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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 963, Publishing, Protagonists, Examples: Shadowed Vale

30 November 2016, Writing Ideas - New Novel, part 963, Publishing, Protagonists, Examples: Shadowed Vale  

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 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 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 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. 

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.  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


Would you like to write a novel that a publisher will consider?  Would you like to write a novel that is published?  How about one that sells? 


Readers like Romantic characters because they want to be like them.  They like pathetic characters because they want to love and comfort them.  I do use Romantic and somewhat pathos building protagonists in my science fiction.  The forth Ghost Ship Chronicles novel is Shadowed Vale.  In this novel, I stick with Nikita as the protagonist.  She has flowered as a Romantic character, but a Romantic character can still have issues as a person, a teacher, and as a human being.  This is a fun novel, because she falls in love and finds her place in her Family Trader ship.  Here is an example from the novel:


                Nikita, Natana, and Den headed to their cabin.  Nikita held Natana’s hand.  She clumped along in her brace.  She glanced up at Natana, “I’m hungry; how about dinner?”

                Natana gave her a twisted smile, “Hope we have something left in the cabin.”

                “Not really.  I ran out of food a while ago.  Alex and I have been eating at the automatic food court in the mall.”

                Den and Natana shared a look.  Den asked, “Do you have anything left in the special account we set up for you?”

                Nikita shook her head, “I kinda used it all—to finance my one hand holo input device.  You know, the one Alex built for me.”

                Natana’s thoughts were not completely on the new subject, “I don’t remember anything about a holo input device… Really, Kita, we are in a little pickle.  As a result of our latest trip, the Ship’s Council docked us both the next couple of months pay.  I didn’t want to bring you into our family finances this much, but most of our pay goes to reduce the ship’s debt.  So…”

                “So, you don’t have enough credits to eat?”

                “Yeah, to tell you the truth.  We could eat at the subsistence level in the cafeteria.”

                Nikita’s face broke into a mysterious smile, “Don’t worry.  We’ll think of something.”

                When they arrived at their cabin, Nikita sat them both down in the main room.  Their cabin was small.  It had a central kitchen and fresher with a dining and study area on the left and right.  At the front was a living area with three comfortable chairs.  Den and Natana’s room as on the left and Nikita’s on the right.

                Nikita took out her tablet computer and pulled up her personal account.  She handed the device to Natana.  Natana looked at the numbers three times before she said, “Kita, you have more than ten thousand credits in your account.  Where did all these credits come from?”

                Nikita laughed, “That’s my share of Nichol’s profits, and it doesn’t include the other revenues we expect when we return to Acier.”

                Natana handed the computer to Den, “Can we anticipate this kind of revenue just from selling music?”

                Den shrugged, “I have no idea.”

                Nikita frowned a little, “In the main, we should plan for some level of declining profits.  To keep the credits flowing, we have to revitalize our products at each planetfall.  That means Nichol will have to produce a new albums and presentations, her show, next time we visit Acier.”

                Natana put her chin in her hand, “This is great Kita, but we can’t use your credits.”  She sighed, “We’ll just have to make due with subsistence meals in the general cafeteria.”

                “Why can’t we use my credits?”

                Natana and Den couldn’t think of an intelligent response.

                Nikita turned her sylphlike face up to them, “Then let’s celebrate with a great dinner.”

                “Really, Kita…are you sure?”

        “I’m sure.  It’s better than subsistence.”  She stood and pulled Natana and Den to their feet. 

The pathos is still strong here, and it will get stronger.  It isn’t difficult to make and continue a character like Nikita in pathos.  Notice, above, she has grasped her environment by the throat and is in control.  She is still about twelve standard and looks like a nine year old.  She was malnourished, and she is currently injured.  There are depths within depths in this novel based on Den and Natana’s goals, Nikata’s goals, and Alex’s goals.  Alex is Nikita’s friend who is currently a pain to her—soon to be a great help, but still a pain for quite a while.  Here is more about Nikita that shows the pathos development:


Den smiled at Nikita and patted the captain’s seat.  Nikita laughed and climbed in.  She loved to sit there.  She stared all around her.  She had a great view—the best view in the ship.  Just before the Command Chair were two other seats with multiple inputs and control systems.  The left seat had very complex and a host of controls, screens, and sensors that enveloped and surrounded it.  The right seat was less intricate, but sported a very advanced holographic programming computer and interface.  Natana relieved the other astrogator on the left seat and sat down.  Den leaned close to Nikita.  Before he could say anything, Nikita preempted him, “Mom is taking piloting and sensors for astrogation again.  She’ll pilot the ship into orbit from there.  Plus, she’s the Master Astrogator for the watch.  Journeyman Lauren Polar is manning the right hand seat, and the FTL shutter drive control console.  She’s the second astrogator for the watch.”

                Den nodded, “You didn’t forget…”

                “How could I.  About a quarter of my lessons have been on this subject.  It’s great.  Can I go talk to Lauren, sorry, I mean Journeyman Polar?”

                “Sure, as long as you don’t distract her.”

                Nikita jumped out of the seat and skipped to the right hand consol.  Natana watched Nikita carefully.  Before Nikita came too close, Lauren gave her a huge smile, “Nikita.  You are so great.”

                Nikita stopped suddenly.  She blushed, “What do you mean?”

                “Come on, that one handed holo interface—it’s fantastic.  My mom brought it home for me to see.  It’s so easy to use.  I hope you’re trying to get the ship to recognize it as a new invention.”

                “Alex made it for me.”


                “Alex Porson.”

                “You mean the little jerk who broke your arm in the first place.”

                Nikita shrugged, “He helped me too, afterward.”

                “Yeah, he better do a whole lot more for you Nikita.  If I meet up with him, he better watch out.”

                Nikita smiled.

                “I see you lost your cast and brace.  Are you healed?”

                “As far as I can tell.”

                “You want to try an FTL solution for arrival at Belgesa.”

                Nikita’s face lit up.

                “My mom tells me you have been studying this kind of solution very diligently.  You want to try it?  Come on.  Sit at the console.”

                Lauren moved out of the way and gave Nikita some space.  Nikita sat in the chair.  She was a little short.  Lauren adjusted it for her, and it was still too low.  She put her shippack under Nikita and that brought her up to the right height.

                Lauren pulled up the parameters for the arrival.  Nikita took a deep breath and her small thin fingers began dancing on the keyboard and the displays.

                Lauren watched with amazement.  She observed like a master overseeing the work of her favorite and very special student. 

                While Natana set up her systems, she kept a close eye on Nikita and Lauren.  Natana knew Lauren had been preparing Nikita’s lessons for the last six months.  Lauren’s fingerprints were all over them.  She had been feeding near master level astrogation problems to the girl for a while.

                After Nikita had set up the problem, she began to input it in the holo interface.  Her fingers moved in intricate symbols and motions.  They looked as though they were waltzing through the interface.  Tracks of light formed and shaped under her hands.  They built up in a fantastic and beautiful shape that was the solution to the arrival equation.  Unfortunately, though her cast was off, Nikita still couldn’t use her left hand very well.  It was still a little stiff, and she couldn’t make the holo inputs as quickly as she wanted.  Without a pause, Nikita told Lauren where to hold the equation just like using the one handed holo interface.  Carefully, with Lauren’s help, Nikita built up the function that would take the ship out of FTL and wholly back into the real universe.

                As Nikita formed her solution, Lauren’s eyes grew bigger and softer.  She checked the solution over and over with her master console system on her tablet computer.  After a few minutes, Nikita’s solution in the holo interface glowed green.  Lauren almost shouted, “Run the solution, Nikita.  Go ahead.” 

                Nikita shot a glance toward Natana.  Natana gave a short nod.

                Nikita shifted her mouth and pushed the solver button.  The solution path began to grow from the base of the interface.  The millions of lines of code and the millions of equations began to be solved using the probability constructs in the system.  They climbed Nikita’s intricate virtual structure and changed its color the consol sensors displayed the accuracy of the solution.  The color changed quickly and the solution began to finalize.  Nikita held her breath.  Lauren held her breath.  Natana held her breath.

                The solution color changed the entire solution from green to blue.  It reached the top of the holo interface.  The entire structure was shadings of blue.  It was beautiful, like a wonderful piece of art inside the interface.  Natana understood so well when she saw it why her own father made a lifelong study of such structures and even tried to repeat them using conventional mathematics.

                The display came up at the end—ninety nine sigma.

                Lauren’s mouth fell open, “That’s impossible.  Mother said she did it before.  I never believed it.”

                “Let me see,” Natana leapt over her seat to the console.  She put her hand on Nikita’s shoulder, “That was something else, Nikita.”

                “I want everyone else to see this,” Lauren called on the comm unit at the consol.  In a few moments Jenny Greaves and Frank Lasker the two apprentices on duty came running.  They were both over eighteen.  Lauren didn’t say a word.  She pointed at the display.

                Jenny and Frank stared at it.

                Then Lauren spoke, “I’ve only seen this once before.  On the Twilight Lamb, Natana once made a solution that reached this level of coherence.  My mother says Nikita does it all the time.”

                Jenny and Frank stared at Nikita.  Frank frowned, “Are you bucking for apprentice?  You’re kind of young.  You’re about eight, right?”  He got a funny look on his face.

                Nikita bit her lip, “I’m twelve.”

                He laughed a little tensely, “Well don’t think about taking my slot.  I’m not ready to retire yet.”

                Lauren put a hand on Frank’s arm, “Frank, I asked you to see this because Nikita can do it.  Not many fully trained astrogators can build a solution so perfectly—she can.  And in the future, we will all be working together.  I think it’s great.”

                Frank curled his lip, “Just don’t ask me to take training from a twelve year old.  She still looks like she’s eight.”

                Lauren’s eyes flashed, “She’s my student, Apprentice Lasker.  Clear the bridge, and you better finish your solutions before transition this time, or I’ll dock you a weeks pay.”

                Frank lowered his head a little.  He turned a sour look at Nikita and stalked off the bridge.  Jenny made a noncommittal sound in the back of her throat and followed after him.

                Lauren turned to Nikita and gave a half smile, “Don’t let him worry you, Nikita.  He’s just jealous.  He’s a little slow, but if he works hard he’ll make a good astrogator.  He’s the reason I wanted to show off your solution.”

You can see the pathos development.  Nikita looks very young.  She is still two years away from the age when children are apprenticed into their specialties.  She is able to accomplish mathematics well beyond her years and training.  This is because she is a Romantic character.  Her skills are psyonics and math.  She is a math genius.  The pathos development comes from the way others interact with her.  Some are jealous of her skill.  Others are contemptuous of her age and role.  I didn’t show you the part where she begins training a real student in shuttle.  If you remember, yesterday, I showed you a scene where Nikita could pilot a shuttle due to her diligent study of the minds of the shuttle pilots.  She puts this to work in her Family Trader ship and is made to study to be a pilot and an instructor.  The Shuttle Master must keep her training secret because it is not technically allowed at her age.  This kind of situation is delicious.  The pathos is obvious—the put upon young-looking person who is very skilled and very mature, but must put up with rules and immaturity.  I really like this kind of novel development.     


More tomorrow.

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

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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