30 April 2014, Writing Ideas - Vampire Novel, part 20, and even 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.
The easiest way to kill the action in an initial scene is to include too much backstory. The initial scene s no place for backstory. You should always leap into the novel with both feet and start with setting and action. The action can include conversation, but not too much. In your action and setting, you can place some little tidbits of backstory, but even then, I think it is back story telling technique to put in too much backstory at all. You should be able to make the entire storyline, including the backstory, come alive in the conversation of the characters.
With solitary characters, it is possible to have them reminisce during breakfast or to contemplate the past at dinner. But do it in the second and later scenes. I made the mistake of putting too much backstory in the initial scene of my novel, Aegypt. I was following the advice of my mentor, but I should have left the novel as it is with the backstory in the later scenes. My mentor in writing novels liked to write in an older style and wanted to put the full character setting and description at the beginning. I can go for character description, but not backstory. From experience, I can assure you, you can put all the elements of the backstory you wish in the rising action. So, don't put much backstory in your initial scene.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: