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Friday, November 1, 2019

Writing - part xx029 Writing a Novel, Background and Initial Scene

1 November 2019, Writing - part xx029 Writing a Novel, Background and 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  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 websites
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
Cover Proposal
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. 

1.     Meeting between the protagonist and the antagonist or the protagonist’s helper
2.     Action point in the plot
3.     Buildup to an exciting scene
4.     Indirect introduction of the protagonist

Perhaps I should go back and look again at the initial scene—maybe, I’ll cover that again as part of looking at the rising action.  The reason is that I’m writing a rising action in a novel right now.

That gets us back to the protagonist—complexity makes the protagonist and the telic flaw one and the same. 

The novel is a revelation of the protagonist.  The telic flaw is connected directly to the protagonist.  The plot is the revelation of the telic flaw.  This connects the protagonist to the plot and the telic flaw.  The point is that to plan a novel, I simply need to plan the revelation of the protagonist.  To accomplish this, you need to develop a protagonist.

When I write you develop your protagonist, you write notes about:

1.     Name
2.     Background
3.     Education
4.     Appearance
5.     Work
6.     Wealth
7.     Skills
8.     Mind
10.  Dislikes
11.  Opinions
12.  Honor
13.  Life
14.  Thoughts
15.  Telic flaw

I design a protagonist around the initial scene.  This is the way I write a novel.  This isn’t the only way to write a novel, but it is the way I have discovered to write well-conceived and powerful novels.  This goes back to the initial scene. 

The initial scene sells your novel.  The initial scene also conceives your novel.  To the first point.  I don’t care how perfect, exciting, and well-written your rising action and climax is, that does not sell or even end in a readable novel.  The first thing the reader and the publisher sees is your initial scene.  Many draw that back to the initial page, paragraph, and sentence, but I don’t go that far.  Let’s look at this from the reader’s standpoint.  When I’m looking for a novel in a brick and mortar store, I first notice the cover.  If the cover excites me, I usually move to the title.  The title leads me to open the book.  Cover and title just move me to pick up and open the book.  Then I read the first sentence.  If the first sentence is interesting, I move to the first paragraph.  If the first paragraph is interesting, I move to the first scene.  If I like what I read, I will buy and read the book.  The rising action, climax, falling action, and dénouement scenes are all immaterial to my buying the novel.

If they don’t please me, I most likely will not buy another book by that author, but I have purchased books by authors whose overall books were not all that good, but whose ideas and characters interested me—all because of an initial scene.  Everything else is rubbish except the initial scene.

As I wrote, the initial scene sells your book to both readers and publishers.  For this reason, I focus my energy on the initial scene in developing a novel—the entire novel.  For every reason, this should be your focus.  Don’t worry about the climax, rising action, falling action, or the dénouement until you are ready to write them.  Start with the initial scene—it defines your entire novel.  The initial scene begins and ends with the protagonist.  

If you look above, I gave you four options for writing your initial scene.  I want to renege on your options.  If you compare most modern novels and/or ask most successful (published) writers, you will see these two are characteristics of most initial scenes:   

1.     Meeting between the protagonist and the antagonist or the protagonist’s helper
2.     Action point in the plot
3.     Buildup to an exciting scene
4.     Indirect introduction of the protagonist

Most classically developed novels start with the meeting of the protagonist and antagonist or the protagonist’s helper.  Almost all start at an action point in the plot.  All introduce the telic flaw.  Or, perhaps I have never read a novel that didn’t introduce the telic flaw in the initial scene.  I’m sure there is some terrible novel out there that doesn’t, but since every scene in a novel must address the resolution of the telic flaw, I think it is impossible to write an initial scene without the telic flaw. 

Moreover, I’ve mentioned before, prologues are death to an author.  I do incorporate prologues in my Chronicles of the Dragon and Fox science fiction novels.  I probably shouldn’t have done that.  They are short, intentionally humorous and explain some of the history leading up to the initial scene—my publisher liked them and left them in the novels, and that’s saying something.  The reason prologues are usually death is that instead of the exciting and action oriented initial scene, the reader gets fluff.  Most readers skip the prologue unless they are exciting and interesting on their own.  Let’s just say, in most cases, if you require a prologue, you started your novel in the wrong place, or if the prologue information is critical, you should find a way to incorporate it in the novel.  Just remember, prologues are death.

I’m still approaching the background of the protagonist in the initial scene.

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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