14 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, Comparison in Plot and Theme
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.
Now, concerning the author's development of the characters. When I write a character into a novel, I fully understand the character. I fully understand the theme. I don't know exactly where the plot will lead. I do know how and if the protagonist will change within the novel. Theoretically, there must be some change in your protagonist. They must overcome or be overcome by their telic (tragic) flaw. If there is no change in the protagonist, you picked the wrong character to make the protagonist.
The easiest way to make a change in the protagonist is to kill him. Tragedies are the simplest. That my be why Aristotle wrote about them. Comedies are not so simple--the protagonist must change in a nonlethal way and overcome her telic (tragic) flaw. This is the theme and what shapes the plot.
Using our examples of Abenadar and Aksinya. Adenadar's telic flaw is his loyalty. He must overcome it for Centurion to have its ultimate conclusion. This completes the theme and the plot is driven by it. In Aksinya, Aksinya's telic flaw is her temptation. Her temptation is represented by the demon. She must overcome her temptation and the demon--that is both the theme and the plot of the novel. In this regard, the characters are completely wedded to their novels. You can't remove or change them by too much or the plot and theme of the novel will come crashing down. The characteristics of the protagonists come directly out of this. I'll go into more detail, tomorrow.
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/.