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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Writing - part x711, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, Empathy and Pathos

18 December 2018, Writing - part x711, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, Empathy and Pathos

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.

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.
     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
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)
a.       Research as required
b.      Develop the initial setting
c.       Develop the characters
d.      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 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: 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 cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter
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 30:  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 31:  TBD 

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
          
Today:  Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel?  I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together.  We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing. 

You must have a protagonist and an antagonist. You may have a protagonist’s helper.  Then there are other characters.  Let’s talk about characters in general and then specifically. 

I’ve been writing about choosing and developing protagonists who are interesting and entertaining to your readers.  Readers like characters who they can intellectually identify with.  These are the characters who appeal to them.  If there is no intellectual connection, there is usually no connection.  We saw this by the many characters whom readers can’t share any or many characteristics, but the characters still appeal.

We looked at empathy for a character where the empathy was shared with the reader.  This is a very powerful connection between the reader and a character, but there is a perhaps more powerful empathy an author can generate from a character.  Let’s look at an example first.

In A Little Princess, Sara Crew’s father died leaving her penniless.  She now lives in the attic, is abused by the servants and the teachers, and is sent out in all kinds of weather to run errands.  She is hungry and not well treated.  At the peak of her hunger, cold, and abuse, she finds a sixpence.  She uses it to buy six hot cross buns.  At the door of the shop an abandoned child about her age is sitting on the stoop.  Sara feels compassion for the child who has less than she and who is hungrier than she.  She give the girl five of her six buns even though Sara hasn’t eaten and is cold and hungry.  Too much telling, but I wanted to set the scene for you.

Most of the readers of A Little Princess have never been hungry abused, cold, poor, or running errands out on the street.  They can only imagine the plight of Sara from their limited experience.  They don’t have the experiential empathy to draw them to her, but almost every reader is moved by this scene.  Almost every reader feels powerful empathy for Sara.  How can this be?

We may not have experienced the depth of the problems, abuse, and hunger that Sara did, but we empathize with her none the less.  This is what is called pathos by the Greeks.  Pathos means the feeling or experience of emotions.  A great author makes us feel and empathize with the protagonist and other characters by using the pathos of the characters to sway the emotions of the reader.  This is very important.

In the example of Sara Crew, she didn’t necessarily feel or show much emotion.  The emotion is experienced by the reader and in different degrees by the other characters.  The most moved character in this scene is the shopkeeper who is moved to help the little urchin girl because of Sara’s example.  The reader, on the other hand, gets the full expression of the emotions in the scene.  This is a very touching piece of writing.  You should look it up and review it for exactly what I am expressing to you.

The power of pathos and empathy is that the author can make a character appeal to a reader in a way that the reader has little direct experience with.  The pieces of the human condition and human emptions play in this, but the author communicates and builds this empathy and pathos through showing the reader the actions and experiences of the character.  There is more we can explore in this.

More tomorrow.

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

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

Monday, December 17, 2018

Writing - part x710, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, more Protagonists Readers Like

17 December 2018, Writing - part x710, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, more Protagonists Readers Like

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.

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.
     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
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)
a.       Research as required
b.      Develop the initial setting
c.       Develop the characters
d.      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 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: 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 cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter
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 30:  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 31:  TBD 

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
          
Today:  Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel?  I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together.  We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing. 

You must have a protagonist and an antagonist. You may have a protagonist’s helper.  Then there are other characters.  Let’s talk about characters in general and then specifically. 

I’ve been writing about choosing and developing protagonists who are interesting and entertaining to your readers.  Readers like characters who they can intellectually identify with.  These are the characters who appeal to them.  If there is no intellectual connection, there is usually no connection.  We saw this by the many characters whom readers can’t share any or many characteristics, but the characters still appeal.

Readers also like characters they can feel empathy with.  This may be more powerful than the intellectual connection, but that’s up for debate.  The best you can do is appeal to both the readers’ intellectual and empathy with your characters.  Just what is empathy?

In the simplest sense it is the feelings experienced during basic life events or expected to experience during life events.  For example, falling in love.  Most adults have fallen in love.  The concept energizes the empathy of the experience.  Most young adults want to fall in love.  The thought of the concept energizes the empathy of the experience.  Readers don’t have to have experience of the characters in how they fall in love, but rather that they fall in love.  The empathy drives and draws the reader.

You can see this type of empathy in all kinds of emotional experience and writing.  For example, pick any human emotion.  Properly managed, a good author can apply that emotion to a character and cause empathy.  Improperly managed, or inappropriate emotion and response can alienate your readers and definitely kick them out of the suspension of disbelief.

One of my favorite examples of this is from the Harry Potty novels.  When Harry is having his mental issues, he just doesn’t appeal to me.  It’s a page skipping moment because I don’t care about the incoherent mental moaning of an adolescent.  I just want him to man up and act like the protagonist he is supposed to be.  I suspect the author’s editor asked then to include some adolescent angst.  Well, that isn’t so bad an idea.  We all experience adolescent angst, the problem is how you portray it.  If the result is that the character irritate, antagonizes, and alienates his or her friends, it will likely irritate, antagonist, and alienate the readers.  This is what you never want to do.  A novel marches to the telic flaw resolution.  It is okay to have setbacks and issues so the protagonist moves back from the resolution, but the problem is how to show that.

The biggest problem for the Harry Potty issue is that the author tells way too much.  Plus, Harry isn’t really a very likable character.  He is a coward, an ingrate, and uses nasty stuff against his enemies while reviling his enemies for being nasty.  I’m not here to bash Harry, I want to point out why he is so disappointing in some of the novels.

How to portray adolescent angst.  I don’t.  I write adult novels.  This kind of teenage stuff doesn’t appeal to adults or kids.  If there is any, it isn’t in my protagonist, and it isn’t portrayed as good.  I do have some teenaged characters in my novels who act out, but I simply show their actions and the adult around them show their reactions.  Usually, the silly child is either asked or made to leave.  Not that you can’t portray it, but is this really the proper type of emotion to try to develop empathy for? 

Enough of this.  I hope you get it.  Readers want to empathize with your characters.  The best appeal is to their emotional experience.  However, there is another type of emotional appeal.  This is an appeal to pure pathos. 

Many times readers may not have experienced the full emotions of the loss of parents, siblings, wealth, position, or the seedier side of life: poverty, abuse, bullying, hunger, homelessness, and all.  These are very powerful experiences that will both interest and entertain the reader through empathy and not so much through experience.

More tomorrow.

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

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

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Writing - part x709, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, Protagonists Readers Like

16 December 2018, Writing - part x709, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, Protagonists Readers Like

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com.  Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.

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.
     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
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)
a.       Research as required
b.      Develop the initial setting
c.       Develop the characters
d.      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 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: 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 cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter
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 30:  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 31:  TBD 

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
          
Today:  Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel?  I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together.  We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing. 

You must have a protagonist and an antagonist. You may have a protagonist’s helper.  Then there are other characters.  Let’s talk about characters in general and then specifically. 

I’ve been writing about choosing and developing protagonists who are interesting and entertaining to your readers.  I will continue with this thought, but you might ask, why make my protagonist’s interesting or entertaining at all? 

First, I won’t go through the whole litany again, but novels are all about entertainment.  If your novel isn’t entertaining, it won’t be published, bought, or read.  Published, bought, and read are the goals of every real author, so let’s not fool ourselves, you must develop entertaining protagonists for your entertaining novel, or you will not see any success. 

Second, I advocate that interesting is entertaining.  As long as your protagonist appeals to your readers you will have some hope of entertaining your readers.  Again, you might ask, is this enough?  I’d say yes it is enough.  It is enough that your protagonist interest and therefore, entertain your readers.  A novel is the revelation of the protagonist, as long as the revelation is entertaining, the readers will be entertained.

You might also ask, shouldn’t my readers identify with my protagonist?  This is a very large and old question in writing.  I will state unequivocally that the reader does not need to identify with the protagonist.  You will find in most literature, the protagonists can’t or don’t identify with the readers—they interest or appeal to the readers.  I will go back to the characteristics of the reader and protagonist to state—there are similarities in thought, but not necessarily in being.

Let’s state this definitively.  The reader identifies with the mind of the protagonist, but not necessarily the being of the protagonist.  When I write being, I mean the sex, social station, education, skill set, setting, history, and all.  When I write “mind” I mean that the protagonist thinks about things in a way the reader can accept.  I will also state that when the mind of the protagonist and the mind of the reader gets too far out of sync, the reader will lose the suspension of disbelief and be knocked out of the writing.  For example, Harry Potty gets really whiney in some of those novels.  He gets so whiney, I wonder why he even continues as the protagonist.  I want the writer to put the Granger girl in as a substitute because Harry throws me out of the narrative.  I don’t think like Harry does, and I don’t associate with people who do.  Harry is a bad example.

Here’s a good example, and I think you can find good examples everywhere.  In Starship Jones by Robert Heinlein, Jones is a boy who wants to navigate starships like his father.  Jones has memorized the star tables and his math is impeccable.  Already, you might conclude Jones can’t be a good protagonist: he is a male that gets rid of half the humans on the planet.  He has a photographic memory, there goes most of humanity.  He is good at math, and there goes the rest of the planet.  It doesn’t help that he is in an age of starships plying the universe, no one can identify with that.  Let’s back up a little.  Unless you are talking about a novel that is completely exclusionary of men or women (and even then you will get a mix of readers) the sex of the character usually doesn’t matter.  I would have cast Jones as a female, but I think that would make his pathos more appealing to all readers and not just men or women. 

Jones loves to study and every reader loves characters who like to read and study.  See yesterday’s blog.  Intellectual characters especially striving intellectuals appeal to readers.  The readers don’t identify with his photographic memory, they wished they had it.  Most readers aren’t good at math, but they wish they were and anyone who can appeals to them.  Your average reader believes that through reading and study, they can do anything.  Characters who really can do this appeals to them.  Finally, plying the universe in starships—no one can identify with that, but readers wish they could do that.  If they really had to live in the world of Jones, they might balk, but a reader doesn’t need to identify with the being, but with the mind of the protagonist. 

Here is another issue.  Jones lost his father so he is a partial orphan.  I don’t remember what happened to his mother, in any case, most of us are not orphans, we can’t identify physically, but we can imagine the state of being an orphan and that appeals to us.  This is one of those pathos building points that really appeals to readers.  This is one of the powerful tools writers have.   

More tomorrow.

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

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