6 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, and more 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.
I set up an obvious situation. Abenadar's father chose a woman from the Galiel (Galilee) and from the largest city close to the capital, Tiberias. When Abenadar's father returned to Rome, he left his pregnant concubine in the Galiel. The set up is that Abenadar's mother becomes an outcast in Nazareth because she is pregnant with a Roman's child. She shares this dubious position with another woman who is outcast for being pregnant with a child whose father is undetermined--Miriam (Mary).
In this way, I can start the novel before Abenadar is born. His mother and Miriam are both forced together as outcasts. This way Abenadar can be a friend to Yeshua (Jesus), and Yeshua can advise Abenadar to accept his patronage and join the Legion. The ultimate irony is that Abenadar will be the one to lead the execution of his childhood friend. Again, all this is easily founded on a historical basis. Each element about Abenadar comes directly out of history and each point could be true.
Remember, the theme was about why the Centurion at the Cross would make such a statement, "This man was surely a (the) son of God." This theme becomes 1000 times more powerful when placed in the context that the Centurion was a friend of Jesus and knew Jesus.
Did I mention, the name of Abenadar's mother was Naomi. I never name a character without a purpose. Go back and look at the OT book of Ruth and see what Naomi did. All novels should be filled with symbols that point to the theme. This is a novel that is filled to the brim. I'll write more about Abenadar as a character 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/.