Writing Ideas – Vampire Novel, part 19, even more Submarining Your Initial Scene

23 July 2014, Vampire Novel, part 19, even more Submarining Your Initial Scene

Announcement: There is action on my new novels.  The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name.  I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions.  They are also working on a single theme for the covers.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start with http://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.

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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:  To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

Here are my four rules (plus one) of 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 this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.

The ways to submarine your initial scene are a prologue, a non-action initial scene, an initial scene that is backstory.

In my opinion, action equals energy.  There is no novel that has no action–even the most intellectual novel will have some degree of action.  I’ll go further, action propels every novel.  Without some action or threat of action, there is no reason for a novel.

I’m trying to think of novels without any or much action–I can’t think of any.  I’m trying to think of examples of low grade action in novels–I can’t think of any.  Action of some kind envelops and infuses every novel.  A novel like the history: The Diary of Anne Frank is defined by suppressed action and the climax is the action of an attack.  Suppressed action defines such a book and gives wings to the intellectual parts of it.  In a similar novel, The Book Thief, the action is the novel and defines the novel.  There is no relief from the driving beat of warfare and threat of death.  Most novels are similar to this.  I would argue that most novels are propelled by some degree of action.  Since I’ve been writing about the first scene–that action must propel and define the initial scene.

Action will also define and propel the climax.  If you had no other action in your novel, it should be in the initial scene and the climax.  These two parts are never intellectual.  If you find a great novel where they are, I’d like to see it.  Action must define these two parts.  In most novels, you will find that action propels the entire novel and especially the rising action.  Just think of most novels, the movement and actions of the characters is what propels the rising action.  In the rising action, the action builds to the climax.  But the two highest action points of the novel are the initial scene and the climax.  The point is this, make certain your initial scene (and climax) is high action.

More tomorrow.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Aksinya Cover Proposal
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Writing Ideas – Vampire Novel, part 18, yet more Submarining Your Initial Scene

22 July 2014, Vampire Novel, part 18, yet more Submarining Your Initial Scene

Announcement: There is action on my new novels.  The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name.  I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions.  They are also working on a single theme for the covers.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start with http://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.

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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:  To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

Here are my four rules (plus one) of 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 this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.

The ways to submarine your initial scene are a prologue, a non-action initial scene, an initial scene that is backstory.

What you want from your initial scene is to set the novel, to introduce the main characters, to introduce the theme, and to bring the reader directly into the action (plot and storyline).  I can still achieve this and submarine my initial scene by not making it a powerful scene.  There are potentially many reasons for this.  The first is picking a point outside the action.  I made this mistake in The End of Honor.  I’ve already confessed the problems of the initial scenes of some of my published novels.  I made the mistake of not having this as an action scene and by brining in backstory.  The novel also has a prologue.  So I’m breaking all my recommendations to you.  You might ask how the novel was published–the novel has redeeming characteristics, but it was one of the first novels I wrote.  It is a good novel, but I’ve grown as a writer and a novelist.  The quality and understanding of writing you have at your twenty-third novel is much different than at your third novel.  I have improved as a novelist and as a writer.  My earlier novels are still good novels, but I’ve learned even better how to write and how to put together a great novel.

Now, as to action.  If you bring the protagonist and the antagonist together or the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper, you will have action.  It is possible to have intellectual action, but I’m not into novels like that.  You should have some degree of real action.  When we get to it, I’ll use my vampire novel as an example of the action in the initial scene.

More tomorrow.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Aksinya Cover Proposal
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Writing Ideas – Vampire Novel, part 17, more Submarining Your Initial Scene

21 July 2014, Vampire Novel, part 17, more Submarining Your Initial Scene

Announcement: There is action on my new novels.  The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name.  I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions.  They are also working on a single theme for the covers.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start with http://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.

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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:  To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

Here are my four rules (plus one) of 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 this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.

The ways to submarine your initial scene are a prologue, a non-action initial scene, an initial scene that is backstory.

What you want from your initial scene is to set the novel, to introduce the main characters, to introduce the theme, and to bring the reader directly into the action (plot and storyline).  A prologue prevents all of these.   It piecemeals the initial scene so part of it is not at the beginning.  For example, if you have a prologue, you can’t set the novel (and if you do in the prologue, why have a prologue).  You can’t introduce the main characters (if you do, why have a prologue).  You can’t introduce the theme (if you do, why have a prologue)…you get the picture.  The point is that a prologue, by definition, describes something outside the sphere of the novel, but related to the novel, to give additional information to the reader that makes the novel (plot and storyline understandable).  Usually, a prologue happens prior to the novel and puts the entire novel in context of time or place.

Ah, you might say, what is wrong with that?  Then why doesn’t every novel have a prologue?  A good writer can place the reader in the context of the time and place of the novel without a whole chapter of explanation.  As I mentioned, most readers don’t read the prologue.  Most publishers don’t like prologues.  Prologues blunt the power of the initial scene.  Let’s leave it at that–the main problem with a prologue is that it blunts the power of the first scene, and the first scene is the critical scene where the author captures the reader and drags him/her into the world of the novel.

More tomorrow.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Aksinya Cover Proposal
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Writing Ideas – Vampire Novel, part 16, Submarining Your Initial Scene

20 July 2014, Writing Ideas - Vampire Novel, part 16, Submarining Your Initial Scene

Announcement: There is action on my new novels.  The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name.  I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions.  They are also working on a single theme for the covers.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start with http://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.

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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:  To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

Here are my four rules (plus one) of 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 this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.

The ways to submarine your initial scene are a prologue, a non-action initial scene, an initial scene that is backstory.

So, dump the prologues.  I don’t like prologues, readers ignore prologues (they don’t read them), and publishers don’t like prologues.  If you put in a prologue, the chances are great that you will have a novel that is unpublishable.  In fact, if you speak to many writers (with a publishable work) who initially had a prologue in their novel and pulled it out–they found the novel was acceptable to a publisher.

The problem with prologues is that they blunt the power of the initial scene.  Now, full disclosure, I have three novels with an introduction–they are called prologues in the novels.  They really aren’t prologues, they are really introductions that are intended to be both funny and to give the reader information that is not otherwise available in the novels.  The question is this–just what is a prologue.  A prologue is a part of the action or narrative that is written to allow the reader to understand the novel.  The reader doesn’t need to read my prologues to understand the story.  I included them to give a feeling to the novel and not to provide information the reader required to understand the novel.  I will admit, my introductions do give the reader some insight to the culture of the novel, but they are not required.  You might ask, then why include a prologue at all–that is the right answer.  I really shouldn’t have included the prologues at all.  I was trying to follow in the footsteps of Jack Vance who provided this type of information in his novels.  The reason I left in the prologues is that my publisher liked them.  Since I’ve confessed, I can move ahead with explaining why prologues are not a good idea.

More tomorrow.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Aksinya Cover Proposal
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Writing Ideas – Vampire Novel, part 15, more Initial Scene

19 July 2014, Vampire Novel, part 15, more Initial Scene

Announcement: There is action on my new novels.  The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name.  I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions.  They are also working on a single theme for the covers.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start with http://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.

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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:  To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

Here are my four rules (plus one) of 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 this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.

Really, messing up the initial scene is a classic failure in newbie writers.  Many of the big failings in the initial scene are: a prolog, a non-action initial scene, an initial scene that is backstory.  Almost any guide to writing will tell you, the first scene–the initial scene in any novel must be action packed and interesting.  The best way to do this is the straight protagonist meets antagonist or protagonist meets protagonist’s helper.  That is, you lift the initial scene directly from the theme statement.  If your initial scene is not filled with action and adventure (or at least excitement), don’t write the novel.  If your theme and meeting of the main characters isn’t worth an exciting initial scene, you have too weak a theme.  I can assure you, a novel that is driven using a weak theme statement isn’t worth writing or reading.

By definition, if the initial scene isn’t exciting and doesn’t relate the theme to the protagonist and antagonist or protagonist’s helper, then the theme is likely not strong enough to support a novel.  Additionally, it is also possible for a writer to submarine her/his own initial scene.

More tomorrow.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Aksinya Cover Proposal
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Writing Ideas – Vampire Novel, part 14, Initial Scene

18 July 2014, Vampire Novel, part 14, Initial Scene

Announcement: There is action on my new novels.  The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name.  I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions.  They are also working on a single theme for the covers.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start with http://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.

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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:  To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

Here are my four rules (plus one) of 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 this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.

From the theme statement, the obvious initial scene is when the vampire meets the agent.  In most novels, the obvious initial scene is either the meeting between the protagonist and the antagonist or the meeting between the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper.  In this case, the protagonist is the agent and the protagonist’s helper is the vampire.

The protagonist could equally be the vampire, but I chose differently for a couple of reasons.  The first is that a vampire should be mysterious.  You can’t really have a mysterious protagonist.  Second, I wanted the agent to be the protagonist.  Ah, the astute reader will say, then the vampire doesn’t change and the agent does.  Bingo.  The identification of the protagonist is that the character has a telic change during the novel.  The vampire can’t have a telic change, the agent must.  I did this trick in Khione.  The protagonist’s helper, Khione had a telic change, but so did the protagonist.  This might be a little modern for some purists, but this is how many novels with a strong redemption theme work.  The main character is not the only one redeemed.

In almost every novel, the initial meeting of the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper or the antagonist makes the best initial scene.  Now, imagine other scenes as a contrast.

More tomorrow.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Aksinya Cover Proposal
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Writing Ideas – Characters (Vampire), part 13, more Setting

17 July 2014, Characters (Vampire), part 13, more Setting

Announcement: There is action on my new novels.  The publisher renamed the series–they are still working on the name.  I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere’, China, Sveta, and Klava–at least these are some of the suggestions.  They are also working on a single theme for the covers.  I’ll keep you updated.

Introduction:  I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon.  This was my 21st novel, and on 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–start with http://ldalford.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/daemon-installment-1-the-incantation/.

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.  At this moment, I’m showing you the creative process I used to put together the novel.

Today’s Blog:  To see the steps in the publication process, go to my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

Here are my four rules (plus one) of 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 this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.

Part of the reason to select Gdansk, Poland was personal.  I know the culture, and I know the general area.  I know about the history.  This makes the setting much easier to write about.  The setting of Gdansk, Poland is also slightly mysterious and romantic.

Gdansk is a city on the coast with a strong maritime history.  It also, as I mentioned before, has many important embassies that were established there because of Prussia and because of the Polish reunification following World War Two.  The setting is perfect for an accidental meeting of the old and the new.  It is an old city with the modern mixed in.  It is an important city, but little known by many of my readers.  The lack of familiarity gives it an even greater mysterious flavor.  The city itself has a flavor of the east and a flavor of the west.  It is a kind of crossroads.

I liked the feel of the city and of the environment.  There are other reasons for this place as the initial setting, but that will come out as I describe the novel in more detail.

With the main characters and the setting, we can begin the novel.  The first step is to develop the initial scene.  The initial scene must be an action oriented scene that grabs the reader and propels them into the novel.

With this theme statement I am ready to tackle the novel.  The next step was to flesh out the characters and the setting.

More tomorrow.

I’ll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.

Aksinya Cover Proposal
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