12 March 2018, Writing - part x430, Developing Skills, Types of Protagonists, Nature and Primitivism
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. Third the plot and or character might reflect the supernatural.
I told you I would get back to primitivism—we can wrap it together with nature. Romantic has a characteristic that it reflects nature and primitivism. I described it as: nature is nobler than society. Being away from society is better. Concept of a simpler social ideal (as compared to Victorianism, for example). I also noted that romantic nature tends to include nature and the love of nature. I’m not advocating your characters be tree huggers. That’s not the point at all.
Victorian literature and realism literature tended to focus on the home, hearth, and working. The cities and the villages of the era were the main settings and points for literature and the focus of life. Romanticism changed this radically. In the real world, people began exulting in nature. Walking tours and riding tours became the rage. The study of biology, botany, and zoology in every extreme were in vogue. Children were encouraged to study nature in nature. If you haven’t read much from this period, you should, and you would be astounded at the focus of nature.
You should not be any more surprised at the inclusion of nature or the external world in all levels of writing. Notice that in modern literature, many settings in novels are outside. In realism or Victorian writing, this would be unimaginable. The settings were interiors and not exteriors. Look at much if not most Victorian era literature, the action played out in the inside and not the outside. Even events that should have been outside were inside, and the outside was in controlled gardens.
In modern literature, nature is assumed and the idea of primitivism, if not stated explicitly, it is assumed. Modern literature naturally assumes primitivism. You might ask yourself why this might be when everyone is completely overwhelmed with technology. The reason, romanticism appeals to every one. It is as natural in the psyche as the rest of romanticism.
Part of the appeal of romantic characters is that they are either nature based or nature longing. If they are technologically powerful characters, they are somehow connecting or wanting to connect to nature. If they are nature-based characters, they naturally feel this is completely normative and right. In my characters, Lilly, the super genius computer girl was homeless and felt connected to the outside world (as opposed to the interior). In Harry Potty, Harry eventually is living out in the outdoors in Britain—where he found outdoors, I have no idea. The sparkly vampires and their werewolf friends loved and lived in the Seattle wilderness—or close to it.
The point is this—most all modern literature has some connection, direct or indirect to nature and/or primitivism. Use it well.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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