18 May 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 318, Dragon and Fox Prologue 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. Since I started this blog, I’ve recommended against prologues–I still do. When I was a younger writer, I placed prologues at the beginning of my science fiction novels. So let’s look at those prologues to see how they might hurt the novels. For example, A Season of Honor:
The Encyclopedia Galactica edition of X865 (10,865) Rigel Press copyright X865 (10,865) Dr. Roger Panishaw’s entry, Preface to the History of the First Human Galactic Empire 4,000 to 7,785 ATA (Ancient Terran Accounting)
The Human Empire seems an enigma to us. In this enlightened century, we are used to a democratic ideal that assumes all men are equal. The development of the Human Empire was based on the concept that men could be genetically created who were better than equal. I shall endeavor to explain to you how this came about.
A Season of Honor is the first and the last of the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. It is the first because it is the first of that series that I wrote–it is the last because, in time sequence, it is the last of the series.
I included the “made-up” reference at the beginning of the prologue to give you a perspective for the beginning. If this is the only part a prospective publisher or a reader looks at, they likely won’t go further. There is no action, no description, no character introduction–there is some mystery, but it’s clearly labeled (in the novel) as a prologue, so the mystery of the prologue may or may not be answered in the novel at all. That’s the problem with prologues, they are completely disconnected from the rest of the novel–if they are not disconnected, they should be part of the novel and not a prologue. This is why I tell you–don’t use prologues or any other writing before your initial paragraph. It is okay to have front piece matter–most of this is necessary, but I don’t even like to have the acknowledgements very detailed or large. I want the first thing that is part of the novel, that the readers sees to be the initial paragraph.