7 March 2018, Writing - part x425, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Entertaining
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.
The classical protagonist is also a romantic protagonist. The reason for this is that the current style and philosophy for art and literature is romantic. I assert that we are still in the age of romanticism in art and literature. Here is a list of the romantic ideas boiled down as characteristics for a protagonist (or other character):
1. Picturesque – strong imagery describing settings, characters, and objects.
2. Primitivism - nature is nobler than society. Being away from society is better. Concept of a simpler social ideal (as compared to Victorianism, for example).
3. Sentimentalism – expresses strong emotion (pathos).
4. Supernatural - interest in mystic and mythical things, events, beings.
5. Nature - the love and inclusion of nature.
6. Nationalism - arts are about heritage, myth, folklore, and customs
7. Melancholy - unhappiness, sufferings, horrifying, and unloving feelings (pathos).
8. Individualism – self-made, self-motivated, internal, driven, weak with teams. Leader not a follower.
To use these characteristics, you don’t need to develop characters in a checklist fashion. You should simply remember that this list represents the kind of characters people like to read about—this list represents entertaining characters. Let’s look at an example.
How about Harry Potty? Picturesque? I would argue the writer could have been better at all of the descriptions in the novels, but the picture of Harry and his friends is pretty well done. At least reasonably done. Harry Potty and his friends are more than just strongly described—the criticality isn’t the power of the description, it is the character her or himself. In other words, the character must be picturesque. This means the character must be unique and entertaining. You don’t write novels about side characters—you write novels about children who are magic and survive a death curse. That’s what makes Harry picturesque. So, first, the character must be special in some way. More special than anyone else in the novel and potentially in life or humanity.
Primitivism—Harry may not appear to be a child of primitivism. However, notice, the magical society is luddite. It is ignorant of modern technology and ideas. It is primitive compared to the Muggle society. It represents a break from the normal culture and society back to a simpler and magical era in human thought.
Sentimentalism—the smarmy experience of Harry and his friends is almost embarrassing. The expression of emotions and the strength of emotion (it’s what allowed Harry to survive—his mother loved him enough to break the death curse). This is about as smarmy (sentimental) as you can get.
Supernatural—woah. No comment.
Nature—if you read the novels, you know that nature, especially supernatural nature, is a huge part of the plot and novel. Almost every plot solution revolves around discovering a magical plant or animal in magical nature to empower the protagonist.
Nationalism—the nationalism is to the magical community. This is a huge theme with the ideas of mudbloods and muggle-born magical folk. The nationalism is extreme and pictured as a negative, but if you are a squib (non-magical, magic person) you have no status. Only the magical are important in the magical world. Muggles don’t count and are the enemy in most cases.
Melancholy—just look at the continued threat of the V-guy. The books are filled with melancholy and melancholic characters. From Harry to his criminal uncle Black to Longbottom with his past he wants to forget to the many characters with regrets and unfulfilled desires. That’s melancholic.
Finally, individualism—Harry is strongly individualistic. He doesn’t work well with teams or groups. He is forced to work with others. He is introspective and independent. This is almost undebatable.
Harry is a romantic character. Romantic characters are entertaining characters.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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