Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its 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 many 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.
In Orthodox thinking, marriage is a sacrament. The Catholic Church holds it to the same standard. Because of this, marriage is approached in an Orthodox service with great solemnity and decorum. There are specific actions and words that must be said. I communicate these to you in this translated marriage ceremony.
Properly accoutered for his role to administer a sacrament, he lit the incense and prepared the altar. All the while, Aksinya and Dobrushin waited in the Narthex.
Father Makar entered the narthex and came first to Dobrushin. He made the sign of the cross once on Dobrushin’s forehead, then on Aksinya’s forehead. He repeated the sign a second and then a third time on their foreheads. Ekaterina handed the lighted candles to Father Makar and he gave one to Dobrushin and one to Aksinya.
Father Makar turned and censed the sanctuary in the sign of the cross. He stepped through the doors and continued to cense in the shape of a cross at each step. Dobrushin stepped behind Father Makar and Aksinya still on his arm came with him. Behind them followed Ekaterina.
Father Makar continued onto the platform and to the altar. Dobrushin stopped just before the platform. After Father Makar censed the altar, he put the censer in its stand and returned to them. He turned to Aksinya, “Princess Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov the Countess of Golitsyna, do you wish to marry this man, Dobrushin Sergeevich Lopuhin?”
“I do wish to marry him.”
“Dobrushin Sergeevich Lopuhin, do you wish to marry this woman, Princess Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov the Countess of Golitsyna?”
“I do. Master, give the blessing.”
Father Makar’s brow rose in surprise that Dobrushin spoke the deacon’s part but he continued, “Blessed is our God, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.”
Ekaterina pronounced, “Amen.”
The beginning of the ceremony is the blessing, the entry into the sanctuary, and the declaration. Notice that Father Markar uses their entire names. Second, Dobrushin announces his intent to act in the role of deacon (or junior priest) in the ceremony.
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.