8 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 976, An Initial Scene, Themes and Pathos
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 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’m still fleshing out this new idea of the secret boarding school attendee. If you note my outline for novel development above. I’m not just designing the initial scene, I’m now writing the initial scene. I became so excited about this new idea, I thought I would start writing it down. At the same time, I’m developing the characters. The theme statement would be something like this:
Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.
Perhaps this is too simple of a theme statement. I’ve set it up so the protagonist is Sorcha, the protagonist’s helper is Deirdre, and the general situation is the antagonist. Wycombe Abbey is not really the antagonist, the school just provides the setting for the novel. The problem for Sorcha is that although she is really, really smart, she doesn’t know how much of the world works. This is a setup for Deirdre and Sorcha such that they can support each other.
At the moment, as I write the initial scene, I’m researching the details. With the theme statement, I have a focus for research and moving the plot of the novel forward. In the first scene, we see Deirdre going to her first class in her new school Wycombe Abbey. We learn that Deirdre was sent there because of her problems. We will find that Deirdre has anger issues—or she makes up anger issues. I’m not sure how I’m going to develop this. Deirdre, as a fourth child, has been in the shadow of her older brothers and sisters. The only way she could get her way or attention was to aggressively act out. She learned over time she had real power because her other brothers and sisters are gentle. I’ve included these other children in some of my novels—mostly as adults, but in some as children. I’ve further centered many of my novels on Sveta and Klava, Deirdre’s two older adopted sisters. Sveta and Klava as well as Deirdre’s mother are very special beings. This is a terrible problem for any child–celebrity parents.
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