4 March 2018, Writing - part x422, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Classical
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
I rejected the idea of the anti-hero, the tragic hero, and the epic hero as separate and different from a standard protagonist. I did declare that the everyman, the classical, and the superhero are all relevant protagonist types. Tragic, epic, and anti-hero are just descriptions of the everyman, classical, and superhero. Here is my conclusion: the most powerful plots are ones in which the protagonist is somehow redeemed from their flaw. You might say this is the archetype of every great protagonist.
Let’s move deeper. If the everyman, classical, and superhero are the standards for a protagonist, the everyman is the normal person, the classical is the romantic protagonist (tragic, epic, and anti-hero), and the superhero is the flawless person. The everyman has the normal flaws of every person—what kind of protagonist will that make? Are there too many to correct? Is one flaw pertinent to the telic flaw in the plot? Does it matter because who wants to read about your next door neighbor? The everyman has too many flaws, but what about the superman?
How many flaws doth the superman have? How about none. This is the problem with superman protagonists—the author has to make up something, or they just go from the plot telic flaw. The criminal commits a crime and the superman solves the crime, not individual telic flaw required. That’s fine for a comic book or a kids novel (Harry Potty), but not for an adult level novel.
I hope you are getting my point: the everyman has too many flaws and the superman has none. To write an entertaining novel, we need a telic flaw relating the protagonist to the plot. The answer isn’t simple, but it really cuts down on the thinking you have to do. If you need to develop a character, let’s start and finish with a classical protagonist. I labeled the classical protagonist as a romantic protagonist. There is a very important reason for this. I’ll explain.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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