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. I'm giving you examples from the book so you can see different ways of introducing and writing a scene. In each snippet, you get the scene setting, the tension and release, and the input and output. This isn't true of every example, but the pieces should be there, and I've been trying to identify for you when all the pieces aren't evident. You can use these ideas to guide your own writing. Make sure you set the scene properly, then make everything come to life through the narration and conversation.
The reader could not, perhaps, anticipate the kiss; however, the reader should have expected Ernst to declare his love and ask Aksinya to marry him. Maybe, that anticipation was too much for many younger readers. That is, if you culturally don't expect marriage, you might miss the signs Ernst was giving. Ernst was giving off these indications from the beginning. The expectation was that he would act on his love--the reader just didn't know exactly what he would do. This is the concept of tension and release coupled with anticipation. The entertainment is generated by expectation, that is anticipation, but the actual delivery is unpredictable. This is why some stories are so predictable--the author has mastered the art of anticipation, but gives away too much.
Natalya rushed from the other room. She grabbed Aksinya by the arm and tried to pull her away from Ernst, “Get back Ernst von Taaffe. I know impropriety when I see it. That was much too forward. Let her go.” She punched at the young man.
Ernst let go of Aksinya’s hands, and she fell back a step. She stared at Ernst with dawning realization, “You…you kissed me.”
“Mistress, you should have slapped him. Otherwise, he will be encouraged…”
Aksinya closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, “No, Natalya. I wish to speak with him further.”
“I will stand right here between you.”
“No,” Akisnya’s voice softened, “No, please, Lady Natalya. Just let me speak with him a moment more. I shall stand away from him, and he shall not touch me again.”
“Only if he promises...”
Ernst growled, “I will promise for now.”
Aksinya pleaded, “You see, Lady Natalya, he promised. Allow me to speak to him for a little longer after that you and I will retire for the evening.”
Natalya scowled at Ernst. She glanced at Aksinya from the sides of her eyes, “Very well, mistress. But he must stand on one side of the room and you on the other. I shall be watching.” She pointed at Ernst, “If you make a single move toward her, sir, I shall scream for her aunt and uncle and tell them everything.”
Ernst moved to the end of the enclosed balcony, “Lady Natalya, you need not fear. I will not attempt to molest your mistress again.”
Natalya glanced at Aksinya. Aksinya hastily moved to the other end of the balcony. They waited for Natalya to return to her seat.
Aksinya bent forward a little toward Ernst. She whispered and tried to get her voice to carry to him, “You…you kissed me.”
Ernst kept his voice low, “I have wanted to kiss you for a long time.”
She touched her lips, “Why?”
“Because I love you.”
“What will you gain by loving me?”
Ernst smiled, “I desire you. That is all. I love you. Do you love me?”
“I…I don’t know.”
“Then I’m sorry I was so forward, but I’m not sorry I kissed you. I would hope to continue to woo you. I want you to marry me.” He pulled a small box from his coat pocket, “I have a ring for you. I would like to give it to you tonight.”
“For me? Then you are serious?”
“Why would you think I wasn’t serious?”
“What about your father, and his wish for you to join his business?”
“I told him tonight that I would join the firm. I made arrangements with him to begin to work the following Monday. I will still be able to escort you to dinner and the opera on Wednesday. Didn’t you understand me? Even if you will not make up your mind tonight, I will continue to see you and entertain you. I will pursue you until your answer is yes. You have no other suitors?”
Aksinya shook her head.
“You don’t have another lover?”
Aksinya shook her head.
Ernst’s voice softened, “Then there are no others ahead of me. I have no competition.”
“But I have never imagined someone loving me before.”
Ernst shook his head, “Why should a man not love you. You are beautiful and intelligent. Your deportment and social skills are excellent. You enjoy all the past times I enjoy. Why should I not want to share my life with you?”
Aksinya stared out into the darkness and whispered, “This is a temptation to me. It is surely a temptation.” She spoke more loudly, “Did Anatov Aznabaev put you up to this?”
“Your courtier? I haven’t seen him in a long time.”
“Have you been engaging in sorcery?”
Ernst put up his hand, “Not since I met you. I realized then, I could not achieve any of it. I told you already, I don’t have the skills or the power to do it. I want to give you this ring.”
Aksinya raised her eyes to his, “I’m not sure of what I will answer to you. I’m not certain if I love you.”
“Isn’t it enough if I love you? I swear I will give you everything in my power.”
Aksinya cried, “Do not swear. Do not swear anything to me. Don’t use those words around me. Don’t you realize how dangerous that is?”
“Dangerous to swear what I am truly willing to do? I do swear it. I swear to Aksinya that I love her, will do anything I can for her, and will marry her.”
Aksinya pressed her hands over her ears, “Don’t swear. It is enough to say you will do it, but do not swear it.”
“Will you accept my ring?”
“I cannot—not yet.”
“Will you accept my love?”
“I must think on this—it is too difficult for me to decide right now. My mind is in turmoil.”
“Will you allow me to continue to court you?”
Aksinya sighed, “Will you kiss me again?”
“I will, but only if the Lady Natalya will not scream.”
Aksinya turned a little toward Natalya, “Lady Natalya, I wish to allow Ernst to kiss me again. Will you please let him?”
“Kiss him? You should hit him.”
“I wish to kiss him. Please allow me. I shall not ask for more than one tonight, but I would like to kiss him once more.”
Natalya’s anger was evident on her face, “I shall turn around for ten seconds. By the time I have counted to ten, I expect you to be at my side. If you are not, I shall certainly yell for your aunt and uncle.”
“Thank you, Lady Natalya.” Aksinya didn’t wait to see if Natalya turned, she ran to Ernst and put her arms around his neck. She clumsily brought her lips to his and lingered there in a measured kiss. He put his arms around her and held her tightly. They parted at eight seconds and Aksinya ran to Natalya’s side. Natalya noted Aksinya beside her with an impatient nod and began walking. Aksinya glanced back at Ernst. His eyes lingered on her. They did not leave her the entire time until she lost sight of him when she exited the parlor.The other point of anticipation is the reaction of Natalya. You might have expected her to react, but you might not have realized she would react as strongly as she did. There is much behind her actions and reactions. You might be able to guess why. We will find out more, tomorrow.
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.