4 April 2012, Development - more on Antagonist
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
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.
My point in writing this way is to show you how I develop a novel--thus the primary title "Development." If you wish to write a novel (using my technique to develop a plot, theme, and story), start with the three characters: protagonist, antagonist, and protagonist's helper. Once you have these three characters, follow the outline above to develop and reveal them. I've also mentioned how the character development falls into scene development. I've only given examples. I'm still trying to work out how to convey the method of this development. The best I can give at this moment is that the scenes come directly out of the character design (development).
I mentioned the three basic types of antagonists yesterday. You can have an antagonist that is an immediate person (character) within the plot. You can have an antagonist that acts at a distance. You can have an antagonist that is not a character in the plot.
A classical novel form is to have a character that opposes or works against the protagonist. In the most classical form, the protagonist is the good guy and the antagonist is the bad guy. The interaction and competition between the protagonist and the antagonist creates the tension in the novel and builds the plot to the climax. In a classical plot there are a few more components than this: the protagonist's tellic flaw and the overcoming (or not) of the tellic flaw. Generally, classical comedy is when the protagonist overcomes the tellic flaw and classical tragedy is when he does not.
I'll get more into the protagonist's helper in future blogs, but the addition of the protagonist's helper allows you to write a love plot. If you note in Aksinya, the protagonist's helper starts as Natalya and becomes Father Dobrushin. This isn't exactly a classical development in a novel, but I never said I wrote Aksinya to be a classical plot. You will find that using classical forms will help you properly design and understand your writing, but in the modern age, it is not the novels that follow the classic forms that are appealing, it is those that do not.
Let me put it a different way. Although the classic form is a great beginning and a great guide for plot and character development, this form has been used since the Greeks (and probably before). I'll not say it is overused, but it is, that's what makes it classical. If you want to make a sellable novel, start with an understanding of the classical form. Build characters based on the classic model. Then go for it--that is with your understanding of the forms, blast out of them to make something that fits the obvious novel form, but that is new and fresh.
I'll try to explain in more detail what I mean about this, and I'll write more about 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/.