2 April 2012, Development - How Characters Drive the Plot
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.
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 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
The main characters in a novel define the plot of the novel. Centurion is an odd novel. It is written in a biographical style. It has a single protagonist, no specific antagonist, and various characters who play the part of the "protagonist's helper."
In a classical plot (and in most of my novels) you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a protagonist's helper. In a love novel, the protagonist's helper is many times the protagonist's love interest. Most of my novels have three distinctly drawn characters. For example, in Aegypt, there is Paul Bolang, the protagonist, the Goddess of Darkness, the antagonist, and the Goddess of Light, the protagonist's helper and love interest.
These three types of characters, protagonist, antagonist, and protagonist's helper form the basis of most modern novels. Aksinya follows this outline. Aksinya is the protagonist, Asmodeus is the antagonist, and Natalya is the protagonist's helper. Take these three characters (well defined) and you have a novel. As you see, take a single protagonist and you can have a great novel--Centurion. Within novels like Centurion you actually have characters who stand in the place of the antagonist and protagonist's helper, but they may be less identifiable because of the construction of the novel. The antagonist might be especially difficult to determine.
This is because the antagonist can be one of three types: actual, implied, and distant. I'll write more about this 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/.