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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Writing - part x607, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Protagonist and Telic Flaw

5 September 2018, Writing - part x607, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Protagonist and 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 is the problem the protagonist must resolve.  The expectation of most writing and especially romantic fiction is that the protagonist uniquely is the only person, at least in the worldview of the novel, who can resolve the telic flaw.

In my example from The Wind Rises, this is obvious.  What is also obvious is the protagonist must somehow change themselves or the world to resolve the telic flaw.  I want to reiterate that the telic flaw is not necessarily a problem in the protagonist.  The telic flaw is a problem in the world of the novel that the protagonist must resolve.  However, the telic flaw can be a direct problem of the protagonist.

Aristotle defined the telic flaw as both a problem of the plot and a problem of the protagonist.  It is not necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but it is a flaw in the world of the protagonist.  Based on this, it should not be too difficult to see what Aristotle was getting at, and what, in his mind, a great protagonist, telic flaw, or plot looked like.

To Aristotle, the telic flaw was a characteristic of the protagonist that directly affected the protagonist and the plot.  Part of this was the problem of how the Greeks viewed the world.  To the Greeks, the world and the protagonist (as well as all people) were fated to their outcomes.  When you are fated, the resolution of the telic flaw becomes pretty focused.  In addition, Aristotle was writing about tragedy.  In a tragedy, the telic flaw overcomes the protagonist.  In a comedy, the protagonist overcomes the telic flaw. 

Using our detective story example, a tragedy would be when the crime or mystery overcomes the protagonist.  The protagonist would usually die at the hands of the criminal or due to the crime. 

Most of us don’t write tragedies.  You can apply all these ideas to them, but let’s stick with comedy.  The protagonist overcomes the telic flaw.  I want to hit again, the telic flaw is the problem in the world of the fiction that the protagonist must overcome to resolve the plot.  This connects the telic flaw with the plot, climax, and the protagonist.  As I wrote, in complex mature literature, the telic flaw is not just directly connected to the protagonist as a simple problem to be solved.  I’ll look at this next.    

More tomorrow.

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

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