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Friday, March 18, 2011

A New Novel, Part 166 Let Me Contemplate Herr von Taaffe's Proposal

For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.

Ernst proposed to Aksinya during the New Years.  She has not made a decision and will not announce any decision until the next Monday.  She is returning with Natalya and the Bockmanns to Wein...

During the entire return trip, Aunt Brunhilda tried to get Aksinya to talk about Ernst and his proposal, but Aksinya would not say a word. She slouched in the corner of the coupe and read her German novel. As they neared the city, Aksinya sat up, “Aunt Brunhilda, Uncle, I would like to return to my house tonight. Please, take us there.”

“Tonight,” Aunt Brunhilda complained, “But we have dinner waiting.”

“I’ve eaten and drunk too much as it is these last few days. I would like to return to my house. I shall take my dinner at Sacré Coeur, that is, if I feel dinner is necessary.”

“Really, Countess.”

“I would like time to privately contemplate Herr von Taaffe’s proposal.”

“Oh, I see,” Aunt Brunhilda raised her head and gave a thoughtful look. “I certainly think that is a good idea. Would you like you to discuss your decision with us…?”

Aksinya turned her head toward the door. She would not respond to a single question her aunt asked after that. Eventually, Aunt Brunhilda gave up.

The Freiherr and Freifrau let Aksinya and Natalya off in front of the house across from Sacré Coeur. Sister Margarethe and the two novice sisters greeted them at the door. Aksinya and Natalya ate a light supper in Aksinya’s sitting room and had a late tea. They both studied until it was time for bed.

Aksinya may be the most private persons in her world.  She is secretive.  She is private.  She doesn't share with anyone, anything--except Natalya (and then when she is drunk).  She will not talk to her aunt about Ernst or his proposal.  We know that Aksinya is not in love with Ernst.  Perhaps she is in lust or at least has some desire for him, but even that is in question.
Aksinya doesn't want to be badgered anymore and she tells her aunt and uncle to take her home.  Aksinya and her aunt share some conversation, but Aksinya clinches her argument when she tells her aunt that she would like to privately contemplate Ernst's proposal.  This gets an immediate thumbs up.
We have a short transition, and they both prepare for the next school day.  They are preparing for their first day of return to school after the holidays.  So we are none the wiser about Aksinya's thoughts and her intentions.  She isn't sharing with anyone, and that means us too.  This is the concept of not telling your readers anything more than your characters already know or learn.
The other big question is about Natalya.  I want to point out some important concepts in character development.  Each of the main characters in the novel have been revealed significantly through the work.  I don't mean that their characters or personalities were hidden, but rather that the novel has been a constant revelation of their characters.  Many writers give you a simple introduction to a character and that's it.  You can see my emphasis is on the development of the characters and your knowledge of them.  You learn about them gradually, but yet you know them from the beginning.  They don't change, but your knowledge of them improves.  This is the way real life is. You are introduced to a person, but only through conversation and observation do you really come to understand them--or not.  Natalya's motivations are critical to this novel.  You will soon see how important they are and how they play out.  Tomorrow, back to school.

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