Announcement: Ancient Light is in publication and you can buy it at almost any internet book sellers or order it from any brick and mortar bookstore. You can read about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
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.
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.
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 my newest novel, Valeska, is this: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.
Here is my proposed cover for Valeska:
I decided on a white cover style. You can see more at www.GoddessofDarkness.com.
Description can also be incorporated into conversation and action narration. In fact, a perfect balance in modern writing is to deviate from earlier novel writing in this regard. In the past, writers many times would write extensive passages of description and scene setting. They generally placed these long passages at the beginning of the scene–they were excellent settings, but too much. A perfect example of this can be found on Mill on the Floss. The author goes on and on in description to build the world of the place. This might have appealed during the high days of Dickens, but it won’t cut it today. Unfortunately, today, authors seem to have lost the fine sense of scene development and instead dig immediately into the action.
If you can see novel writing as character revelation, you should be able to realize both the problem with Dickens’ era over description, and modern era lack of description. In the early days of the novel, you can cut the writers some slack for overusing the omniscient and narrative voice. They were developing the art of the novel. Today, you have too many good examples to not understand. If you take my rules of thumb, developed from Arlo Guthrie’s Field Guide to Writing and use at least 300 words for your major characters and 100 words for minor characters. For any general scene setting, use at least 300 words. These are minimums, but they will give you a good basis for descriptions.
Now, realize that all the other stuff the Victorian Era writers were trying to put in their descriptions must come with character and place revelation.