25 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, Storyline and Plot
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.
We are putting some basic rules together concerning which storylines to show in the plot. Remember a storyline is the life and events of a specific character. Each character has a storyline, and the determination of which storylines at which time to include in the plot is a critical one.
The first determinate was the protagonist. Generally, if the protagonist's storyline intersects with the plot, you should show that storyline. There is a catch 22 here because, the storylines make up the plot. Let's put this another way. Usually, we show the storyline of the protagonist in the plot, that is, if it supports the theme and is intrinsic to the plot. There are times when we don't show the storyline of the protagonist. Usually when the protagonist's storyline doesn't support the plot or the theme.
The second determination was the tension. The development of the scenes in the plot should always include the element of tension and release. The inclusion of a storyline because it promotes tension and release is a fantastic reason to include a storyline. Remember, the storyline must be intrinsic to the plot.
The third reason is revelation itself. There are times when you want to provide information to the reader that is outside the scope of the protagonist. I gave an example of this yesterday from my unpublished novel, Dana-ana. This was also an example of choosing a storyline for tension. Generally, the use of this technique to develop tension is very effective. It is a means of revelation outsdie the storyline of the protagonist.
A fourth reason is to introduce the antagonist or a protagonist's helper. The reason for this is as simple as increasing the tension by bringing in a revelation from one of these other major characters. Usually, major characters are the only ones who should have a storyline that doesn't intersect with the protagonist's shown in the plot. This was also shown in the example yesterday. Tomorrow, I'll write about when to move out of the protagonist's storyline in the plot.
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.thefoxshonorhttp://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.