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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 774, Describing Characters on the Stage of the Novel in the Initial Scene

24 May 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 774, Describing Characters on the Stage of the Novel in the Initial Scene

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy.  I'll keep you informed.  More information can be found at  Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.

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

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.

Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.

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 my 26th novel, working title, Shape, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

I just started writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.  This might need some tweaking.  The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.  

Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos SiEssie is my 26th novel.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action.  I’m editing many of my novels using comments from my primary reader.  I finished my 27th novel, working title Claire.  I’m working on marketing materials.

I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. 

Scene development:

1.  Scene input (easy)

2.  Scene output (a little harder)

3.  Scene setting (basic stuff)

4.  Creativity (creative elements of the scene)

5.  Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)

6.  Release (climax of creative elements)


How to begin a novel.  Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea.  I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement.  Here’s the theme statement from Sorcha.


Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.


Let’s be very specific about setting and description in the initial scene (and all scenes).  Set the stage of the novel.  Here is a repeat of rule for writing number 4 (listed above).


4. Don't show (or tell) everything.

     4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.


When a character walks on the stage of the novel, your readers should get an eyeful—in other words, they should be able to sense the character through their eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and touch, as necessary.  Who are these characters?  We are going to make a pivot.  Novels are about characters.  A novel is the revelation of the characters and specifically the revelation of the protagonist.  To reveal a character, the writer needs to first develop the character.  We are talking here about true character development.  True character development takes place before the novel begins.  The developed character is the character who is revealed in the novel.  This revelation is sometimes called character development.  This is an entirely incorrect idea about characters and novels.  Before an author begins to write, the author needs to fully develop the character.  The novel is then the revelation of that character.  There is no development of any characters going on in the novel.  Characters do not develop, not even the protagonist.  The protagonist does overcome or doesn’t overcome their telic flaw, but the telic flaw was there at the beginning of the novel.  The telic flaw should be there at the end, just overcome (or not).  What people sometime refer to as character development means the resolution of the telic flaw.  If it helps you, characters in novels change about as much as people in real life—that is not at all.  You could have a conversion experience in a novel, but those are usually the resolution of the telic flaw.  Think Scrooge from A Christmas Carol.  Scrooge’s change is the resolution of hid telic flaw in the novel.  Scrooge does experience a gradual change through the novel.  This is a revelation of the character (including the telic flaw resolution) that Dickens developed about Scrooge before the novel was written.  Scrooge doesn’t develop through the novel—Scrooge is revealed through the novel.  If you remember, all kinds of information (flashbacks) show us Scrooge’s life.  His life did not develop—his life was revealed.  All those details about Scrooge’s life were part of Dicken’s development of the character. 


What changed in Scrooge?  It wasn’t his name or his features or his clothing or food choices.  What changed was his telic flaw of begin miserly became less miserly.  He changed his telic flaw.  He resolved his telic flaw.  In fact, A Christmas Carol is a novel with a plot that reveals the change in Scrooge’s telic flaw.  In the novel, Scrooge changes, he doesn’t necessarily develop.  He simply changes.  That change is related to his telic flaw and relates directly to the revelation of his past life in the novel.  So, to have a character to reveal, we need to develop a character.  I think I have an example for you.    


More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, and my individual novel websites:

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