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.
This part of the scene is the presentation of a clue. This is a great example because, if you have read or are reading the novel, you will know that the item in question was described and presented at the very beginning of the novel. The reader might have forgotten about it, but Aksinya took the item at the beginning and placed it in her jewelry box. The item was mentioned and very specifically mentioned more than once. Additionally, if you are familiar with the Book of Tobit, you know the fish had a specific meaning. Aksinya is a semi-allegory of Tobit. Therefore the astute reader might note the similarity between the item and the story of Tobit.
Father Dobrushin pressed his hands together, “There may be a way to be rid of the demon.”
“You shouldn’t speak about such things too loudly even in jest. I know he watches me. He waits for more ways to destroy anyone close to me—to torment me.”
Aksinya turned her face away, “You shouldn’t use that address with me. Aksinya is enough.”
Aksinya clenched her jaw.
“Listen to me. Did the demon give you a surety? Think…it would be something to bind the contract to you.”
“He gave me a locket. I detested it from the beginning and hid it in my jewelry box.”
“What did it look like?”
Aksinya thought for a moment, “It was shaped like a heart and silver colored, with a tarnish that couldn’t be cleaned. On the outside were strange marks like words of an odd language and in the center a fish. It couldn’t be opened, and it had a chain connected to it of the same material with links that were also heart shaped. It wasn’t large and could be worn as a necklace.”
“Where is it now?”
“Likely in my jewelry box and sold with everything else. I couldn’t stand the sight of it. I hid it under the drawer inside.” She pressed her lips together, “Do you think it could help?”
“I think it is a key to ending your contract with the creature.”
“Then I was a fool to lose it. It is like everything I have done—thoughtless and harmful.”
Is there a chance for Aksinya? If this is true--is there a chance for everyone? Not everything Aksinya has done is thoughtless or harmful, yet she wishes to take the sin of the world on her shoulders. She wishes to be punished for every one's sin. This is the important point of this theme and this novel. It is about the redemption of Aksinya. She seeks penance and perhaps she will be granted penance.
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.