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Monday, September 17, 2018

Writing - part x619, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Positive Characteristics and Entertaining Characters

17 September 2018, Writing - part x619, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Positive Characteristics 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. 

Usually, pathos building characteristics are negative type characteristics, but because of what we know about readers, certain pathos developing characteristics are positive especially when combined with the negative ones.

Let’s think about readers.  What characteristics do readers have or think they have?  These can lead us to positive pathos building characteristics.  The most obvious characteristic is that readers read.  Any character who reads will automatically appeal to readers.  They appeal to readers but not necessarily to other media such as movies.  Some movies have made this mistake—the Pagemaster and the Neverending Story both assumed reading themes and pathos building characters with the assumption they would appeal to general audiences—they were very wrong.  It worked for certain groups, but fell flat for others.  In reading and readers, this will always work—that is, a protagonist who is a reader always appeals to readers.  They don’t necessarily see themselves in the character, but they just automatically like them.  This is like when you first meet someone, and when you say you love to read, they also say they love reading—an immediate connection is formed.  The same think happens when you introduce a protagonist who is a reader.  The background for this should be obvious—an association based on tastes, but there is more to this. 

Readers read for entertainment purposes, but most readers are intellectuals or think they are intellectuals.  Reading does indeed make it possible for you to become an intellectual, but doesn’t necessarily mean you are one.  In any case, readers love characters who are or desire to be intellectuals.  Basically, this goes directly to the idea of wanting to learn.  Intellectuals, down deep, want to learn.  The opposite of this, the negative characteristic is to prevent one from learning.  This is the true pathos building negative—a character who desires to learn and is prevented for one reason or another.  The desire to learn is the intellectual pursuit.  I use this in many of my novels.  Most recently, I had just this type of character as a protagonist’s helper in Deirdre: Enchantment and the School

In Deirdre, Sorcha is the protagonist’s helper.  She has snuck into a boarding school as a student because she wants to learn.  This immediately appeals to any reader.  A child who desires to learn so much that she would sneak into a school is a pretty powerful picture.  This idea of seeking intellectualism or learning is a very strong positive pathos building characteristic for any character.
There are more positive features that produce automatic emotions in readers—most involve pursuits prevents, especially intellectual pusuits.    

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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