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.
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.
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/.