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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 778, The Initial Scene Setting

28 May 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 778, The Initial Scene Setting

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  More information can be found at  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

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.

Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

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 26th novel, working title, Shape, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I just started writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.  

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th novel.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action.  I’m editing many of my novels using comments from my primary reader.  I finished my 27th novel, working title Claire.  I’m working on marketing materials.

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. 

Scene development:

1.  Scene input (easy)

2.  Scene output (a little harder)

3.  Scene setting (basic stuff)

4.  Creativity (creative elements of the scene)

5.  Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)

6.  Release (climax of creative elements)


How to begin a novel.  Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea.  I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement.  Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement.  Here is an initial cut.


Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.


In the theme statement, we have a setting: Edwards AFB.  This is a great setting because I’ve lived there twice, and lived in the area four times.  Plus, I’ve spent a lot of time in the area and accomplishing the mission the novel will cover.  I was an experimental test pilot for the USAF and I still work as an experimental test pilot in industry.  I know many of the people who flew these aircraft.  I wish I had more details, but I’ll work that out.  The setting from this standpoint is perfect—the problem is turning back the clock.  I worked and lived at Edwards in the 1990s—I want to set the story in the 1960s.  There is another part of the setting.


To get the setting right, I need to research, which I’m doing and to get every detail as perfect as possible.  I’m doing this too.  Another problem is the detail and the lack of detail for the period.  The detail is fantastic, but much of it isn’t recorded and isn’t on the web.  The lack of detail is breathtaking—for the closeness of the times to now, there is still a great lack of information about the mundane.  In writing about cultures and history much displaced, the writer must interpolate and extrapolate much of the information.  The wise writer has a basis in fact for everything, but because of the lack of information on some subjects, the author must use logic, science, or other sources to tease on the information. 


In a modernish novel, the author must get even the smallest detail correct.  The reason is there are too many living people who will spot huge errors.  The small errors can be handled easily, the large errors can’t be explained.  The best source are the people who were there, when they are available.  I may ask a few to review the novel for accuracy.  That’s also a problem.  Many very intelligent people have a focused intelligence.  They are wonderful in their field and sometimes wonderful out of it.  Then there are many who don’t have a single clue outside their area of expertise.  The problem of closeness of witness is also a problem in the modern era.  That is many times eyewitnesses have problems remembering fact from false and time doesn’t help.


Closeness is the author’s friend in this kind of historical setting.  That is, close is good enough.  Very small details that are obvious can be beautiful touches, but details that can’t be corroborated with photos, records, and all are suspect.        


More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, and my individual novel websites:

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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