8 March 2018, Writing - part x426, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Romantic
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. Unique, defining, skilled, see individualism.
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.
So, how can I use the idea of romantic characters to develop entertaining characters? This is the question. The answer is relatively simple depending on how astute you are and how well read you are. I don’t mean this as a test, but it is a test of your imagination and creativity. If you are well read, that is a necessary skill as an author, you should understand the figure of a romantic character. Perhaps you understand well the characters you like already—the trick is to make characters of your own. That’s what I wish to convey to you—the how I do it which I think you can replicate for your own writing.
Imagination and creativity are huge parts of the creation of great characters. This almost has to become second nature for a writer to be successful. I imagine, design, and reveal characters to fit my writing, plots, and themes. It has become almost automatic for secondary characters. I do spend large amounts of time on the development of a protagonist.
I many times develop the protagonist before I design the plot. Usually, the plot and protagonist come together at once—or rather, the protagonist and the initial scene. My goal is to develop a unique protagonist. My protagonists usually come out of a singular creative idea. For example, Lady Wishart was designed with the idea of a female Sherlock Holms but with some serious differences.
Lady Wishart is intentionally designed to take advantage of the picturesque, sentimental, melancholy, and individual in ways Sherlock could not. Now, Sherlock is picturesque. He is not sentimental—remember he is intentionally not emotive nor emotionally driven. This is one of the areas where the modern editions of Sherlock are modified intentionally. Usually the storyline has him unemotional, but driven to an emotional outburst or realization following some touching case or issue.
Holms is definitely melancholy. This is his nature, but notice, he is not individualistic and his melancholy is balanced by Dr. Watson. So with Lady Wishart, I wished to use her traits to make her like Sherlock, but to take advantage of these (and other characteristics) to make her unique.
The first and foremost is that Lady Wishart is a woman. This pegs the picturesque and sentimental simply because of her sex. Although it is more common today, the female detective is still new and exciting. The idea of how a female detective might approach a problem is interesting to readers. They know the approach must be different. If it isn’t, then why make her a female. Next, I made Lady Wishart a sixth form schoolgirl. She is almost out of primary school in the British system so she is nineteen. The reason is to express youth and inexperience or rather youth and unexpected experience in the character. This appeals to picturesque and to sentimental as well as individual. Lady Wishart is going it on her own. She is unique. She is not emotionless, but she is staunch and strong—all these are somewhat unexpected characteristics in a sixth form schoolgirl. This is unique and different in the extreme—at least to the usual adult detective novel reader.
Melancholy is just a state, but with Lady Wishart, I envelop her in sentimentalism and melancholy through the loss of her estate, her penury, and her current associations. She is upbeat and pleasant, but she is driven and fiercely independent. At the same time, her goals are almost impossible and she has not hope of success, but she continues to fight for success. The point isn’t to drive melancholy in her, but rather melancholy in the reader—this is a more powerful means of using romanticism.
Finally, individualism is a hallmark of Lady Wishart even more so than Sherlock. Sherlock has Dr. Watson who provides the teamwork and reflection of Sherlock’s skills and intellect. Dr. Watson provides the protagonist’s helper everyman to balance Sherlock and take his individualistic traits from him. Lady Wishart, at first, has no such help. Later, I provide her a foil who happens to also be the protagonist’s helper. Her foil does not decrease her individualism as much as provides the true reflection of her skills as well as her unreciprocated affections. To be clear, Lachlann Calloway loves and intrudes on Lady Wishart’s life, but she doesn’t reciprocate his affections in the least—not at first. There is more to Lady Wishart that Sherlock doesn’t share at all.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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