8 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Characters of Centurion, Abenadar the Man
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.
You can see that the development of the character Abenadar came directly out of the theme of the novel, Centurion. In this novel, the connection is very easy to see. Centurion is like a biography, and in a biographical novel, the theme should flow out of the life of the protagonist.
Much more than that, I showed you how I developed the historical character of Abenadar. I showed you his connection to history and to the times. This is much more evident in the novel. You can experience the training and promotion of Abenadar from a librarius to a centurion. A librarius is the lowest rank of the officers in a legion and a centurion is the highest. A librarius is the clerk of the legion. The only thing that separates the librarius from the common legionair is that a librarius can read and write. The power of Abenadar and the skill that allowed him to join the legion in the first place was his ability to read and write. The skill that enjoins him to the men in the legion is that he can speak to the people of the Galiel (Galilee). There are many other points to be made here, but I'd be rewriting the entire novel. I'll give you a few more tidbits about the character of Abenadar.
Abenadar is a man both certain and conflicted. He is certain about what he will do. He is conflicted about what he will believe. I think most men are like this. That is strong men are like this--they are determined and certain. Action isn't a problem--the problem comes when there is no action. The actual character of Abenadar is a man determined and not conflicted about his role in the legion--he is conflicted about other things. The chief problem is that Abenadar seeks love--not sex, but love.
The love story in the novel is very poignant. Abenadar is a man who saves others. He is a man who accomplishes without question. He is a character many will like because he is a man's man. On the other hand, he wishes for the family life and the comfort he knew as a child. I'll get more into the details of Abenadar and Centurion, 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/.