5 May 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 305, Initial Scene
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more 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 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape–a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
I’ll make a slight digression because I’m developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly. Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene. I’m writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, “Escape.” Escape is the working title. I’ll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel. I’m at the eight chapter right now. That means I’ve written about 160 pages.
When I begin a novel–I should say, before I begin a novel, I imagine the initial scene. The initial scene is the most important scene in any novel, and it is the scene that defines the novel. The initial scene in “Escape,” jumps back and forth between the main characters, Reb and Scott. Scott is the pilot who is flying an illegal flight path across the island nation of Freedom. Reb is the citizen who longs to escape Freedom. Their paths cross when Scott’s high altitude cargo shuttle experiences an engine failure and he has to crash land on the island of Freedom. This scene sets up the entire novel.
The reason this scene is so important is that this scene is the one that will encourage a publisher or a prospective reader to pick up your novel and read it. If a publisher reads your novel, you might get published. If a potential reader likes the first scene, they might buy your novel. This is why this scene is so important. You can louse up the scenes in the middle of the novel and few will care, but if the first scene is bad, a publisher or a potential reader will not read your novel. No read, no buy. No read, no publish. That is why the first scene is so important.
Additionally, this is why I’m not in favor of prologues or anything else that gets in front of the first scene. Don’t self eliminate your novels with this kind of bad writing. Better to dump the prologue and bring it in later as a flashback than to screw up your first scene.