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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Writing - part x635, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Reflectors of Pathos

3 October 2018, Writing - part x635, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Reflectors of Pathos

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

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

For pathos, the more the merrier, and more, pathos can be reflected from and through other characters.  In fact, other characters, like readers, are the perfect reflection of the pathos in a scene.

For example, in the Sara Crew scene where Sara shares her bread, there are three participants.  None show much of the emotion the scene generates.  Sara feels sadness and compassion for the urchin.  The urchin feels happy because she finally has something to eat.  The proprietress of the bread shop is amazed that the starving Sara would share her bread.  The proprietress reflects some of the pathos of the scene, and this reflection makes the scene more powerful.  The shop owner reflects some degree of the emotion the readers feels, but notice, the author completely downplays the strength of the pathos. 

This is intentional and this is a technique of great power in writing.  The point is to show and not tell the pathos of the scene.  This makes the scene very powerful.  On the other hand, if the author tried to tell us what we should feel or the importance of the emotion in the scene, it would detract and reduce the power of the scene.

There is also a strong irony shown and reflected in the scene.  That irony is the reaction of the shop owner to the situation.  There is irony in the actions of Sara.  There is also a reflection of irony in the reaction of the shop owner.  This irony and the reflection is important in developing the scene and the pathos in the scene.

Ultimately, the reader keenly feels the suffering of Sara.  The reader feels the suffering of the urchin.  The reader feels the emotions of the shop owner.  The readers reaction is misery for Sara, hope for the urchin, and delight at the shop owner’s sudden desire to help.  The reader doesn’t really reflect any of the feelings of the characters.  What has happened is the author has produced pathos in the heart and mind of the reader that has nothing at all to do with the reactions and emotions of the characters.

You may never write a scene quite like this one about Sara.  On the other hand, you might.  The point is this, the author intentionally aimed to develop this scene and this response.  The author wrote the scene so the characters showed the particular emotions the author knew would create the proper response.  The reader responded to the scene. 

As an author, do we develop scenes from the specific intention to drive a particular or any response from the reader, or do we write scenes with the intention to build a response in the characters?  I think from the example, we obviously should aim for a response from the readers.  The reflection of one of the characters helps focus the power of the response.
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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