4 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, Abenadar
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.
So I have a Centurion and traditionally his name was Abenadar. The name doesn't really matter and neither do the strict details of the character. All the historical data of note about this Centurion is found in the New Testament and not in any other particularly valid source. The New Testament documents can be shown to be good historical sources, but I won't get into that today. The only strict details that matter are those from primary historical documents--so we have a Centurion and we know he was given the responsibility of the crucifixion. We have his words. We have some dubious traditional sources that give us a name. They also state that Abenadar was half Roman and Arabian. The reason was to be in a Roman Legion you had to be a citizen of Rome (at the time). Obviously, to be a Centurion, you had to be a citizen of Rome.
Being a citizen of Rome was a big deal in the Roman empire. It wasn't an easy thing to acquire. One of the ways to become a citizen of Rome is to have a father who was Roman and be acknowledged by him. It is highly dubious that an Arabian would be a citizen of Rome. Likely, the appellation of Arabian was placed on Abenadar due to his name, and to disparage his patronage. The most likely source for a bastard son of a Roman would be in a nation that had Roman ambassadors. Arabia didn't have Roman ambassadors, but the Galiel (Galilee), Syria, and Judea did. So how a Roman father? I'll get to that 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/.