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.
Now we discover the facts (as Aksinya will reveal them) concerning Natalya. The judge has encountered this situation before. Aksinya is too honorable a person to drag Natalya's honor through the mud. There is a problem with her thinking--as we shall see later.
Judge Richter didn’t pause any longer, “Princess Aksinya, I would like to move to the second charge. Concerning the Lady Natalya, would you tell us what happened the night she was injured?”
Aksinya looked down, “It is very embarrassing for me. The Lady Natalya was my only and best friend.” She looked away in the distance, “Isn’t it enough to know that I took a fire iron and beat her with it. I beat her until she did not move. She didn’t fight back. She covered her head, and I beat her until blood soaked her dress.” Aksinya glanced around, “I’m sorry. That’s all there is.”
The judge opened his hands, “Surely there was a reason? Why did you beat the Lady Natalya?”
Aksinya glanced up suddenly, “I will not say.”
Judge Richter stared at her for a moment, “Very well. Those are the questions from the bench. Prosecutor Trauen, do you have any questions you wish to ask the Princess?”
The prosecutor stood, “No, Your Honor.”
“Herr Lopuhin, you may question the defendant.”
We are setting up a situation in the courtroom. As an author, I am trying to build the case for and against Aksinya. The reader hopes Aksinya will achieve some successful end in the trial. The case doesn't look good for her. She has confessed to the crimes which she was accused, and other than Father Dobrushin, she doesn't seem to have any support. The demon has made certain she can't succeed, but we shall see...this is the point of tension and release. The building of tension is what drives any novel.
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.