11 April 2012, Development - Entertainment, How to Tell
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.
So erase all those grandiose ideas about resonating with people through your writing--that is unless your writing is entertaining. You might ask, how do I know if my writing is entertaining? The simplest answer is if it is entertaining to you, you are willing to read it for entertainment, and you are willing to read it over and over. This may not be great advice for those who are not very mature as writers. It is very easy to fool yourself into believing that bad writing is good and entertaining. I'll go back to my old maxim--if you havent' written at least 1 million words, your writing can't be that entertaining. Likewise, you probably haven't reached a level of maturity where you can evaluate your own works.
If you have written 1 million words and you are willing to read your works over and over for entertainment, you may have arrived. You still need to check. Having good prepublication readers will help here. I've written about this before.
We are really putting a lot together here. In the creative process from characters to novel to entertainment. They all fit together.
I'll write about classical forms in literature, and I'll write more about characters, especially about the characters, and plot tomorrow.
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/.