10 April 2018, Writing - part x459, Developing Skills, Telic Flaw, Entertaining and Loss
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.
So what is a compelling telic flaw? We need a direct and specific telic flaw.
Almost every telic flaw in the plot and for the protagonist (should be the same), is based on the threat of loss. Early literature focused this threat of loss on life, and this is undeniably one of the most used and potentially abused telic flaws in literature. I would argue that threat of loss of life is a wonderful telic flaw as long as it is localized. You can have the threat of loss of life for a person, a community (army), a nation (defeat), a world (Noah and the flood, end of world fantasy), and end of the universe (science fiction as well). The lower the level the better in terms of literature. We can conceive of the loss of a life, but the loss of lives moves into the precedence of either the Holocaust or supermen. There is much need to remind us about the threat of socialistic and communistic nations that murder millions—about supermen saving the universe or world, not so much. In any case, the threat of loss of anything is a wonderful telic flaw.
As I noted, Christianity brought about a new telic flaw—the telic flaw of redemption or salvation. I don’t mean the revivalists and save the world or even individuals type of plot. Pride and Prejudice is a redemption plot. A Christmas Carol is a salvation or redemption plot depending on how you look at it. Almost every great modern novel especially from the Victorian Era is a redemption or salvation plot. These happen to be the most powerful ideas and literature. If you look at most beginning of the 20th Century novels from Steinbeck to Hemmingway, they are mostly redemption theme novels. The concepts of redemption in them are many times new and different from our imagination of redemption or salvation, but if you look closely at the novels, they are attempts to redeem the hearts and minds of the protagonists. Just look at The Sun Also Rises or For Whom the Bell Tolls or In Dubious Battle or The Grapes of Wrath. In each case, the protagonists are searching for redemption. In some cases they do and in others they don’t (one is a tragedy and the other a comedy).
I definitely recommend a redemption or salvation telic flaw. The question still is one of loss. What did the protagonist lose or need to gain. I’ll give an example from one of my novels. In Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer, Lilly needs a friend. She also needs a focus for her life. She needs purpose, a place to stay, a family, and food. These are simple things, but they are also things she has never had before. Lilly hasn’t lost these things, she never had them.in the first place. This might be considered, most correctly a salvation theme—she didn’t lose these things, she never had them. There is no mention of the spiritual or of God in any of this, but we know, there should be. Not so much that Lilly needs a spiritual salvation experience, she needs a physical salvation experience. I personally don’t think you can have one without the other that is a person needs to clean house in their heart and soul to truly achieve the other (physical salvation). Thus, Lilly provides everything she needs from the streets—a place to sleep, food from a dumpster and from ripping off convenience stores. What she really needs is a friend and family. With a friend and family comes new needs, and so on. My point, the redemption and salvation themes are loss or threat of loss telic flaws that affect the protagonist.
These types of telic flaws are what you should contemplate in designing a protagonist.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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