29 January 2019, Writing - part x753, Writing a Novel, Tension in the Initial Scene
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. More 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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
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.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
1. Design the initial scene
2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a. Research as required
b. Develop the initial setting
c. Develop the characters
d. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5. Write the climax scene
6. Write the falling action scene(s)
7. Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
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.
For novel 30: 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.
For novel 31: Deirdre and Sorcha are redirected to French finishing school where they discover difficult mysteries, people, and events.
Here is the scene development outline:
1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
Today: Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel? I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together. We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing.
To start a novel, I picture an initial scene. I may start from a protagonist or just launch into mental development of an initial scene. I get the idea for an initial scene from all kinds of sources. To help get the creative juices flowing, let’s look at the initial scene.
Scenes are based in tension and release—this includes the initial scene. As I mentioned, the first thing I look for in developing tension is the meeting of the protagonist with the protagonist’s helper or the antagonist. I hope you can see how this will produce tension. These meetings are almost perfect for the development of tension. We have more options that this.
The second idea I gave you was to pick an exciting part in the protagonist’s life or at some early point in the plot and write the scene there.
The third and least exciting idea is to provide buildup to an exciting scene. I don’t recommend this, but it can be done. This scene must drag us immediately into the life and introduction of the protagonist.
There is a fourth means of bringing us into the novel—this is the indirect introduction of the protagonist. I’ll provide some examples.
The first and best idea can be seen in many novels. In my novel, Deirdre: Enchantment and the School, the protagonist, Deirdre meets the protagonist’s helper in the initial scene and has a fight. Great initial scene. In my novel, Aksinya: Enchantment and the Deamon, Aksinya, the protagonist, conjures the demon Asmodeus, the antagonist. Great meeting and wonderful tension. In Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, Essie, the protagonist meets Mrs. Lyons, the protagonist’s helper and is captured by her in her pantry. Look at the initial scenes in novels for this characteristic. This is the very best way to begin a novel.
The second idea is a great method to build an initial scene. I use this method in my novels, Aegypt, Shadow of Light, The End of Honor, and The Fox’s Honor. In each of these, I start the novel during an exciting and adventurous time and scene in the life of the protagonist. In Aegypt Lieutenant Bolang has just finished a fight against a bandit in Tunisia. In Shadow of Light the protagonist is caught in the middle of the Battle for Berlin. In each of these novels, I start them at an exciting and adventurous scene. This is a very common means of beginning a novel. You can see many examples.
The third idea is to provide a buildup. I do begin a few of my novels this way. For example, I begin Warrior of Light this way. This is a common way to write a novel. It can work but the focus of the novel must be a very exciting and interesting protagonist. The protagonist of this novel is very interesting, and the start is intentionally a contrast.
Finally, the worst, but by no means uncommon way to start a novel is with the indirect introduction of the protagonist. A great example of this is Harry Potty. The first novel introduces us to the baby, Harry. This is an indirect introduction. I don’t recommend this means, but I did use it in my novel, Centurion. In novels that mean to cover the entire life of the protagonist, this can be a reasonable means to build an initial scene. As I wrote, I don’t recommend this method. The only reason I used it for Centurion is the pathos development and the basis I wanted to build in the novel. It seems to have worked very well. It usually dilutes the excitement of the initial scene.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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