10 March 2018, Writing - part x428, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Sentimentalism
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.
If you look at the above list of romantic characteristics (characteristics of romanticism), you will see most every modern character. The question is how do we create romantic characters? I gave a partial example yesterday of Lady Wishart. I could go through all my protagonists and show you how they conform to the romantic ideal. This might or might be useful—I’m contemplating just this action.
In general, I’d like to be able to show you how I develop a romantic character in such a way that allows you to develop a romantic character. This work has taken me years, and it is a very difficult concept to bring into easy focus. The reason is that every protagonist is tied directly to a plot—the telic flaw of the plot and the protagonist. Thus, it is very difficult to design a protagonist without a telic flaw and therefore a plot or at least a plot idea.
First we saw how a protagonist should be picturesque. If you start with this, you are off to a great start. The second trait should be primitivism. I’m going to jump this one for now and move on to sentimentalism. If you start with a picturesque character, you have a powerful individual, but what you need are the ingredients of a telic flaw. Picturesque does not really give you much of a telic flaw—the picturesque character, as I have defined them, is a character who is uniquely skilled and powerful—not a superhero, but a great character to begin with. Such a character is fun, but where is your plot? You must have a telic flaw to build a plot and second, we need to drive our protagonist to zero so we can build them to hero. Do you remember zero to hero for plot development. All novels project zero to hero. You must move your protagonist to zero, the question is how.
One means is sentimentalism. A character who is picturesque is unique and in some way powerful or potentially powerful. If I add a sentimental aspect to the character, I am moving down the path to zero. Let’s change the name of sentimentalism to pathos—they basically mean the same thing. Pathos is more specifically the ability to project and cause emotion. A pathetic character, in this case, is a character who causes emotion. This is what we want—consider the picture of Oliver Twist starving and requesting more food, “More please, sir.” This is pathos.
We want to make out picturesque character also pathetic or pathos building. Here is what I usually do. I took Lady Wishart and made her poor and an orphan. Her mother died, and her father is in prison. She lost her estate, and has no money. She does have a tile, but it requires continual unremunerated work. Lady Wishart is a very accomplished and driven person, but she has nothing. This makes her immediately pathos building.
Let’s take another example. Lilly from my novel Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer is a math and hacking genius. She is also the child of a drug using prostitute. She doesn’t have anything, and at the beginning of the novel, she is living on the street.
We build sentimentality (pathos) by making a character poor or unusual looking or an orphan. There are other methods, but these are some of the simplest. Notice that Oliver Twist was built into a pathos character in the same way. The pathos brings our protagonist to zero in a hurry, and anything that can bring them to zero can also provide the telic flaw for the novel.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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