13 October 2012, Development - Theme to Plots
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.
If you have a focused theme, you have begun to define characters. For example, the theme of my published novel, Centurion, is: What led the Centurion Abenadar to state "Surely this was the (a) son of God." The theme of Centurion lists the protagonist. The theme of Aksinya is: The young woman Aksinya is redeemed from a demon she called and sorcery. The theme of Aksinya defines the antagonist and protagonist. The theme of Aegypt is: If a real goddess who was revered in the ancient world came into the modern age how would she be viewed by modern people and what could she tell us about history. This is loosely the theme of my published novel, Aegypt. Note that one character (the protagonist's helper) is defined. The other characters need to be developed.
Let's look at the themes of my other novels and see how they fit in this scheme of novel creation. The theme of my published novel, The Second Mission is: What would happen if a modern man were accidentally drawn into the second human mission into time--what would that mission be and how would the real time traveler handle the intrusion. That is the theme of The Second Mission. The plot concerns the time traveler's observation of Socrates and ancient Athens.
My science fiction novels are all based on honor themes. They are called The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. The first novel is The End of Honor. The theme of The End of Honor is: when love intrudes in political events and leads to war, what actions must the leaders take to bring back honor and peace. This is a pretty deep theme especially for a breezy and fun science fiction novel. The theme implies a protagonist and protagonist's helper (love) plus an implied antagonist (war). The second novel of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox is The Fox's Honor. The theme of The Fox's Honor is: what would cause a man to be willing to intentionally give his life for his nation and what would happen if the woman who loved him gave him his life back. Again, we have implied characters protagonist helper, protagonist, and a general antagonist. The last novel in The Chronicles is A Season of Honor. The theme of A Season of Honor is: what would motivate a man of honor to compromise everything: peace for himself or peace for his people. This theme obviously needs characters and a plot. There is an implied protagonist.
More on turning your themes into plots tomorrow.
My Notes: once you have a theme, you need to begin to visualize your plot, stabilize your theme, and focus your characters. More tomorrow.
I'll move on to basic writing exercises and creativity in the near future.
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.
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, http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.