1 April 2018, Writing - part x450, Developing Skills, Antagonists vs. Protagonist’s Helpers
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 then 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.
In general, literature has been moving from a direct human antagonist to an indirect or less direct idea, concept, or institution as the antagonist. I would like to write that literature has been moving from less complex and engaged protagonist’s helpers to more powerful and complex protagonist’s helpers. Unfortunately, protagonist’s helpers are improving, but not as quickly as I would like. Most writers may not be aware of the protagonist’s helper, and many may not fully comprehend the point of the protagonist’s helper.
I would like to see a better use of the protagonist’s helper. I would also like to see less telling and more showing. I’m afraid we have been falling backwards into too much and more telling than necessary. It is endemic in young adult (YA) literature and is becoming more common in adult literature. In spite of the cry in the writing community, “show and don’t tell,” writers aren’t getting it. They are producing more and more poorly written literature.
In any case, we need more protagonist’s helpers and less telling. I’ll offer a help here. How about we consider a close and positive antagonist? If authors won’t or don’t use a strong protagonist’s helper, why not use a close and positive antagonist?
Here’s how you might set up such a character. How about a rival or a competitor who is also a friend. Such a character can be a direct antagonist, an indirect face of the antagonist, or a protagonist’s helper. Let’s make such a character a direct positive antagonist. In this case, the antagonist would not be negative at all. They might have very high standards and ethics. They might be the top of their field. The point is they pull the protagonist to their peak of their ability.
Japanese literature and Asian literature in general uses the concept of the rival very often and well. The idea of the friendly or just the close competitor for love, rewards, or success is a set concept in much of Asian literature. This is a potential antagonist. In Western literature, the rival would likely be the antagonist. Such a character would be a close or friendly antagonist.
I’m offering this as an idea. I may use it myself. The whole idea of the positive antagonist as we see in A Christmas Carol is a very intriguing idea. I think that would produce a strong and interesting novel. What I might do is propose such a character and see if it leaves a novel behind. The problem with this is that it requires the development of a plot with the characters—I usually don’t do this.
So, my point. The protagonist’s helper is a wonderful concept in a novel. If you don’t want or desire a protagonist’s helper, why not a close or friendly antagonist? Why not a positive antagonist? Just some thoughts.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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