16 August 2018, Writing – part x502, Developing Skills, Build a Scene
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:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
- 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:
- 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
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.
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’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.
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.
For novel 30: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the scene development outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
Today: Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work. I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words. That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels. When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.
To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and then writing. Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much. I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.
Characters are the key to great writing. Entertainment is the purpose of fiction writing. The key to entertainment is character revelation, and specifically revelation of the plot and protagonist telic flaw (the same thing). If we want to be a successful writer, we must aim for great protagonists, and a great protagonist means a great or compelling telic flaw.
With a character, we now can move into the mechanics of the writing.
A protagonist comes with a telic flaw. The obvious telic flaw of Cassandra is: who is Cassandra? Immediately, the plot of the novel should be obvious. The plot is always the resolution of the telic flaw. If the telic flaw of the protagonist is “Who is Cassandra?” then the telic flaw of the novel is “Who is Cassandra?” We then must write the plot to answer this question. The next step is to move into writing scenes. We need an initial scene.
I’ve teased this scene. I intend to start with Deirdre and Sorcha. They are derailed in their expected development and schooling. They are sent to a French Catholic school for girls instead of their expected aviation training. It should be obvious to us and partially to them that they are being sent for a special purpose. They just don’t know what that purpose is.
With an initial scene, we can continue to write the novel—scene by scene. If you look at the scene development outline, we take the scene output to become the scene input and move on. Here is my expected scene setup.
- Initial scene: General Bolang informs Sorcha and Deirdre that they are going off to a Catholic girl’s boarding school instead of to aviation training. He gives them reasons, and sends them off. This is the output.
- Based on the expected output, Deirdre and Sorcha are taken or go to school. Somehow I need to give them no options to escape. They inspect the school and the output is the end of the day.
- First day of class is the obvious input. The output will be their investigation of the off areas in the school that they observed. Perhaps they will talk to the teachers and the students.
I don’t know where I will go after that. I haven’t started writing yet. The fun part will be the exploration, plus the Frenchiness of the circumstances. I haven’t had France as a setting for a while—this should be fun.
The important part is to develop scenes based on some training. Scenes are critical to all fiction writing. I’m afraid to say I’ve rarely seen an extensive training program on scenes. I have a writer friend who has written a couple of books on writing scenes. Whatever you do, you need to learn to write scenes. This is the movement from character to action and dialog.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic