My Favorites

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Writing - part x618, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Applying Pathos and Entertaining Characters

16 September 2018, Writing - part x618, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Applying Pathos and Entertaining Characters

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 d√©nouement 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

Everything is about entertainment.  The purpose for all published novels is entertainment.  Other than this is the only point of fiction literature, one of the main reasons is that entertainment can fill a lot of holes as well as result in the suspension of disbelief.

The factors that do lend themselves to entertaining are these:
1.      Characters
2.      Plot
3.      Setting
4.      Topics
5.      Writing
6.      Use of figures of speech (vocabulary and language).

How to develop entertaining protagonists?  We want characters who develop pathos.  We’d like to start with characters whom your readers immediately feel pathos for—feel emotion for.  Remember, the emotion isn’t within the characters, the emotion or pathos is in the readers. 

I’ll give you a more complete list of automatically pathos building characteristics.  A character who is hungry, impoverished, poor, abused, weak, sick, used, enslaved, harassed, bullied, parentless, friendless, familyless, and all—okay, I did have some repetitive terms.  Point made though.  Start with a pathos building character and your readers will immediately feel compassion and emotions for your characters. 

Now, I do want to warn you—ensure the problem characteristics of your protagonist are not the fault of the protagonist.  At least not entirely the problem of the protagonist.  For example, a character who is a complete jerk and causes his own social ostracism is not as appealing as a character who because of no real fault of his own is bullied.  Harry Potty is a great example—at first. 

In the beginning, Harry is an orphan abused as a menial in his Aunt and Uncle’s house.  He lives under the stairs and is punished and harassed unmercifully.  The reason is that he is magic, but he doesn’t know this.  The magic and Harry’s magical parents as well as Harry’s Aunt’s jealousy, are all not of Harry’s doing.  He is mistreated because of this and not because he brings it on himself.  Harry is a very good pathos building protagonist.  It even makes it more powerful because we and Harry don’t know why he is being ostracized.

As I noted, Azure Rose Wishart, the protagonist of my novel Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective is impoverished because her father embezzled funds form the Crown.  She is an orphan, her mother is dead, who attends a girl’s boarding school on a scholarship.  Her problems are not her fault.  Then there are the positive features that produce automatic emotions in readers.     

There are also the positive characteristics we haven’t written about yet, but we will write about next.      

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

No comments:

Post a Comment