9 September 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 882, Novel Development, Character Arcs
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 www.ancientlight.com. 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 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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
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 finished 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 Si. Essie is my 26th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja.
I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel.
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. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
These are the steps I use to write a novel:
1. Design the initial scene
2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a. Research as required
b. Develop the initial setting
c. Develop the characters
d. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5. Write the climax scene
6. Write the falling action scene(s)
7. Write the dénouement scene
Here is my list of ways an author might add extraneous writing to a novel. Let’s look at the second.
1. Material not relevant to the climax or plot.
2. Characters or character arcs not relevant to the climax or plot.
3. Side stories.
4. Information not relevant to the climax, setting, or plot.
5. Excessive storylines.
6. Lack of a sufficient telic flaw.
7. Incorrect protagonist.
I’m moving toward the concept of the character arc. I want for focus on characters and character development. I recommend the use of a protagonist’s helper in any literature. The author has more power than you can imagine with a strong protagonist’s helper. In Aksinya, Natalya was the protagonist’s helper through most of the novel. By the way, the protagonist’s helper can change in a novel.
The power of the protagonist’s helper is to have a sounding board to reveal the protagonist. Without the protagonist’s helper, the inner core of the protagonist either must remain secret, be revealed through the omniscient (that’s telling. Don’t do it), or be revealed through their actions (that’s showing). With a protagonist’s helper, the protagonist can have a heart to heart. The two can share their inmost secrets and desires—or not. If you read Aksinya, you know we didn’t learn the horror of Natalya’s life until near the primary climax. Aksinya never fully shared her inmost thoughts with Natalya. The point isn’t that the author does reveal these secrets or ideas, but that she can reveal them. Now, here is a very important point: the inmost thoughts or ideas of the protagonist’s helper may or may not be material to the telic flaw or the climax. In this case they should not be included in the novel. This is also referred to as a character arc.
In my opinion, there should never be more than a single character arc in a novel. The character arc is that of the protagonist. The only storyline that matters in a novel is the storyline of the protagonist and only the storyline that leads to the climax. The author should remove any other storyline or character arc. Now, I know you are thinking, what about novels with more than one intentional storyline and character arc—Game of Thrones, for example. Let’s look at this.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
http://www.ancientlight.com/fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic