23 May 2014, Writing Ideas - Vampire Novel, part 43, Description Developing Characters Rising Action
Announcement: There is action on my new novels. The publisher renamed the series--they are still working on the name. I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere', China, Sveta, and Klava--at least these are some of the suggestions. They are also working on a single theme for the covers. I'll keep you updated.
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.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.
In developing a character, create the physical description. This can be first or it can be at the same time as you develop the other characteristics. I take a holistic approach to character development, but in setting the character, as you set the scene, description is the first step and the simplest step. The first thing you see about any person is the physical. This physical should not be at odds with the personality of a character. I don't mean you should completely stereotype you characters, but many physical descriptions will drive your reader's perceptions and can destroy what you are trying to do with your characters. For example, if I describe a character in completely negative terms, I likely have prejudiced my readers against that characters. If you don't intend this, don't use such negative terms. In the case of the vampire, I wanted to create a pathetic character (one who invokes emotion). Here is my description:
"A movement caught him by surprise. It came
from the dark alleyway away from the street.
A small person moved very quickly from the opening to stand right in
front of him. It stopped suddenly and
moaned, then sat on its haunches. It squatted
outside of his reach and watched him.
Its face was thin and pale. The
face barely showed in his night vision goggle.
That, in itself was surprising.
It wore clothing that seemed exceedingly fine, but they were filthy and damp. It had on the remains of a girl’s party
dress. The dress had once been white
with red or pink ribbons, but now it was torn and bedraggled. The ribbons blended with the stains on the
dress. The stains seemed like long dried
blood and not just the dirt of the streets.
The girl, it was a girl, stared at him with bright
eyes that seemed tinged with silver.
They seemed slightly dull in the night vision goggle. Her hair was black and matted. It reached almost to the cobbles of the
alleyway where she squatted. Her face
was finely etched and hard looking. She
let her tongue slip out of her mouth.
She licked her lips. Her tongue
was slightly pointed, and George could swear, her teeth were pointed like fangs."
Not so beautiful in this description--mainly because she is dirty and neglected. She becomes beautiful with attention and a good bath. This is her setting and the setting of the character description for the beginning of the novel and the introduction of the character. The first step is a physical description. If you note, this description is neutral and from the POV (point of view) of George Mardling.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: