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.
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.
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