Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
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 opening of a new scene. This is following lunch. The time is specified and the place. The place has been described already--there is no need to describe it again. The entry of the characters is important. We get the customary introduction of the court. This is important to repeat to set the scene and the reader's feel of the situation and circumstances.
Just before one o’clock, Sergeant Nagel escorted them back to the courtroom. They returned to their seats and waited for the rest of the court to gather.
Directly at one, behind the large desk, two judges came through the door at the right and two judges through the door at the left. The bailiff of the court struck his staff against the floor, “Hear ye, hear ye, this Schöffengericht is reconvened in the name of Emperor Charles the first of
Austria and the . I present again The Honorable Gustav Richter,
The Honorable Artur Kuester, Lay Judge Albert Vogler, and Lay Judge Oscar
Amsel. May the justice of the Lord God
Almighty reign in all the affairs of men.”
Republic of German Austria
Judge Richter started up immediately, “The focus of this afternoon are the charges of assault and battery against Princess Aksinya. The first witness whom I wish to call is the Lady Natalya Alexandrovna Obolenska. Sergeant Nagel.”
In a couple of minutes, Natalya followed Sergeant Nagel into the courtroom. She walked with excellent posture, but one of her shoulders drooped a little lower than the other.
Aksinya gave a little cry when she saw Natalya. Natalya’s eyes lit up. She ran to Aksinya and curtsied to the floor. Aksinya took Natalya’s hand and lifted her up. She stood and embraced Natalya. Aksinya kissed Natalya’s cheeks. They were wet with tears.
Judge Richter cleared his throat a couple of times. He rolled his eyes. Finally he said something, “Herr Lopuhin, this is highly irregular.” He paused, “But…yes, I understand.” He sighed and slumped back into his seat.
Natalya cried, “They wouldn’t let me see you. I begged and begged, but they said you were in jail.”
Aksinya laughed, “I was in jail. I will likely go to prison. I love you so much, and I am so sorry. I missed you.”
“And I you, mistress. I wish to join your household again.”
Aksinya looked down, “I have none.”
Father Dobrushin took Aksinya by the arm, “Princess, that is enough. The Lady Natalya must testify.”
“Yes, you must testify and ensure you tell the truth, Lady Natalya.”
Natalya nodded and presented a very worried look on her face.
Sergeant Nagel led Natalya to the witness chair.
The focus of this scene is Natalya as well as Aksinya's response to Natalya. The pathos of the scene is obvious. The judges response reflects this. There is obviously the results of Aksinya's violence against Natalya--did you catch it? I don't tell you anything--I show you that Natalya walks with excellent posture but that one of her shoulders is lower than the other. She has been injured permanently. Aksinya may or may not realize this--that is immaterial. The point is the pathos in the description and the situation. The characters may not realize what has happened or what is going on. The description was not for the characters--the description was for the readers.