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.
I know all my readers won't appreciate the entire wedding ceremony in this novel. I know it won't entertain everyone. It is just like my novel Centurion. I know not everyone is enamored with the details of the Roman Legion. Men, mostly, are intrigued. Women, not so much. Women like the romance aspect in the novel. I suspect men like it too. The reason I left these details in the novel was to make it historically relevant as well as entertaining. I've written before that historical novels must include the historical. I don't mind that some readers will skip these parts--I wrote them as entertainingly as I could, but I also realize not everyone reads every word in many truly historical novels.
Dobrushin called, “Let us pray to the Lord.”
Ekaterina replied, “Lord, have mercy.”
Father Makar prayed again, “Holy God, who fashioned man from dust, and from his rib built up a woman and yoked her to him as a helper like himself, for it was not pleasing to your greatness for man to be alone on earth, do you, Master, now send forth your hand from your holy dwelling, and link…” He put Dobrushin’s right hand in Aksinya’s. She held it tightly while Father Makar continued to pray, “…your servant Dobrushin Sergeevich Lopuhin and your servant Princess Aksinya Georgovna Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov the Countess of Golitsyna, because it is by you that a wife is linked to her husband. Yoke them together in likeness of mind. Crown them into one flesh. Grant them fruit of the womb, enjoyment of fair offspring. For yours is the might, and yours the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.”
Symbols in novels and life are as simple as holding hands and as complex as rings and crowns. We are still preparing for the crowning. This simple blessing explains the symbol of one flesh--linked by hands and then crowned...
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.