19 May 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 319, more 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. Next example from, The Fox’s Honor:
Xares S. Neuferal, The People, Places, and Particulars of the Galactic Empire Interstellar copyright X573 (10,573) ATA (Ancient Terran Accounting)
We now turn our attention to the nobility of the Human Galactic Empire. Indeed, no study of the Empire would be complete unless it considered the impact of the nobility upon every stratum of the society. It is not enough to say that these august personages were the leaders of their age; they were the veritable heroes of legend.
The Fox’s Honor is the middle novel of the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. It is the second novel in the series and the second novel of the series I wrote. Note that the first novel The End of Honor had not been written when this novel was written.
You can immediately see that the prologue does nothing to help encourage further reading of the novel. Usually, when I read a novel with a prologue, I just skip the prologue. If it wasn’t important enough for the author to place in the main structure of novel, it isn’t important enough for me to read. The prologues for this series are like that–their purpose was to set the scientific scene in an amusing way–like a Jack Vance novel. In retrospect, I should have figured another way to incorporate the information. The prologues for all three of these novels are not necessary, but they do help the reader to understand the culture of the novel. Again, I advise against any prologue or anything of importance prior to the actual first paragraph.