23 September 2018, Writing - part x625, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, more about Nature and Entertaining Characters
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: Suspension of disbelief is the characteristic of writing that pulls the reader into the world of the novel in such a way that the reader would rather face the world of the novel rather than the real world—at least while reading. If this occurs while not reading, it is potentially a mental problem. To achieve the suspension of disbelief your writing has to meet some basic criteria and contain some strong inspiration. If you want to call the inspiration creativity, that works too. Here is a list of the basic criteria to hope to achieve some degree of suspension of disbelief.
1. Reasonably written in standard English
2. No glaring logical fallacies
3. Reasoned worldview
4. Creative and interesting topic
5. A Plot
Everything is about entertainment. The purpose for all published novels is entertainment. Other than this is the only point of fiction literature, one of the main reasons is that entertainment can fill a lot of holes as well as result in the suspension of disbelief.
The factors that do lend themselves to entertaining are these:
6. Use of figures of speech (vocabulary and language).
How to develop entertaining protagonists? I can’t leave the discussion of entertaining protagonists without mentioning the romantic character. I assert that we are still in the Romantic Era for writing, but whether we are or aren’t, the romantic character is the favored character of most readers. If your protagonist is a romantic character or has romantic characteristics, this will improve the chance your readers will find them entertaining.
So, what does a romantic character look like? I happen to have a short list. This isn’t a perfect list, but it gets the basic idea. I’ll find examples as well.
1. The common man, innocence of humans, and childhood (children)
2. Focus on strong senses, emotions, and feelings
3. Awe of nature
4. Celebration of the individual and individualism
5. Importance of imagination
When we write about nature and romanticism, we aren’t talking necessarily about novels and settings placed in nature or set in a natural setting. What we are writing about is the awareness of nature. The question is, what do you do with romanticism and nature?
In early romantic novels, we saw writers simply move dialog and action out of the drawing room and into the garden or into the lanes and fields. Characters pursued nature through study and through observation. In many novels, students and adults went out on explorations to identify and return with sample plants, bird eggs, and in some cases animals. We also saw settings move from the city into urban environments.
A large body of early romantic literature moved the story from the city back into the country and from the urban noble to the landed gentry. Pride and Prejudice is a prime example of this. The protagonist lives outside of town (London), in the country. Her family are middle class and her days are spent in the urban environment of woods and barely cultured gardens. Her antagonist and her love interest is a noble with a country estate, and most of the novel does not occur in the confines of town (London) but rather in the countryside.
Compare that to the more Victorian Dickens. Most of his novels are not just set in the city (London) or other cities, but they entire scope of the novel is the city and the environment of the city.
Now, let’s be clear, you can’t really completely discern a romantic novel by its treatment of nature, but especially in the move from Victorian Era literature to the romantic era, you can see how this plays out. In the modern ear, the idea of nature is very well accelerated toward the romantic ideal, but unfortunately without the scientific zeal.
The Romantics focused on nature as a refocusing of the Victorian ideal of science and mechanization. They saw the expansion of science as a way to study nature and the Victorian’s mechanization as needing to be touched through nature. Their novels related this well.
Today, a very properly romantic novel might have characters who study nature in some way: astronomy, zoology, biology, gardening, walking, hiking, exploration, for the purpose of understanding nature not just for scientific study. The purest would say, you must use or include some scientific methodology in your study or the study becomes introverted and peculiar and not at all science or human study. That is a topic for another day.
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