2 April 2018, Writing - part x451, Developing Skills, Positive Antagonist
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.
I’m proposing the development of a positive antagonist. How might we do this? The best example is A Christmas Carol. First, we need a Scrooge protagonist. Now, I have a little problem with bad protagonists. Some of the novels I’ve read have had these kinds of characters. I don’t like them. The question is could I like a Scrooge? Can I like a bad protagonist? I made one.
Shiggy, from my novel Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse, is a “bad” protagonist. Shiggy is self-important, irritating, ingratiating, obnoxious, accident prone, and inept. She has some positive characteristics. She is smart, educated, thinking, and that’s about it.
I liked Shiggy as a character. Even though she had all these problems, the point of the novel was to change her. The biggest problem is my chief prepublication reader didn’t like Shiggy or her antagonist. So, there is the biggest problem with this type of novel. Your readers might not be ready for this type of novel, and they might not enjoy your characters. I really liked this novel. I enjoyed writing it, and I enjoyed editing it.
I still encourage you to think about this type of novel. I haven’t put it before a potential publisher yet, but I think it has some promise. The measure will be if a publisher likes it.
I noted that first we need a Scrooge. Shiggy is a Scrooge. She is a protagonist in need of redeeming. The difference is that Shiggy’s redemption takes an entire 100,000 word novel. Her changes come slowly and incrementally. This is a fun discovery and change novel. It’s an education and training novel as well as a redemptive novel. In comparison, A Christmas Carol, is entirely a redemptive novel. Scrooge’s redemption is the climax and that’s about it.
The antagonist of this novel is both a concept and a person. Sorcha is Shiggy’s antagonist. She really isn’t her protagonist’s helper. If anything, Shiggy’s protagonist’s helper is the Fae Ashly. The person, Sorcha, is Shiggy’s trainer and commanding officer. My prepublication reader also said she didn’t like Sorcha—that’s kind of okay. I really wanted my readers to enjoy Sorcha and Shiggy. I liked them as characters, but not necessarily as people. It might be worthwhile to see what a guy thought about Shiggy and Sorcha.
In any case, Shiggy is a Scrooge-like character who is the protagonist. She requires redemption. Sorcha is an antagonist to Shiggy. As the novel proceeds, the protagonist and the antagonist become closer, but they are never completely friends. I think this type of novel needs a little more explanation.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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