15 May 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 315, even more Paragraphs 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 eighth chapter right now. That means I’ve written about 160 pages.
The entertainment (and excitement) should start with the first sentence and paragraph and grow to envelope the first scene. Let’s compare the excitement and entertainment I’m recommending with some of my published novels. As I grew as a writer, my awareness of the importance of the first paragraph grew. It’s one thing to be taught or realize and another to implement. So let’s look at some of my other novels. For example, The End of Honor:
My name is Lyral. I am no longer alive. My life has flown like the cry of a tropical bird, a ragged call on the twilight of an Empire. The sound, like my memory, is quickly forgotten in the important matters of the times. Yet, in the important matter of my death, no one gave me a choice, and I did not want to die.
This is not a bad first paragraph. This novel starts in the first person, but eventually moves to the third person when Lyral’s tale is complete. I will admit that the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox are in some way experimental novels. Still, even though the development of them is somewhat unique, they are still very normal in terms of a novel organization.
If we look at this first paragraph. There is action. There is mystery. There is excitement. It is artsy. There is description and character revelation. This should be a perfect first paragraph. The publisher and reader should be attracted and interested in this novel simply based on the initial paragraph.
There are two problems with this initial paragraph. The first is the use of the first person. The second is the lack of direct action. Although the paragraph defines and describes the situation well, the action is indirect. This makes it less powerful that the other paragraphs we’ve looked at.