14 August 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 771, The Stage of the Novel in 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.
Let’s be very specific about setting and description in the initial scene (and all scenes). Set the stage of the novel. Here is a repeat of rule for writing number 4 (listed above).
Don’t show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
This is the stage of the novel. In a stage play, the writer can’t really hide what is, goes on, or is said on the stage. The writer doesn’t want to. The point of a play is to be presented. It can’t be presented hidden behind the stage. Likewise, the stage of the novel includes everything the readers and the characters in a scene can see and perceive. It makes absolutely no sense to keep basic information like: who is in a scene, what is in a scene, what does the scene look like, what time is it, what are the characters saying, what are the characters doing? In fact, to my mind, it is insane to do so. It would be like giving a stage play: the mystery of the mystical totem pole where the characters are searching for a totem pole that sits in clear view on stage. I guess that might be good for laughs, but there isn’t much scope for either a stage play or a novel.
The point is this, you must (should) show the setting of every scene. This is the first step in every scene. You can’t even begin a scene without the setting. The very idea is almost silly, but as silly as it sounds, I have read and seen many manuscripts and novels with very poor scene setting.
When I first started writing, I had no clue about scene setting. What I did know was I wanted to set the tone of each of my scenes in the novels. From this, I learned about scene setting. It came slowly. Unfortunately, I had no training in how to write scenes. I just knew I wanted to build tone in the scenes. Setting is an important step in building tone.
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