Writing – part x314, Novel Form, Example Scene Release

9 February 2018, Writing – part x314, Novel Form, Example Scene Release

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.

Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.

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.

For novel 29: 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.

This is the classical form for writing a successful novel:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters (protagonist, antagonist, and optionally the protagonist’s helper)
    4. Identify the telic flaw of the protagonist (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

The protagonist and the telic flaw are tied permanently together. The novel plot is completely dependent on the protagonist and the protagonist’s telic flaw. They are inseparable. This is likely the most critical concept about any normal (classical) form novel.

Here are the parts of a normal (classical) novel:

  1. The Initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  2. The Rising action scenes
  3. The Climax scene
  4. The Falling action scene(s)
  5. The Dénouement scene

So, how do you write a rich and powerful initial scene? Let’s start from a theme statement. Here is an example from my latest novel:

The theme statement for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School is: 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.

Here is the scene development outline:

  1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
  2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
  3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
  4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
  5. Write the release
  6. Write the kicker

I’m in Bahrain today writing from the Marriot.

If you have the characters (protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and antagonist), the initial setting, the telic flaw (from the protagonist), a plot idea, the theme action, then you are ready to write the initial scene.  I would state that since you have a protagonist, the telic flaw, a plot idea, and the theme action, you have about everything—what you might be lacking is the tension and release cycle in your scenes.

The release part of the scene development cycle is similar to a punchline. This is the point at which the tension of the scene is released.  The complete tension is never released until the climax of the novel, but the tension of the scene is released to some degree at this point.

So, how can I show a good example of a release?  Perhaps if I walk through the ideas in a simple example that would suffice.  A vampire walks into a Christmas party.  This is the setup.  A Vampire named Valeska (Heidi) attends a Christmas party given by her friend, Mr. George Marding’s boss. This is a great setting.  There isn’t any blood or criminal activity—vampires like their nights out too.  Heidi is just going for the fun and the food, plus Mr. Marding was ordered to go, and Mr. Long, his boss, can be pleasant, but insistent.  That’s the setting and the major characters—except one.  I didn’t mention Sveta Long.  Sveta is married to Mr. Long.  Where Mr. Long is the head of the Organization, Mrs. Long is a director of one of the major clandestine offices.

Mrs. Long happens to be the head of the office that protects Britain from supernatural enemies.  A vampire, even a pleasant one, could be considered a supernatural problem.  This is the setup.  Oh, I need to add that Mrs. Long can detect the supernatural, as can Heidi.  The reader doesn’t know all this—the reader just knows that Heidi and Mr. Marding are going to the Long’s Christmas party.

Now, this is an explosive setup.  I told you the setting, but no one in the scene understands all this.  What can you expect at the party?  This is obvious, and I’ve written about this before.  First, you must have greetings, then introductions, then casual speech, then deep speech, finally, departure. If you don’t know this, you need to get out more.

Writing should and must reflect real life—and this is how you write conversation in any case.  Therefore Heidi and George enter the party, they are greeted by the Butler and brought to the host and hostess.  There are greetings and then introductions.  The moment Heidi and Sveta touch, they both know something is up.  They are surprised by the event, but Sveta is more surprised than Heidi.  That is a function of age and experience.

This is the conflict.  You have two supernatural beings who want and need to understand the other—to a degree.  Heidi is ambivalent—she just wants to survive.  Sveta’s responsibility is the supernatural—what do you think her reaction is?  We have conflict and the question is how do we resolve it, and how do we show it?

As the writer, I discarded the idea of direct fisticuffs right at the beginning. That might be entertaining, but it would ruin the Christmas party for more than one person.  Heidi and Sveta do have a confrontation at the beginning, but that is somewhat settled.  Obviously, this situation provides a perfect opportunity for Sveta and Heidi to converse.  They need to get together in private, and they need time.  I provide this.

Their conversation results in a degree of accommodation, but it also ends with Mrs. Long wanting to know more—this propels the rest of the novel in the direction I wanted it to go.

I described the tension, vampire vs. vampire hunter.  The release is incomplete, but is a conversation between the vampire and the vampire hunter.  That’s all, and that’s all you need for a release.  As I mentioned, the release should not be complete.  For example, I guess I could have Heidi tell Sveta all about herself and who she is, then where would we be?  The cat’s out of the bag and the rest of the novel—wait what rest of the novel? Heidi’s secret is a huge part of the novel.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/

http://www.aegyptnovel.com/

http://www.centurionnovel.com

http://www.thesecondmission.com/

http://www.theendofhonor.com/

http://www.thefoxshonor.com

http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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