'll buy and read the novel.

This latest novel that I checked out sounded really great in the teaser.  It had a fun premise, and what sounded like interesting characters.  The first four chapters were all showing.  No real description.  No real scene setting.  No conversation.  No character interaction.  It wasn't a prologue or an introduction--it was just crappy telling.

Listen, don't write novels that tell.  You will know if your novel is telling if you don't have any action, interaction, conversation, etc.  How can I say this stronger?  Don't tell.  I would like to repeat some of the writing on this blog, but that would just be cruel.  The reason this novel will never be picked up by any publisher is that it is all telling (or at least the first four chapters).  Remember the following and you won't fail as a writer:

1.  Set the scene.
2.  Set the characters.
3.  Let the characters go.
4.  Conversation and description.

There is more to this and you can still screw it up if you tell, but I'm not sure how you can tell if you write like this.

I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Development - Terrible Teasers and Worse

15 April 2012, Development - Terrible Teasers and Worse

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I'm writing about teasers and sales blurbs for books. I'm not certain how long this will take, but the world needs to hear it.

If the teaser or book blurb doesn't excite them to check out the book, you're hosed.  So what makes a great teaser and what makes a bad teaser?  A great teaser excites us about the book, the theme, the plot, the characters, and makes us want to, at least, check out the book.  Did you get that?  Excitement is the key.  Note, there is nothing in the list (book, theme, plot, characters) about you.  I'm not certain the kind of people who are writing all these books today, but one thing they don't possess is humility.

I think I spent a couple of months explaining that people don't care about you (as an author) they care about the topic and the book.  The only reason they care about the book is that they like the plot, theme, and/or characters.  I mean, we'd like them to like all three, but hey, not everyone likes the same books or types of books either.  My point is this--whatever you do, don't start any teaser, blurb, interview, etc. with I.  Don't start with "my book" or "my characters"--no first person personal pronouns allowed, please. 

The teasers are supposed to be about the novel--not about you.  Are you getting the point here?  Many of the teasers I've seen lately begin with "I wrote this book" or "My book about..." or whatever but not about the plot, theme, or characters of the book at all.  Remember, excitement.  I'll mention the latest negative I saw in a book tomorrow. 

I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Development - Terrible Teasers

14 April 2012, Development - Terrible Teasers

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

I want to talk about teasers and sale's blurbs for books.  I'm not certain how long this will take, but the world needs to hear it. 

I've been increasingly disturbed by teasers and book blurbs that will never sell a book.  How do I know?  I read them all the time on Amazon.  If they excite my interest, I go check out the book.  Let's talk about teasers and blurbs for a little.  First, the point of a teaser or a blurb is to interest a reader in your book.  Second, if the reader is interested, they will then go to your book site or to a bookseller and review your book--perhaps read the first chapter or whatever is in the "Look Inside" feature.  Third, if they like what they see, they will hopefully purchase a copy.  Fourth, they will read your book and like it therefore propelling your book to the bestseller lists.

Notice, if you don't get past step 1, you won't sell a book.  I have to tell you, the latest indie teasers I've read have been not just terrible, they have been monumentally terrible.  How bad are they?  I already told you, I will check out any book whose teaser interests me.  I promise.  Most of the time, I find the first chapter doesn't propel the work, but hey, that's en entirely (well not entirely entirely) different problem.

I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Development - Entertainment, Scenes

13 April 2012, Development - Entertainment, Scenes

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

Each scene begins with description--the scene setting.  It then moves to character introduction.  This is description at first and then movement and conversation.  When I write "description" I mean physical description--show, don't tell. 

Each scene has an input and an output.  The input to the beginning scene is assumed.  The first scene is not the time to fill in back story or mention anything else except the first scene.  You can drop nuggets during the first scene, but use caution.  The first scene must move forward with energy and excitement.  You shouldn't have anything that gets in its way.  The first scene needs to grab your reader by the throat and hold tight.  It needs to convince your reader to continue to read.  If you can't catch them with the first scene, you never will--they won't read any further.

As a matter of fact, if your teaser doesn't catch them, you won't get them to open your book.  I've been seeing some horrible descriptions in the indie scene.  I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Development - Entertainment, First Scene

12 April 2012, Development - Entertainment, First Scene

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

To write a novel, you start with the characters. You develop them to a point that you can make a first scene.  The first scene must be exciting and introduce the characters, the setting, the novel, and the theme.  The first scene develops out of the characters and the other scenes follow. 

Aksinya is a great example of this type of development.  The novel starts with Aksinya and Asmodeus. Aksinya calls the demon and we move forward with the first scene.  To be specific, the input or the first scene is the description of the place and the calling of the demon Asmodeus.  The focus of the novel is obvious. The first scene ends with Aksinya demanding the demon protect her family. That is the end of the first scene and the beginning of the next.  In the next scene, we find Aksinya's family has been murdered.  The out put of that scene is the demand for revenge by Aksinya.  You can see, just as I mentioned before, each scene follows the next logically. 

I'll write about classical forms in literature, and I'll write more about characters, especially about the characters, and plot tomorrow.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Development - Entertainment, How to Tell

11 April 2012, Development - Entertainment, How to Tell

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

So erase all those grandiose ideas about resonating with people through your writing--that is unless your writing is entertaining.  You might ask, how do I know if my writing is entertaining?  The simplest answer is if it is entertaining to you, you are willing to read it for entertainment, and you are willing to read it over and over.  This may not be great advice for those who are not very mature as writers.  It is very easy to fool yourself into believing that bad writing is good and entertaining.  I'll go back to my old maxim--if you havent' written at least 1 million words, your writing can't be that entertaining.  Likewise, you probably haven't reached a level of maturity where you can evaluate your own works.

If you have written 1 million words and you are willing to read your works over and over for entertainment, you may have arrived.  You still need to check.  Having good prepublication readers will help here.  I've written about this before. 

We are really putting a lot together here.  In the creative process from characters to novel to entertainment.  They all fit together.

I'll write about classical forms in literature, and I'll write more about characters, especially about the characters, and plot tomorrow.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Development - Entertainment

10 April 2012, Development - Entertainment

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.

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.

Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

The steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:

1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
      a. Description of the character - introduction
      b. Voice of the character
      c. Continuing revelation by showing

In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.

In my opinion, the purpose of fiction writing is to entertain.  If a work does not entertain, it isn't worth reading.  My number one rule of writing is to entertain.  The reason is this, if your readers are not entertained, they won't read your novels.  If they don't read your novels, they won't get whatever else you are attempting to convey.  Not only that, you won't sell any novels and no one will read them.  That's the ultimate point, right?  You want people to read your novels.  If you make entertainment your focus, you will have much more success that you will if you are trying to make a point.  Further, if you entertain, you'll make your point and people will read your novels. 

If you want to entertain, you must develop entertaining characters.  They must resonate with your readers, but they must be unique and different.  They must be touching, but not pitiful.  They must be interesting and they can be eccentric.  I typically like to develop romantic characters.  A romantic character is not a romance character.  A romantic character is a classical character who is bigger than life but that has a tellic flaw.  "The Romantic hero is a literary archetype referring to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has the self as the center of his or her own existence."  Many classic characters are romantic characters.  I would guess that the most favorite characters in literature are romantic characters.  They generally represent the human ideal or at least what most humans aspire to.  If you make your protagonist a romantic character, you are starting down the trail to entertainment.
I'll write about classical forms in literature, and I'll write more about characters, especially about the characters, and plot tomorrow.

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.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.