Scenes – Scene Setting, Who, Multiple Introductions

6 March 2013, Scenes – Scene Setting, Who, Multiple Introductions

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 https://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 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.

A scene outline is a means of writing a novel where each scene follows the other with a scene input from the previous scene and a scene output that leads to the next scene. The scenes don’t necessarily have to follow directly in time and place, however they generally follow the storyline of the protagonist.

A storyline outline is a means of writing a novel where the author develops a scene outline for more than one character and bases the plot on one or more of these storyline scenes. This allows the scenes to focus on more than the protagonist. This is a very difficult means of writing. There is a strong chance of confusing your readers.

Whether you write with a scene outline or a storyline outline, you must properly develop your scenes.  All novels are developed from scenes and each scene has a design similar to a novel.  Every successful novel has the following basic parts:

1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement

Every scene has these parts:

1.  The setting (where, what, who, when, how)
2.  The connection (input)
3.  The tension development
4.  The release
5.  The output

There are lots of approaches to scene setting.  That means there are about a million plus ways you can set a scene.  The main point is you have to clearly get across the where, when, who, what, and how.

The point of using 100 to 300 words to describe a character when you first introduce them is to set the character. I promised that I would give an example of introducing tertiary characters.  This is from my unpublished novel Shadow of Light.  The introduction is the many family members of the Bolang family to Tante Lumière and Oncle Sasha.  The purpose is not to introduce characters as much as it is to move a scene about introductions in a family and the action of the scene.  Note the methods I use in setting the characters.

Breckenridge let Aleksandr and Lumière into the house.  One of Robert and Nathalie’s children, a beautiful little girl alerted the whole house in French, “Mama, papa, tante, oncle…Tante Lumière and Oncle Sasha are here.”
      All the children who could run came running.  In moments Lumière and Aleksandr were surrounded by children.  The children grabbed their hands and pulled Lumière toward the sitting room and Aleksandr toward the study.  The adults soon gathered to rescue them.
      Aleksandr stood up straight with a couple of boys still hanging on to his hands.  They squealed with delight.  Aleksandr laughed, “All of you, line up by families.  I have no idea who you are.  And everyone, if you can, please speak English or Russian.”
      Everyone laughed, but they started moving and sorted themselves out.  It seemed that they all spoke English.
      Robert stood next to a stunning blond woman, Nathalie.  They were both dressed in finery and obviously French.  Before them stood the beautiful little girl.  She was dark, much like Lumière, and her face was exquisitely molded, fine and thin.  Robert pointed at her, “This is little Lumière.  We named her after you, Lumière.  She looks just like you.”
      Nathalie touched Lumière’s arm, “I had no idea.  I only saw pictures.  It is really true, petite Lumière looks just like her tante.”  Natalie held a baby in her arms, “This is Lune.”  Lune was sleeping.
      The little boy who stood at her feet yelled, “Don’t forget me, mama.”
      “I would never forget you.  You wouldn’t let me.  This is petite Robert.” Aleksandr shook little Robert’s hand and touched the girls’ hands.  Lumière kissed each of them.
      Jacques had his arm around a dark haired beauty.  She was very finally shaped and also petite.  He proudly squeezed her, “You have met my Émilie, but you haven’t met our children.”  He pointed to a fine boned little girl of about three, “This is Dimanche.  She is also named after you Lumière.  Robert and Nathalie already took Lumière, so we had to find a name just as bright.  I hope she looks like her mother, but if she looks like you or mother, then I won’t be upset.”  Dimanche was lost in a world of her own.  “Jacques held on to a little boy, “This is petite Jacques.  So we aren’t very creative.”
      Aleksandr laughed and shook little Jacques’ hand.  He tried to say hi to Dimanche, but she hid in her mother’s skirts.  Lumière coaxed her out and kissed her and her brother.
      Marie clasped Lumière closely to her, “You know George, and you have met little Paul and Leora.  Come on to Aunt Tilly’s sitting room.  The men can entertain Aleksandr.”
      The ladies all gathered in the sitting room.  They arranged themselves around Lumière.  The girls looked at her as though she were a princess and not just their aunt.  Petite Lumière held tightly to her hand.
      Émilie grinned while she corralled Dimanche and little Jacques, “Lumière the elder, I have heard so much about you, I am very glad to make your acquaintance.  I understand we are not allowed to discuss many events in your life.”
      Aunt Tilly laughed, “Not discuss them—they are virtual state secrets.”
      Lumière had a wonderful time becoming acquainted with Nathalie, Émilie, Marie, and their children.  She also enjoyed speaking with Tilly and her mother.  Aleksandr had a similar experience among the gentlemen.  He did have to put up with Lumière’s brothers’ ribbing.  They ate supper together and partook in polite after-dinner conversation.  As the evening wound down, they all made arrangements for church and to get together the next day.  Aleksandr and Lumière said good night to them.  They received sweet kisses from all their nieces and nephews.

Again, the purpose of this example is not to show how to introduce major or secondary characters, but rather how I would recommend scene setting the who of a family introduction.  You could use this for other unimportant characters who are introduced for some reason.  I can give other examples.  The most important point–don’t confuse your readers. I’ll get to that, tomorrow.

My Notes: once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, focus your theme, and define your characters. More tomorrow.

I’ll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.

A note from one of my readers:  Speaking of which, I am awaiting for you to write a detailed installment on identifying, and targeting your audience, or audiences…ie, multi-layered story, for various audiences…like CS Lewis did. Just a thought.

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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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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