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 point in presenting facts in a novel is to set them up before hand. You can have a multifaceted individual as long as you present such a person within the confines of the defined space of the novel. Father Dobrushin being a lawyer is not a large step. Martin Luther was a lawyer and many priests through history have been trained in law. In fact, until the turn of the 20th century in the USA, every lawyer had a degree in theology before their degree in law. I set up Father Dobrushin as a lawyer from the beginning of his introduction--at least in the rectory.
“Herr Lopuhin, you may question the defendant.”
Father Dobrushin stood, “Thank you, Your Honor.” He walked to the bench, “Princess, concerning the question of the houses and goods, did you meet any of these merchants.”
Aksinya shook her head.
“Remember, Princess, you must speak your answers aloud.”
“No, Father, I never met any of them.”
“Did you sign any documents for the house, loans, or goods?”
“Did you ever carry any money?”
“Of course not. I’ve never carried money ever in my life.”
“Concerning the Lady Natalya, did you trust her?”
“Yes,” Aksinya’s tone was indignant. “I trusted her with everything. She took care of my jewelry and clothing. She was my confidant and friend.”
“Thank you, Princess.” Father Dobrushin turned to the bench, “Your Honor, at the moment those are all my questions for the Princess.”
Judge Richter pulled out his pocket watch, “We shall take a short break. Following that we will reconvene and begin to question the witnesses. At your permission, Princess Aksinya.”
Aksinya nodded and the judges stood and trailed out through their doors behind the large desk. In response to Father Dobrushin’s motions, she returned to the table where he sat. He stood and waited for her to sit. She sighed and turned toward Father Dobrushin, “Am I really artless?”
“Can you tell nothing but the absolute truth?”
“That is a rhetorical question. I’ve lied many times before. I’m certain I have lied…”
“…but you are uncertain if you could lie now.”
“Should I lie?”
Father Dobrushin frowned, “No.”
You don’t have to be snappish. She moved her mouth to the side, “I didn’t realize you were a lawyer.”
“In the seminary, like most universities, we study theology. Post graduate work is in law, theology, or medicine. I studied law. One of the reasons the Orthodox Church sent me here was to help in the legal matters for refugees.”
Aksinya just was thrown a lifeline. She should realize this. Perhaps she doesn't think it will make any difference. The fact that Father Dobrushin is a lawyer immediately makes something other than a guilty verdict and going to jail. This is hope--it is a small bit of hope, but it is hope. This is the whole concept of tension and release. I placed a refuge within the grasp of my character. This is the tension buildup. Whether it will make any difference is yet to be seen.
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.