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.
Good novels should be like train wrecks in slow motion. This is what we see in these scenes. The return of Aksinya's books should alert us to a few possibilities. Ernst said he would return the books when he had won Aksinya (that's the basic information). So to have the books, Natalya would either have to steal them from him or Ernst thinks he has won Aksinya. Either outcome seems out of place for Natalya and Ernst. Still, Aksinya doesn't see what is going on. She doesn't process the information or she has decided not to...
That evening at dinner in the dinning room at Sacré Coeur, the moment after Reverend Mother Kluge finished praying Anna Pfaff asked, “Well, did Herr von Taaffe take you out last night?”
Aksinya didn’t answer.
Natalya replied in very precise German, “He took her to Tristan und Isolde by Wagner. It was a tragedy.”
Frieda Trauen scrunched her lips to the side, “I wanted to see that, but papa wouldn’t take me.”
Fraulein Pfaff took a sip of soup, “Whyever not, Frieda?”
“He said it was too German.”
Diedre Vogt tried to catch Aksinya’s eyes, “Countess, have you considered what you might answer Herr von Taaffe?”
Aksinya turned her head away.
Fraulein Trauen grinned, “Did you have a fight with him?”
Natalya voice sounded too happy, “She was drunk last night.”
Fraulein’s Trauen’s smile widened, “Too drunk to fight. What kind of wife will Herr von Taaffe get for himself.”
Natalya took a bite of her fish course, “Herr von Taaffe knows exactly the kind of wife he will be getting.”
Aksinya didn’t act as if she heard. She didn’t eat. The moment dinner was over, she stood and made her way back out of the dining room. Natalya followed closely behind her.
They walked across the street to Aksinya’s house. Natalya unlocked the door. The novices came when they heard the door open. Aksinya didn’t wait for them to take her cloak. Sister Margarethe entered directly behind them from the street. She was out of breath. She started to say something and follow Aksinya, but Natalya put up her hand and waved her back. Natalya handed her cloak to the first novice. She took a deep breath of the collar first. Then she followed Aksinya up the stairs.
Natalya closed and locked the door to Aksinya’s rooms. The mink cloak lay in the sitting room floor. Natalya picked it up and smelled it. She took a deep breath of the lining and smiled. She placed the cloak reluctantly down over one of the chairs and went into Aksinya’s bedroom. Aksinya fought with the buttons on her blouse. Her uniform short coat lay on the floor.
Natalya came over and pulled Aksinya’s hands away from the front of her blouse. She pushed them to Aksinya’s side and began to unbutton the blouse. She pulled it off Aksinya and lifted the camisole over her head. She unbuttoned Aksinya’s skirt and untied her slip. She took everything to the gross schrank and hung them inside. She pulled out a silk nightgown and returned. Aksinya already sat on the edge of the bed. Natalya pulled the gown over Aksinya’s head and plucked her hands through the sleeves. She pulled the bottom of the gown over Aksinya’s thighs.
Aksinya lay back on the bed and her head touched something hard. She frowned and reached up behind her head. She felt a book. No, two large books.
Aksinya sat up suddenly. She half turned and mumbled, “My books.” She glanced at Natalya, “Why are my books here?” Without waiting for an answer, Aksinya pulled the books over to her. One had a brown cover, she opened the book and her mouth formed an “O,” “This is the book Ernst took.”
Aksinya’s hands trembled. She pushed the book aside and took up the other. She caressed it with an overly light touch as though she really didn’t want to handle it. She opened it and whispered, “This is not my book. It is a Greek Book of Heka.” She stared at Natalya, “This is Ernst’s book.” She dropped it back on the bed, “How did these books come to be here?”
“What did you do, Nata?”
Natalya pulled the covers down on the bed. She carefully didn’t touch either book, “Now that man has no power over you. You have no reason to see him anymore. You have your book again, and you have his book.”
Aksinya picked up The Book of Heka and held it against her breast, “I do have his book.”Natalya smiled, “Get in bed, mistress. I know that you wish to read tonight. I will leave the gas lamp lit over your bed.” She bent forward and helped Aksinya crawl under the covers. Aksinya would not let go of the new book.
The answer to appeasing Aksinya is in the books. Her love (lust) is sorcery. Natalya knows this. She uses this lust to placate Aksinya. Aksinya knew something was amiss before. She should be even more worried now, but she isn't. If you have read the book, you know everything has led to this point. We are approaching the first climax of the novel. Notice also, it is a tragedy, Natalya said so.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.
ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.