27 May 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 327, more Enchantment First 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 twelfth chapter right now. That means I’ve written about 240 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 Let’s compare the excitement and entertainment I’m recommending with some of my published and unpublished novels.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. Next example the first paragraph from, Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth:
“Jack, are you sick? What’s that sound you’re making?” Phillip Ryan called from his cot.
“I’m just reading from my notebook, Phil.”
Phil lay more comfortably on his arm. He didn’t raise his head or open his eyes, “It sounds like a bad Greek spell.”
“That’s because it is an ancient Greek incantation.”
“Great. Now my tent mate has become an evil Greek conjurer.” Hestia is a yet unpublished and uncontracted novel that is really the first of the Enchantment novels. It’s a complete stand-alone novel that weighs in at only 66,500 words.
I gave you more than the “first” paragraph because the beginning is a conversation. I may have to fix this, but this is intended to be a slightly unusual novel. I didn’t intend for this singular novel to spur a whole bunch of others, but it did. The Enchantment novels are not very related–a couple do share characters and one does follow the other. The big point (theme) of these novels is the potential redemption of beings no one could imagine could be redeemed. For example, in Hestia, the problem is Hestia, the real goddess of the hearth from Greek mythology. In the novel, the main characters get to interact with and work with other creatures of Greek myth. I didn’t borrow from the myth-guy either. This novel was written well before his was published–or possibly written.
Let’s look at the problems with the first paragraph(s). This novel begins with conversation and some scene setting as tags. It quickly rips into the action–the action is real and implied (Jack is reading a Greek text). The real action is their conversation. You get the setting from the tags–they are in a tent and share a tent. Phil is on his cot–trying to sleep. Jack is on his cot reading. The setting is sparse, but the conversation brings the reader directly into the action.
This may be the only novel I begin this way–perhaps, A Season of Honor is somewhat similar. I’m not sure this is a great way to begin. A Season of Honor is published–Hestia is not, yet. Beginning with conversation is one option for the first paragraph–I may be fixing this one.