4 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 913, Publishing, 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.
Merry eleventh day of Christmas.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja.
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. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
These are the steps I use to write a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
Would you like to write a novel that a publisher will consider? Would you like to write a novel that is published? How about one that sells? I developed this idea of the unique and entertaining concept through the theme, but that isn’t the way I tend to write. I usually get a unique and exciting idea for an initial scene. I figure if it is exciting, it has to be entertaining. I cogitate on this initial scene for a while, then I write it. Writing the initial scene gives me the theme statement, the initial setting, the main characters (protagonist and protagonist’s helper, sometimes the antagonist), and the initial scene.
If the initial scene is entertaining (exciting) and unique, I know the theme is entertaining and unique. Because…you know the initial scene sells novels, don’t you? I’m approaching this a little differently in my short form blog, but I may do the same thing here. In my short form blog, I was asked by one of my readers to explain rhetoric in my writing. I’m answering this question. I suspect in ways, the questioner might not have imagined—that’s good too.
Do I have to explain again why the initial scene sells novels? I guess I do. However your novel is discovered in a bookstore or on the web, the first thing a prospective reader does is open the novel. If they can’t open the novel and “look inside” as Amazon puts it, you are a gonner. No one buys a novel they haven’t opened unless it is the best bestseller of the date, time, or a teacher or professor assigned the book. Every prospective reader opens the novel and reads the first couple of paragraphs or the initial scene. This is a law of literature—I’m certain Aristotle or Plato wrote it down somewhere. Socrates would have said it and Plato would have written it down.
So, if the first thing the prospective reader sees in your book is the first two paragraphs, they better be something else. Do you remember the basic rules for initial scene paragraphs?
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