8 April 2012, Development - more on Protagonist's Helper
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.
If you want to write a love story (or almost any story for that matter), you need a protagonist's helper. The protagonist's helper can go from a sidekick to a lover to an advisor. In fact, writing and characters is kind of like the bride and the groom at a wedding. The bride has her supporters and the groom has his supporters and they get opposite sides of the church. In any novel, you have the protagonist, the antagonist and all the other characters in the novel. All of these other characters line up on one side of the church or the other. They either support the protagonist or the antagonist. Some are kind of in the middle. That's not to say that all these characters are protagonist's helpers or even antagonist's helpers, but like I wrote they fall into one camp or the other.
I mentioned the other side. It's been popular to bring in the antagonist's helper as a major character. You can. There are novels with a legitimately strong antagonist's helper--I just can't remember any off hand. There is nothing wrong with bringing in as many and varied characters as necessary for the novel, the problem comes when you take too much time with side characters.
A novel is a cohesive whole and what makes it whole and cohesive is there should be nothing extraneous in it.
I'll write about classical forms in literature, and I'll write more about characters, especially about the protagonist's helper, 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/.