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 my newest novel, Valeska, is this: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.
Here is my proposed cover for Valeska:
The plot is developed directly from the theme. The first steps are fleshing out the characters (not accomplished in the novel, but before writing the novel) and the setting. The main characters and the setting come directly out of the theme. The characters are revealed through the storyline that is based on the plot. Then how do you get to the plot?
In the previous scene, we see a break in the tension. The tension has not gone away--in fact, it increased between George and Heidi and then came back again with a slight release.
Let's go back a little and see where the tension has increased and where released. In terms of the plot, this is a Christmas party for members of the organization. It is a slightly high level affair in the home of the director and his wife. The plot is that Heidi (Valeska) confronts the director's wife, Sveta, who also is the head of the office in the organization called Stele. This is how simple the plot outline is. The storyline is where we get the actual tension and release.
During the first encounter, we have a confrontation between Heidi and Sveta. The source of the confrontation isn't directly addressed in the conversation or the narrative, but it appears that Heidi recognizes something in touching Sveta and vice versa. The break or halt in tension development is when Heidi and Sveta separate.
With Heidi and George together, we see an escalation of tension between them. George doesn't understand Heidi's reactions. When she explains things, George understands better, but there is still tension that has not been fully released. The tension is between Heidi and Sveta and Heidi and George.
The next part of the scene is a slight almost tensionless interlude to set up the next part and to give a little more set to the tension.
A few people greeted George. Tim and his wife came by. They spoke of trivialities. As the evening progressed, George tried to keep count of the number of glasses Heidi drank. He lost track, but he thought she only had three. He was thinking about leaving early.
Daniel Long sauntered over. Sveta wasn’t in view. Daniel took at glance at Heidi then addressed George, “George, do you know what set off your niece?”
“Not a clue,” George lied.
“Sveta was also very agitated, but she wouldn’t tell me what was going on. Sveta thought that she was acting unsocial. She’s trying to make it up to you both.”
“I’m afraid my niece is drinking herself to oblivion.”
“Sorry about that…”
“I didn’t handle it well at all. She was narked at me too.”
Daniel stepped closer, “George, are you certain you don’t know why they were at each other’s throats?”
Daniel shook his head and took a sip of his drink, “I’ve come to trust Sveta’s intuition about our business and many other things…”
“I can understand that.”
“I know this isn’t the best time to discuss things, George. Perhaps you can come visit me on Monday.”
George grimaced, “Yes. I’ll come by.”
“Maybe we can discuss getting a larger flat for you and…what was her name, Heidi.”
Daniel nodded apologetically, “Glad you could come to the party. It’s not been as pleasant for you as I’d like—sorry about that.”
“It’s all right.”
Daniel moved on to the next couple.
When George turned back to check on Heidi, she was gone.The setup was to let George and Daniel discuss the situation and make plans for the future (the next few scenes). That is a setup for the overall novel--the development of the plot in the next few scenes. George and Daniel discuss the question at hand. This is a question for the reader as well. It is a question whose answer will somewhat release the tension for the reader, but not for the characters.
There is no real release of tension here, but rather an interlude in the tension to allow some conversation concerning it and the events. The kicker is the last sentence--Heidi is gone. The question in the reader's mind is the same as George's--where did she go. Did she go back to their flat. Did she leave permanently. Was she kidnapped. Is there something more nefarious going on... This is an obvious increase in the tension through a simple observation.
Note that a single sentence can build tension, leave a mystery, worry the reader and the characters, and lead to a new scene.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: