13 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, Comparison
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, 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 beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
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.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
All language is symbols. Therefore it shouldn't surprise you that your writing should include higher level symbols. What are higher level symbols? I mentioned before the cross as a symbol. The cross is a higher level symbol--a symbol that doesn't depend on language. Symbols can be ready made or author made symbols. Some symbols are a mix.
I've written before about developing characters, and I've told you the types of characters I usually like to write and develop. I've been writing recently about the protagonist, Abenadar, from my published novel, Centruion. I've contrasted Abenadar as a "normal" character with Aksinya (the protagonist of my blog published novel, Aksinya).
Both characters come directly out of the themes of the novels--that is, the themes were developed first, and the characters came directly out of the themes. They likewise drive the plot. To develop any character, you must start with the theme. The character fits within the theme. Once you have the concept of the protagonist, you can begin to develop the character.
I already went into great detail concerning the development of Abenadar. I also wrote extensively about the development of Aksinya. Everything about the main character comes out of the theme development of the protagonist. The physical description of Aksinya comes out of the idea that she is not beautiful. She thinks she is plain and ugly. Is she or is she not? I don't tell you. I let you know what she thinks about herself through self reflective means (I don't ever tell you), but you don't really get a good independent description. The fact that no one notes that she is ugly should be an indication to the reader. However, the physical description of Aksinya comes directly out of the concept of her within the theme. We do know from multiple sources that she is small, not very mature looking, acerbic, smart, antagonizing, intense, and much more. Most of this description isn't direct in the novel--only her features, body shape, and clothing are directly described. The rest is provided through various techniques of showing.
There is much more to writing without confusing your readers. I'll write about that tomorrow. The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: Please elaborate on scene, theme, plot, character development in a new novel creation....ie, the framework, the development, order if operation, the level of detail, guidelines, rule of thumb, tricks, traps and techniques. To what extent do you outline the historic context, culture, mannerism, speech, dress and thought process of the main characters, in a historic novel...in order to maintain integrity, and gradually (help) reveal attributes of a character in the story, or otherwise clarify the plot, scene, transition, tension or resolution?
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/.