Announcement: My new novels should be available from any webseller or can be ordered from any brick and mortar bookstore. Information can be found at www.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.
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 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo ferry pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
I'll make a slight digression because I'm developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly. Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.
The entertainment (and excitement) should start with the first sentence and paragraph and grow to envelope the first scene. Let's compare the excitement and entertainment I'm recommending with some of my published novels. Here is the first paragraph from Aegypt.
Storm clouds grew across the darkening sky. They squared off like titans, rising tremendously over the burning sands. The air pressure dropped suddenly, caressing yawning ears, and in the storm’s wake, the nearly constant winds died. Silence charged the air like static electricity. Not a sound broke the stillness until, with a harsh crackle of blue fire, the clouds burst open and poured a solid torrent over the acrid waste.
Okay, for some of my readers, this is a favored first paragraph. This is pure scene setting with some action in the setting itself. It isn't bad. As you can see with Escape, I've transitioned in the initial paragraph from pure scene setting to action and character setting. I don't think Aegypt has a poor initial paragraph--I like it and many of my readers like it, but it doesn't have any character setting or character action.
My view of the initial scene and the initial paragraph has improved and changed since I wrote this novel. Aegypt has a kind of artsy beginning--this is okay as long as people who pick up the novel keep reading. As I mentioned, some readers like this. I think it is a good beginning for Aegypt. I rewrote it so many time, it better be good. If I were writing this novel over again, I might start it a little differently, but that's okay--it's published and you can buy and read it. My knowledge of how to begin a novel has improved. Another example tomorrow.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: