11 March 2018, Writing - part x429, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Supernaturalism
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 (unique and skilled). Second, I introduced sentimentalism (pathos) to bring the character to zero and to give a telic flaw. The next is supernaturalism.
If you haven’t noticed the interest in the hard supernatural has been growing lately. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but the directness is. In the past, the writers might bring in some touch of the spiritual or mysticism and then pooh pooh it. Now, we have vampires, wizards, witches, werewolves, and all the others becoming mainstream. In the past, you had to settle for Dracula and the ghosts of Christmas. Today, we have moved into the supernatural directly.
I will tell you that many modern authors don’t get the reason for using the supernatural. In the minds of many, it is just a means to entertainment. The Romantic Movement saw things much differently. In their minds, the use of the supernatural was a metaphor for the real world. It represented the wild and powerful part of the creation they couldn’t write directly about and that they couldn’t express without a spiritual symbol.
I don’t really have any problem with you using the supernatural as a means of entertaining your readers—I do. However, I also use the supernatural as a means of romantic expression. If you note, all of my historical fiction novels touch on the supernatural. For example, the novel I gave you in this blog, Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon, is a perfect example. In Aksinya, Aksinya conjures a demon. She is the only one who can see the demon, so the question for the reader, is the demon real? The demon tempts Aksinya to accomplish all kinds of evil. Is this just Aksinya or is there really a demon. Throughout the novel, I use Aksinya’s personal demon as a metaphor for her real demon—or is there really a demon? You can see, the idea of symbols and metaphors conveyed through the strength of the supernatural can be very compelling.
Then how do we generate supernatural characters? I don’t advise following fads in writing, but if you get a great vampire or werewolf idea, write about it. I use British myth and Celtic, Gaelic, and Anglo-Saxon gods and goddesses. This is my supernatural niche. For Aksinya, I used a demon and sorcery. In Lady Wishart, I have the Fae, gods and goddesses, a vampire, and a werewolf. In any case, don’t shy away from the supernatural, but don’t strain at it either. The supernatural can be as simple as a chill and as complex as a god.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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