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.
Dobrushin and Aksinya have decided they must marry to get rid of the demon. The logical--and perhaps only logical choice, as we shall see, is Father Makar. There is much more to this scene. Never miss the opportunity to use a scene to your best advantage. I have been hinting and giving information about Dobrushin's current state for a while. Now I can get everything out in the open. I will use this scene as an opportunity to give Aksinya the information about Dobrushin--at the same time, I will also show the reader. Notice, the way I will show the reader and Aksinya is through conversation.
Aksinya and Father Dobrushin followed Father Makar into the kitchen. Ekaterina was standing. She embraced Aksinya and kissed her cheeks, “We heard you had been freed, and it was all because of Dobrushin.”
“Yes,” Aksinya still held to Father Dobrushin with one hand. She put her other arm around Ekaterina, “Father Dobrushin defended me. I am not going to prison.”
Father Makar sat at the table. He scowled at them, “You should call him Dobrushin or Herr Lopuhin.”
Aksinya asked, “Why?”
“Didn’t you note his beard, his clothing? He is no longer a priest because of you.”
“Because of me?”
“Dobrushin, didn’t you tell her. I can’t believe she is so slow. I would not permit Dobrushin to defend you in court. Because he opposed me, I took away his right to ordination in this Ecclesia. When I send my report to the Patriarch of the Church, he will likely not be ordained anywhere else.”
“You can do that?”
“Yes. I am his superior and an archpriest. I can make any decision I desire concerning his future in the Church.”
“He will never be a priest again?”
“Not likely unless the White Russians prevail. The Reds want to destroy the Church there.”
Dobrushin led Aksinya to her usual chair, “Sit, Princess.”
Aksinya would not let Dobrushin go. She held to him even as she sat and would not release his arm. He moved his chair closer to her so he could sit. Ekaterina placed a mug of hot dark tea before each of them. She sat down.
The scene is set with the kitchen. The time is known and the place has been described before. Note the use of things previously described to bring the kitchen back to the mind of the reader and alive in the context of the storyline. We learn that Father Makar has taken Dobrushin's place in the Ecclesia away from him. We also learn something about the politics of the times. We know the communists did indeed try to destroy the church in Russia.
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.