2 March 2018, Writing - part x420, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Epic
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.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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
I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.
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.
For novel 29: 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.
For novel 30: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the scene development outline:
1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
Today: Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work. I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words. That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels. When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.
To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and writing. Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much. I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.
Characters are the key to great writing. Entertainment is the purpose of fiction writing. The key to entertainment is character revelation. If we want to be a successful writer, we must aim for great protagonists, and I would say, great protagonist’s helpers.
What are the characteristic of an entertaining protagonist? Below is a list of six types of protagonists developed by Rebecca Ray. This is one of the most comprehensive and best list I’ve seen:
- Classical Hero – Romantic Protagonist
- Everyman Hero – Everyman Protagonist
- Superhero – Superhero Protagonist
- Tragic Hero – Tragic Protagonist
- Epic Hero – Epic Protagonist
- Anti Hero – Anti-Hero Protagonist
The romantic hero is the classical hero—we’ll look at that one last. Let’s evaluate the others for entertainment effect. In the case of each of these heroes, they must match the plot and theme of the novel you are (intend) to write, but let me go one further. If the protagonist determines the novel, then by developing a romantic protagonist, you will be automatically designing a novel based in a romantic theme and plot. This might sound like a stretch, but it isn’t much. The character of the protagonist develops the novel.
I’m going with Ray’s definition and ideas on this. Here is her definition of the Epic Hero:
“As with the tragic hero, the Greeks were first to define the protagonist known as an epic hero. These are heroes of a tragedy who evoke in the audience a sense of heroism and legendary awe-inspiring lore. An epic hero is a man whose fortune is brought about by their admired characteristics. Many of the famous Greek Epics, such as The Odyssey and the Illiad, contain these larger than life heroes and deeds:”
I’m going to go with this, but I’ll advise you that again Ray has over simplified the concept of the Greek and Epic protagonist. I will state officially, the Epic Hero (protagonist) is no different from the Romantic (Classical Protagonist). Let’s say for the moment, there is such a concept as an Epic Hero—I’ll go for that. You would then expect to find such a hero in an Epic—that’s a type of literature.
The concept of the epic in literature is a bit nefarious. Here is the official definition:
“epic definition. A long narrative poem written in elevated style, in which heroes of great historical or legendary importance perform valorous deeds. The setting is vast in scope, covering great nations, the world, or the universe, and the action is important to the history of a nation or people.”
You should be able to spot the problem right away. You ain’t writing about an epic hero unless you are writing a long narrative poem. No really there are no real epics (or few) being written today. The classic examples of epics are The Odyssey, The Iliad, The Aeneid, Beowulf, and The Bhagavad Gita. The protagonist of such a tale can be classified as an epic hero.
Now into the modern era. A few novels have been called epic in scope for example: Dune, The Lord of the Rings, and Watership Down. Are these epics? They aren’t long narrative poems. They are not written in an elevated style. They heroes are not historical or legendary. Their actions are not important in the history of a real nation or people. They aren’t epics—by definition.
I conclude therefore, the concept of the epic hero is moot. There is no point in using or discussing the “epic hero” in the context of modern writing. Simple as that. The anti-hero on the other hand might be usable.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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