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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Writing - part x621, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Romantic and Entertaining Characters

19 September 2018, Writing - part x621, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Romantic 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 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 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?  I can’t leave the discussion of entertaining protagonists without mentioning the romantic character.  I assert that we are still in the Romantic Era for writing, but whether we are or aren’t, the romantic character is the favored character of most readers.  If your protagonist is a romantic character or has romantic characteristics, this will improve the chance your readers will find them entertaining. 

So, what does a romantic character look like?  I happen to have a short list.  This isn’t a perfect list, but it gets the basic idea.  I’ll find examples as well.

1.       The common man, innocence of humans, and childhood (children)
2.      Focus on strong senses, emotions, and feelings
3.      Awe of nature
4.      Celebration of the individual and individualism
5.      Importance of imagination

Pathos building characters fit closely in the romantic model.  The reason is the origin of the character.  I wrote that characters who come out of poverty, abuse, hunger, illness, lack of parents, and suffering not of their own making are pathos building.  If you notice, this relates to the idea of the common man, innocence, and childhood in the idea of the origin of the protagonist.  A character who comes from a non-common person origin, royalty, for example, can be made into a romantic character, but you have to drive them down to it.  This is what I did with Azure in my novel Blue Rose Enchantment and the Detective.

Azure was born into the nobility, but her father went to prison which brought her into a foster family, poverty, loss of her estate, but not loss of her nobility.  Menolly from Dragonsong and Dragonsinger was likewise born into nobility of a type.  We don’t understand this until much later, but as the child of the Sea Holder, she has a claim of rank in her society. 

Menolly is brought down through abuse because her family thinks her musical skills are a negative to their society and culture.  She faces hunger, abuse, illness, and suffering due to the forces that drive her out of her hold.  This is kind of caused by her own choices, but the author makes it seem that it is her only real choice.  This is a powerful type of writing trick.  It appeals through the focus on strong senses, emotions, and feelings.  Before we go there, let’s look at the origins of another romantic character, Jonny Rico from Starship Troopers.

Jonny Rico is a powerful romantic character.  He begins as a common man—a regular graduate from high school wondering what he will do with his life.  He doesn’t face poverty, abuse, hunger, or any real problems.  The only pathos development is that he faces a conundrum about his future.  If this doesn’t resonate with you, you aren’t experienced in modern society.  The idea of selecting your future life is one of innocence and childhood.  The pathos building is very different in this novel.  Let’s look at this character as well as the others in context of the other features of the romantic protagonist.  I’ll look at the focus on strong sense, emotions, and feelings.
  
More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, 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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