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 thought, the betrothal is more akin to the betrothal in the time of Christ. The betrothal is the time of exchanging rings. The couple promises to marry, and, as I mentioned yesterday, a betrothal can go on for a long time. The betrothal of Mary and Joseph was at least a year, and this was common in the time.
Father Makar approached the altar. The rings sat beside a golden dish near the center of the Holy Table. The gold ring was on the left and the silver ring on the right. They touched one another. Also on the table were two crowns, one golden and one silver and a golden cup. Father Makar placed the rings on the dish and turned first to Dobrushin. He took the gold ring and with it made the sign of the cross three times on Dobrushin’s forehead, “The servant of God Dobrushin Sergeevich Lopuhin betroths himself to the servant of God Princess Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov the Countess of Golitsyna, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Father Makar took the silver ring and with it made the sign of the cross three times on Aksinya’s forehead, “The servant of God Princess Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov the Countess of Golitsyna betroths herself to the servant of God Dobrushin Sergeevich Lopuhin, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” He then placed the rings on their right fingers.
With a smile, Matushka Ekaterina exchanged the rings between Aksinya and Dobrushin.
Here is scene setting for the altar and the utensiles used in the ceremony. This gives me the opportunity to show them to you. Then we move to the rings. The rings are blessed and placed on the fingers of the betrothed--then they are swapped by the attendent or deacon. Ekaterina does this. The rings represent much more than the binding of individuals, they represent the individuals themselves. Thus the ring Aksinya wears represents Dobrushin and the ring Dobrushin wears represents Aksinya.
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.