Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
A scene outline is a means of writing a novel where each scene follows the other with a scene input from the previous scene and a scene output that leads to the next scene. The scenes don't necessarily have to follow directly in time and place, however they generally follow the storyline of the protagonist.
A storyline outline is a means of writing a novel where the author develops a scene outline for more than one character and bases the plot on one or more of these storyline scenes. This allows the scenes to focus on more than the protagonist. This is a very difficult means of writing. There is a strong chance of confusing your readers.
Whether you write with a scene outline or a storyline outline, you must properly develop your scenes. All novels are developed from scenes and each scene has a design similar to a novel. Every successful novel has the following basic parts:
1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
Every scene has these parts:
1. The setting (where, what, who, when, how)
2. The connection (input)
3. The tension development
4. The release
5. The output
There are lots of approaches to scene setting. That means there are about a million plus ways you can set a scene. The main point is you have to clearly get across the where, when, who, what, and how.
Here is another example of scene setting from the novel, Aksinya. This is a transition and conversation scene with the introduction of a new major character. This character was shown, but not really introduced about 3 times in the previous scenes. This is a great method to bring in an important character. You allude to the character and slowly bring in information about him and then you introduce him.
After a while, Aksinya glanced at Natalya, “Lady Natalya, please get me another glass of wine.”“Would you like something to eat?”
“No, just wine. The very sweet wine Uncle opened just for me. Ask him to open another bottle… or two.”
Natalya smiled then frowned and hurried off.
Almost immediately a young man moved from the ballroom floor and stepped directly up to Aksinya. He dropped to his left knee and bowed his head. He was dressed in finery. Not as fine as the clothing Aksinya wore, but very formal and slightly out of fashion. Aksinya’s Uncle would have approved. His frockcoat was charcoal and his pants were cream colored. His shirt was also cream and everything was pressed to perfection.
Aksinya straightened her back. She couldn’t see anything of his face only the top of his blond head. She wondered if, with such a display, he mocked her. The young man didn’t stand. He lifted his face to hers and reached for her hand. Aksinya was too slow to keep him from taking it. His face was gentle and pleasant. It matched his voice which was almost melodic. Aksinya might have described it as like a snake in a more pointed moment, but it was sweet and calm. His eyes were blue and met hers without apology. He glanced at her hand and then at her face again and smiled, “You are truly the one, Countess.”
Aksinya took a deep breath, “The one…?”
His smile broadened, “I have met you twice, but we have not been introduced. Please don’t think me forward if I introduce myself. I am Ernst Franz von Taaffe. My father is the Graf von Taaffe. So, you see, we are of nearly equal rank.”
Aksinya tried to pull her hand from his, “Why should that matter to me?”
“Because, first, I am infatuated with you. I warn you, I will do anything to have you. Second, I know exactly what you are…”
Aksinya pursed her lips and yanked her hand back. The man would not let it go. “Where did you meet me?” She hissed.
“Outside the Golden Adler Gasthaus.”
Aksinya’s free hand stole to her face, “You were one of the rapists?”
The furrows in Ernst’s smooth brow deepened, “Dear Countess, surely you don’t count me with that sort. Search your memories. You stared directly at me. You spoke to me. I carried your sweet body back into your house and placed you in your bed. Your blood ruined one of my good suits, but I purposely haven’t thrown it out.”
Aksinya’s eyes widened, “You were that man.”
Ernst’s lips drooped, “Yes, that man…”
Aksinya’s eyes filled with fear. She tried again to pull her hand from his grasp, “Why were you there? What did you see?”
Ernst grinned, “I was there because your courtier, Anatov Aznabaev told me you would be there.”
Aksinya shook her head, “Wait, Anatov Aznabaev.” She whispered a sentence of Latin words under her breath, “Say that name again.”
Ernst repeated, “Anatov Aznabaev.”
And clearly to Aksinya’s ears came, “Asmodeus.” She puffed out her cheeks, “Scheize.”
“Countess! I was led to believe you were a completely refined woman.”
“I don’t care.” She stared at the man, “What do you know?”
“That you are a most wondrous sorceress. I saw everything. You made a great enchantment without any protection. Such power, unbelievable power…” He noted the look on Aksinya’s face, “Don’t worry, Countess. Your secret is safe with me, but only if you do as I wish.”
“Who would believe you?”
He brought his face close to hers, “I have your book.”
Aksinya gasped and trembled, “You must give it back.”
“No, no, no, Countess. That is not how the game is played.”
“What do you want from me?”
“Anatov Aznabaev, told me you were a special person. He told me I would find everything I desired with you. He is right. I myself have tried for years to study sorcery. I have been, as yet, unsuccessful.”
“Your body doesn’t seem unduly marked.”
“The scars are well hidden by my clothing. It has not touched my face or hands much.” He pulled her hand toward his face and turned it over. He gently stroked the many scars that marked Aksinya’s fingers, “A successful sorcerer, so says my books, has a multitude of knife scars on their hands. They are from the constant use of blood as a sacrifice.” He turned his face toward hers again, “The smell of the use is strong on you now. You can’t hide it from me. Although, I can’t accomplish any of it, I know its smell. I know its feel. I know its marks.” He kissed the scars on her fingers.
Aksinya finally was able to pull her hand from his, “I asked you what you want?”
“I would like to learn from you, but first I must win your affection.”
“What makes you believe it can be won?”
“You courtier, Anatov Aznabaev told me that you long to find love and someone to share your life. I offer myself. You are exactly the woman I wish to love.”
“My courtier is mistaken. I do not need love or anything else…”
“But you need your book.”
“I have memorized it already.”
“Zut! I know you still desire that book.”
Aksinya raised her chin, “How would you know that?”
“Anatov Aznabaev told me.”
Aksinya snarled, “Anatov Aznabaev, Anatov Aznabaev… do you believe everything my servant tells you?”
“In this case, yes. But I have another temptation.”
Aksinya stared at him. An angry scowl set her features.
He didn’t seem to notice Aksinya’s very dangerous appearance, “I have another book that your courtier told me you would desire. It is one you have not seen before.”
Aksinya trembled, “Which book is it?”
“It is the book of Heka…”
“That is ancient Egyptian. It isn’t effective.”
“The Heka I have is Greek. It isn’t death sorcery of the Egyptians but the practice of light. I know you are interested.”
Aksinya took a breath, “If it is a Greek Heka…”
“It is a Greek Heka.”
“What about my book. You stole it.”
“Those are strong words, Countess. You dropped it in the street. I picked it up for you. Who’s to say who such a book belongs to?”
“It is mine, and you know it.”
“I also know that you are a marvelous sorceress, and I wish to entertain you.”
“I will not accommodate any lewd behavior.”
“Lewd behavior? Countess, you mistake my intention. I wish to woo you. I do not wish to seduce you.”
“How can I trust your intentions?”
“I have your book,” he laughed.
“And you blackmail me with it?”
“I only want to take you to dine and to a play, the ballet, or to a concert. Surely that is not lewd.”
“I will bring my lady-in-waiting as a chaperone.”
“You may bring your guardian nun as well.”
Aksinya sat back, “Pardon me then. I did not understand your intentions.”
“My intentions are pure, but I would like to know much, much more about this enchanting sorceress who came to Wien. The moment your courtier described you, I had to meet you.”
Aksinya stared suspiciously at him, “Just where did you meet my courtier?”
A puzzled look crossed Ernst von Taaffe’s features, “I don’t entirely remember, Countess, but wherever and whenever it was, I am thankful for it because that meeting led me to you.”
“You don’t think me plain, diminutive, and unwomanly.”
Ernest von Taaffe bowed his head, “On the contrary, I find you mysterious, powerful, and exciting.” He glanced up, “I will contact you at your house. Please make an evening open for me next week.”
Aksinya sighed, “I will entertain you when you visit. Please return my book.”
Ernst rose, “Not until you attend a dinner and an evening event with me. Then I will discuss the return of your book. It is late or I would ask you to dance. Countess,” he bowed deeply and wandered back to the ballroom floor.
Aksinya slumped in her seat. When Natalya finally returned, Aksinya drank the whole glass of wine and sent Natalya back for more.
This is a very important converstation and introduction. You have already met this gentleman--if you have been following this blog or have read the book, Aksinya. I discussed this as an important point during a couple of blog entries. Like I mentioned, this is a great means to introduce a character. You foreshadow the introduction, by showing the character within the earlier parts of the novel. Place him in exactly places where your readers can't miss them--then you bring them into the plot with an introduction. Look back and you will see the enhanced description of Ernst. There is also more detailed description through the entire narrative within the conversation. We find out a lot of information through the conversation.
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: I am awaiting for you to write a detailed installment on identifying, and targeting your audience, or audiences...ie, multi-layered story, for various audiences...like CS Lewis did. JustTake care, and keep up the writing; I am enjoying it, and learning a lot.
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, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, http://www.aseasonofhonor.