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.
Here is the beginning of a new chapter and a new scene. Aksinya and Dobrushin are led to the private lunch room in the Rathaus. The setting of the scene is this room in the Rathaus. We know the time. The characters are described by comparison to Aksinya.
Sergeant Nagel led Aksinya and Father Dobrushin into the private luncheon room within the Rathaus. They sat at a private table near the back of the chamber. Aksinya appeared completely out of place there. Her hair had not been properly brushed in weeks. Her dress was wrinkled and stained beyond the bloody crosses that marked it. It had been the dress of a drudge to begin with. She had not had a bath either—not in a long while. She glanced at Father Dobrushin in his clean and well pressed suit and stood, “I don’t belong here.”
Father Dobrushin didn’t look at her, “Sit down, now. Judge Richter sent you here so you would not have to face the reporters yet.”
She sat, “Yet?”
“When you win and are redeemed, you will have to answer some of their questions. When that happens, I suggest you keep quiet and allow me to speak for you.”
“I will win? What does that mean?”
“It means that you will be found not guilty and you will be released.”
“This is certain?”
“Nothing is certain. All I know is that I will do everything I can to save you.”
“Perhaps you are the foolish one. What do you gain from all this? I can’t pay your bill. In fact, who did pay my bills on the remaining claims?”
“You did? Why would you do that for me?”
“Right now, I want you to eat something nice and have tea the way you like it.”
“I like tea best the way Natalya makes it for me.”
Father Dobrushin smiled, “You act as though nothing happened to estrange you from anyone else in the world.”
“Because I can’t control what anyone else does. I can only control what I do or think. I learned that long before I met the demon. He just reminded me of it.”
Father Dobrushin couldn’t say anything after that. He ordered then both lunch and tea.