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Monday, September 3, 2018

Writing - part x605, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Telic Flaw

3 September 2018, Writing - part x605, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Telic Flaw

Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment.  I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher.  More information can be found at  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

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 and select "production schedule," you will be sent to
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 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.  The theme statement is: 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 cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
Cover Proposal
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja.  I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective.  I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter
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 30:  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 31:  TBD 

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:  Suspension of disbelief is the characteristic of writing that pulls the reader into the world of the novel in such a way that the reader would rather face the world of the novel rather than the real world—at least while reading.  If this occurs while not reading, it is potentially a mental problem.  To achieve the suspension of disbelief your writing has to meet some basic criteria and contain some strong inspiration.  If you want to call the inspiration creativity, that works too.  Here is a list of the basic criteria to hope to achieve some degree of suspension of disbelief. 

1.      Reasonably written in standard English
2.      No glaring logical fallacies
3.      Reasoned worldview
4.      Creative and interesting topic
5.      A Plot
6.      Entertaining
7.      POV

The telic flaw of the protagonist is the basis for the plot, therefore, all we need to do is look at potential good telic flaws, and from that develop our plot and protagonist.  It’s a start and an idea.

Let me go back and define the telic flaw for you.  The name telic flaw comes from Aristotle’s Treatise on Tragedy.  Aristotle, in his treatise, tried to define what made good tragedy and a good play in general.  One of the major points he noted, among many, was that the protagonist defined the tragedy.  Actually, he defined two required characters—the protagonist and the antagonist.  The conflict between the two was not what defined the play.  The conflict was simply a part or an indicator of the deeper struggle which came from the protagonist.  This deeper struggle was the entire point in the play.  The deeper struggle or the overall problem that had to be resolved by the play, Aristotle termed the telic (end and beginning) flaw.

This flaw is not necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather the flaw in the world that the protagonist must and can only fix.  This is why Aristotle termed it the telic flaw and assigned it to the protagonist as a characteristic. 

Let me give you my favorite example—the detective novel.  In a detective, or any other crime novel, the point of the novel is to solve the crime.  The crime is the telic flaw of the novel.  The entire novel revolves around the solution of the mystery and crime.  The flaw is in the fabric of the world of the novel.  This flaw must be resolved in the world for the resolution of the world of the novel.  Now, you might ask, where does the protagonist come in?

The novel is a revelation of the protagonist.  Aristotle did not conclude this about the protagonist in a play—he didn’t state this outright, but he might have concluded it if it was pointed out to him.  The classic play and a classic novel is always about the protagonist.  A novel is the revelation of the protagonist in relation to the resolution of the problem presented by the novel.  The problem in the novel is the telic flaw.  This means the novel is the revelation of the protagonist as the protagonist resolves the telic flaw.  This is the direct connection of the protagonist with the telic flaw.

Let me put this in terms of a detective novel.  The telic flaw is the crime or mystery.  This telic flaw is owned by the protagonist.  It is not a flaw of the protagonist.  It is a flaw in the world of the novel, but the protagonist is the one who must and will solve the crime or mystery.  The protagonist is tied directly into the plot of the novel through the telic flaw—this is exactly what Aristotle was trying to express, and this is what a writer must realize to develop a great plot.

I told you, to figure out a great plot, we need to start with the protagonist.  The problem the protagonist must solve is the telic flaw which is connected hip and thigh to the protagonist.  The protagonist defines the telic flaw—this is the next point.                                      

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, and my individual novel websites:

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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