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Friday, July 15, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 826, The Stage of the Novel, Initial Scene

15 July 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 826, The Stage of the Novel, Initial Scene

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 finished 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 started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. 

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.


Let’s go back to the beginning.  I’ll use my newest novel as an example.  It’s a historical novel, and you can see the theme statement just above.  Let’s look at a novel from the standpoint of a stage play.  First, a novel is not a stage play or a screenplay and they should not be mixed up or intermingled.  A novel is much more powerful than either a stage or a screen play.  The reason for this is the author’s control of the POV (point of view) and the COV (closeness of the view).  An author can speak (view) from the omniscient (god) level to the individual’s mind (internal) level.  The stage and screen play are not nearly as mobile especially from the internal or the omniscient levels. 


I know, I know, I tell you all the time: show don’t tell.  But to a degree, the ability of the author to project from the mind of the protagonist (or others—I don’t advise others) is a distinct power of the novel.  I know you can use all kinds of tricks in plays and movies to show the inner workings of the protagonist’s thoughts.  They are odd, though, and not normative. 


I’ll let you in on a secret—there is more than one way of showing and telling.  For example:


He was crying.


She said, “Don’t cry.”


He wanted to cry.


Among all the other ways in English to express it.  In the first case, this is pure showing.  The second is indirect showing.  The last is an internal look at a character.  The secret is that each of these should be used at the correct time and for the correct situation and character. 


In the newest novel I’m writing, I find this very important.  The protagonist is a soviet spy.  The only way I have to express her radical mental conniptions is through a little telling.  For example, many times I express her dichotomy of views and mind with:


“I don’t know anything about it,” she lied.


The “she lied” is a statement that perhaps the others don’t pick up on—or perhaps they do.  I don’t let them.  Additionally, there is much whirling in the mind of a spy that the author needs to tell (show or express)—there is no hope for it.  By the way, until some specific point in the novel, I don’t intent to give away to the readers that the protagonist is a Soviet spy.  I figure they will get it on their own eventually.  This is pure showing and not telling.         


More tomorrow.

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

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