Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, 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.
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 steps in making and using a character in a novel are as follows:
1. Development of the character (history, description, personality, etc.)
2. Revelation of the character (within the novel, show don't tell)
a. Description of the character - introduction
b. Voice of the character
c. Continuing revelation by showing
In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. If you develop these three characters for a novel, the plot will naturally fall out of the development of the characters.
I'd like to show you an example of a bad teaser, unfortunately someone might recognize the teaser, and I really don't want to directly and publicly embarrass a fellow writer. I'll show you good examples and try to indicate where many seem to miss the point. First, the positive example for the day. This is for my novel, Centurion. This teaser was developed with my publisher. It fulfills the criteria I've given you before. It is short, exciting, introduces the main characters, introduces the plot, and generally generates interest from potential readers. Here is the teaser:
Hauntingly compelling, Centurion gives life to Abenadar, the man who was entrusted with the controversial and potentially explosive crucifixion of Christ. A longing heart. An unlikely friendship. Love...and the bitterest of betrayals. The son of a Galilean concubine-a Jewess-and a Roman ambassador, Abenadar suffered disapproving stares in the village of Natzeret, but so did the boy Yeshua, son of Yosef and Miryam. Perhaps it wasn't unusual the two became fast friends. As Abenadar rises through the ranks of the Roman Legion to assume the rank of Centurion, he finds love with Ruth, a woman he rescues from the streets of Jerusalem. She believes the prophet Jesus is the One-the Messiah-everyone has been waiting for. Abenadar is dubious. He's seen too many messiahs.and they all died on Roman crosses. But what if Jesus is telling the truth? As advisor to Procurator Pontius Pilate and a Roman, Abenadar has a duty to uphold...but it may cause him to lose everything.
Notice that this teaser for Centurion jumps directly into the plot. It introduces the main character, Abenadar and then a secondary, but important character, Ruth. The reason for this is to appeal to men and women. Ruth is a very important character in the plot and it is important to bring her into the teaser, but the main reason for bringing her up is to tie into the romance in the novel. You can see how this teaser appeals on many levels. A historian, an adventure lover, a romantic, a military person--all will be interested in this novel based on the teaser. I said before, the point of a teaser is to generate interest for your novel in a potential reader.
What should you not do? Don't tell us how great the novel is. Don't tell us why you wrote the novel. Don't make it long. Don't dwell on anything outside the plot or main characters. You can and should bring up any topics, but only if they add excitement and interest. Don't tell us how great a novelist your are. In fact, don't tell us anything about you. You may mention other books or writing. Focus on excitement, the plot, and the characters. And remember, you need to interest the potential reader in the characters and the plot.
The ultimate point is so you will have advertising that will drive people to your novel. Then the novel has to catch their attention. I'm going to move in that direction tomorrow.
I've been seeing some horrible teasers and blurbs in the indie scene. I'll discuss that tomorrow and get back to introducing the theme in the first scene later.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.