28 April 2014, Writing Ideas - Vampire Novel, part 18, yet more Submarining Your Initial Scene
Announcement: There is action on my new novels. The publisher renamed the series--they are still working on the name. I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere', China, Sveta, and Klava--at least these are some of the suggestions. They are also working on a single theme for the covers. 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.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.
The ways to submarine your initial scene are a prologue, a non-action initial scene, an initial scene that is backstory.
What you want from your initial scene is to set the novel, to introduce the main characters, to introduce the theme, and to bring the reader directly into the action (plot and storyline). I can still achieve this and submarine my initial scene by not making it a powerful scene. There are potentially many reasons for this. The first is picking a point outside the action. I made this mistake in The End of Honor. I've already confessed the problems of the initial scenes of some of my published novels. I made the mistake of not having this as an action scene and by brining in backstory. The novel also has a prologue. So I'm breaking all my recommendations to you. You might ask how the novel was published--the novel has redeeming characteristics, but it was one of the first novels I wrote. It is a good novel, but I've grown as a writer and a novelist. The quality and understanding of writing you have at your twenty-third novel is much different than at your third novel. I have improved as a novelist and as a writer. My earlier novels as still good novels, but I've learned even better how to write and how to put together a great novel.
Now, as to action. If you bring the protagonist and the antagonist together or the protagonist and the protagonist's helper, you will have action. It is possible to have intellectual action, but I'm not into novels like that. You should have some degree of real action. When we get to it, I'll use my vampire novel as an example of the action in the initial scene.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: