9 August 2016,Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 766, Writing the 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 26th novel, working title, Shape, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
I just started writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Trainee. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is something like this: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, the dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si. Essie is my 26th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I’m editing many of my novels using comments from my primary reader. I finished my 27th novel, working title Claire. I’m working on marketing materials.
I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.
- Scene input (easy)
- Scene output (a little harder)
- Scene setting (basic stuff)
- Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
- Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
- Release (climax of creative elements)
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Here’s the theme statement from Sorcha.
Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Look at the outline for scene development. The first step is the scene input. You might imagine that the scene input is everything that happened to the protagonist from the beginning of time to the now (initial scene). This isn’t precisely true. The scene input is everything important and related to the initial scene that provides the input to the initial scene. The most important point is this, as an author, you must recognize that the initial scene must begin with action. The writing for the initial scene literally bursts into the world and the scene. The scene opens and everything begins. This is likely the only scene in the novel where nothing is fully known or understood by the readers in the context of the characters and in the action of the plot.
What I mean specifically about this is that you must never begin an initial scene by telling us how we arrived at the initial scene. This is why prologues, introductions, and any kind of explanation prior to the initial scene is right out. Don’t have them and don’t write them.
When you begin to write the initial scene begin in the middle of the action with the introduction of the protagonist and protagonist’s helper or antagonist. In Sorcha, the novel begins with Shiggy strapped to a table. She wakes and has no idea where she is or how she got there. She reviews in her mind some of the action that happened prior to her waking tied to a table. When she gets to the proper point, Shiggy screams. Her screams bring Sorcha down on her head—this is the meeting of the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper. The novel most precisely begins with a tension bang that the reader begins to slowly come to grips about with the protagonist. The knowledge of the reader and the protagonist come at the same pace, until Sorcha makes her appearance. The part from the first word to the coming of Sorcha is the scene setting. I guess I’ll take the scene development out of order a little.
First the input to the scene—that is the character and the life of the character prior to the initial scene. Then the scene setting.
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