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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Writing - part x629, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Imagination and Entertaining Characters

27 September 2018, Writing - part x629, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Imagination 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

The romantic focus on the imagination comes directly out of the Victorian Era.  I’ve written about this before, but it is very useful to begin here.  The Victorian Era and the literature of the Victorian Era was all about what you didn’t say as well as what you said.  Thus, no one went to the bathroom, vomited, had sex, thought of sex, or any of the myriad of human functions beyond those in the drawing room or office workspace.  The very idea of picturing actual work bothered the Victorian as if there was something wrong with it.  That is generally why I try to go into detail with my own historical writing about pertinent issues like bathrooms and plumbing.  Mainly because no novels from those periods wrote about any of that.

Because the Victorians would not write about issues many thought were important, and I don’t just mean bathroom issues.  The issues the Victorians would not discuss or bring up were exactly those many of the romantics thought were critical to social and cultural change, the romantics had to find some method to express those issues and still fly under the radar.

They did and Dickens is a perfect example.  Although Dickens is usually not thought of as a romantic writer, his works are moving in that direction.  Oliver Twist allowed him to write about the dirty and criminal underbelly of London with impunity.  A Christmas Carol let him write about greed and the lives of the poor.  These are subjects considered off limits by most Victorians, but through the use of imagination, Dickens broached these subjects and more.  The romantics took it even further.

Romantics could take very difficult subjects and through figures of speech, analogies, allegory, classical allusions, the use of the supernatural, and the use of historical settings they could provide social and cultural commentary that was untouchable in Victorian literature.  Today, romantics don’t use imagination exactly the way their predecessors did.  Imagination isn’t needed in the same way when no subject is really off limits, but the use of imagination spurred by the rise of romanticism created the current use of imagination in literature.              
  
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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