15 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, Definitions
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.
The design of a character is the same as the development of a character. I've explained this before--I want to make it clear again. An author takes the theme of the novel and conceives a character that fulfills the theme. This process of conception is what I call development. I could call it design of the character. The reason I call it development is to intentionally separate it from revelation of the character. Revelation is showing the character through the novel. A character may change in a novel--the protagonist only, please, but they always are revealed.
To recap this very important information:
Development is the process the author goes through to use the theme to conceive and design the characters.
Revelation is the process of showing the character in the novel.
Change is the process the protagonist goes through that shows a difference in the initial character and the final character of the novel--that change involves the protagonist's telic (tragic) flaw.
These three definitions are critical to your writing. They mean you must develop your characters before you write about them. They mean you must use the theme to develop the perfect and unique character for your protagonist (and I would argue all the other characters). Finally, you must reveal your characters by showing, and you must consider the telic (tragic) flaw of the protagonist. More 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/.