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?
This is the part of the scene or collection of scenes where we finally get a true release of tension. It is not a complete release--there should not be a complete release of tension until the climax of the novel. In most cases, the climax itself is not a total release of the tension in the novel. In many novels, there is never a complete release of the tension. In other words, the storyline does not have a complete resolution. Not all strings are wrapped up in the novel. In complex novels, this is almost always true. This is because the many threads of the storyline continue before and after the novel climax. On the other hand, the theme must resolve in a tension resolution of some type and the plot must resolve.
If you remember, we began with a scene where Heidi and Sveta first meet and recognize they are both unusual beings. In the second scene Heidi and George have a small fight. In the third scene, Daniel and George confer and George discovers that Heidi has disappeared.
Heidi held a glass of wine in her hand and followed Harold. Harold stopped at a closed door, “Ms. Mardling, this is the sunroom. Mrs. Long is waiting for you within.” Harold opened the door for her and bowed.
Heidi didn’t stagger too much as she stepped through the door. It shut behind her.
The room was very brightly lit. Sveta sat in a padded chair next to the center of the room. In front of her was a love seat, and on the other side, a matching padded chair. In between the seats was a tea table.
Sveta stood. She didn’t move an inch toward Heidi, “Thank you very much for being willing to meet with me. I’m afraid we got off on the wrong foot…”
Heidi curtsied. She didn’t lower her eyes, and she didn’t dare take her eyes off Sveta.
Sveta stretched out her hand, “Would you please take a seat. I have tea.”
Heidi pursed her lips tightly together. She stepped deliberately to the other padded chair and stood behind it.
Sveta nodded her head, “You see, there is a table between us. I won’t try to touch you again.” Sveta sat down and put out her hand.
Heidi sat quickly. She set her wine glass on the table.
“May I serve you tea?”
Sveta poured the tea and pushed the cup and saucer toward Heidi. After Sveta had pulled her hand completely back, Heidi with her eyes on Sveta, reached forward and took the cup and saucer. She held her cup and waited.
Sveta poured her tea. No one moved for a while. Finally, flustered, Sveta took a sip of tea. Heidi kept her eyes on Sveta—she took a quick sip.
Sveta sat back a little, “Ah, I see…” She steepled her hands, “Your dress is lovely. You have very good taste.”
Heidi sipped her tea again, “Taste slightly out of time…”
“Yes, slightly out of time. I really do not desire to antagonize you. I wonder exactly why…”
“You wonder why my presence unnerves you…”
“Yes, I wonder very much…and I would like to know why. What is it about you…?”
Heidi frowned, “It might be better for both of us if you do not know…”
“That thought never crossed my mind…”
“It has not left my thoughts since we were first introduced…”
Sveta sighed, “Listen, Ms. Mardling, let me lay my cards on the table.”
Heidi nodded, but didn’t lower her eyes.
“I recognize you are a being of spiritual dimensions. I myself am such a being.”
“I know. Does Mr. Long realize—that is about you?”
“Yes. Does George realize about you?”
“I should lie and say no, but I will say this…officially, Mr. Mardling doesn’t know anything about it at all…”
“Then he does know… but I am not to tell my husband about it. I understand. I will not say anything to him.”
“I will not tell anyone…I am very good at keeping secrets.”
Heidi scowled, “You are not very discreet at hiding your emotions…”
Sveta put up her hands, “I understand. I was just surprised. The last thing I expected to find was a being like you at my Christmas party.”
Heidi took a deep breath, “I admit, I was not at my best. I upset Mr. Mardling and your guests. Additionally, I was petulant. I apologize. You were very tolerant of my behavior when I was childish.”
“You are not a child. I realize that.”
“I am not a child.”
Sveta took another deep breath, “Can you tell me who you are?”
“Your cards are on the table—not mine.”
“I understand.” She sighed, “I am an unbound goddess. I lead the Stele branch of ‘the organization’.”
Heidi stared, “What exactly does this Stele office do?”
“Chiefly, we use spiritual means to protect Britain.”
Heidi visibly relaxed.
Sveta put her hands up, “I only wish to know more about you, but there is a scent.”
Heidi’s eye twitched, “The scent of blood and the grave?”
Heidi folded her arms.
“Will you please tell me what kind of being you are?”
“I see. If you are worried, we follow the One named יהוה.” The sound reverberated like a rushing wind about the room.
Heidi covered her ears. Her eyes flashed, “Why did you have to say that Name?”
“I won’t say it again. You have not bowed your neck to Him?”
“I was already broken by that Guy.”
Sveta’s brow creased, “I…I don’t understand. I have never heard of such a thing. Please tell me who you are. I’d be happy to help any way I can.”
Heidi’s voice rose, “You can’t help me. No one can help me.”
“I don’t believe that is true.”
“Then you don’t know everything do you?”
Sveta was getting a little hot, “If you tell me who you are, we can move forward from there. If you simply bow your neck to Him, we can work together.”
“I lay with my face on the ground broken by Him and without any hope of redemption…”
“I know that is not true…”
Heidi rose to her feet, “It is truth.”
“If you know about Him and you are convinced, you must have hope…I believe this is truth.”
Heidi stood, “I believe, we have nothing else to speak about…”
Sveta held out her hands, “Please, Ms. Mardling…don’t go. I promise, as long as you don’t oppose us, we will help you…”
“You don’t understand…”
Sveta took a deep breath, “I want to understand. Please tell me who you are…”
“I will not… if I do…if I do,” Heidi’s chest was heaving.
“Please…, I know someone you will want to talk to.”
Heidi backed around the chair. She kept Sveta at her front.
Sveta sighed, “You don’t need to fear me. I promise--I’ll not attack you. I think we can still work together to the same ends.”
Heidi perked up, “Do you truly promise?”
“I do… I do promise, by the last and all.” The air crackled in the room.
Heidi smiled, “You may regret that you ever made such a promise, but I do accept it. I can’t handle anything more tonight. I thank you for your hospitality.” She backed to the door. When Heidi touched the door handle, Harold opened the door from the other side. Heidi curtsied and ran through the opening.
Now you see what all the excitement was about. Heidi is a vampire. These others in Stele follow the being who broke her. One could state that Heidi broke His laws and became what she is. This is all backstory the reader learned about Heidi's life and death before. In any case, the tension that was developed previously has not been completely released. There is still tension between Sveta and Heidi. Heidi still has her secret. There is now a new tension. Sveta knows now that George Mardling was lying. He knows about Heidi. The reader might wonder what this could portend for George. There is a further issue that was revealed: Sveta wants Heidi to speak to a certain someone. This is a new element to build into another scene. In fact, the next scenes begin to introduce this new character. The near final tension release in this scene is the swearing. Sveta swore an oath to Heidi. This should have reduced the tension somewhat. The final release is Heidi's response. Once she had a promise, she could leave. For her, she had repaired the evening the best she could.
This entire sequence goes back to what I mentioned before, once I can get two opposed characters together in conversation, I can really develop the novel. I can give the readers a great deal of information without telling and through showing. I can reveal and inform. I can show the readers what the characters are thinking. I can develop incredible tension or release that tension.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: