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Monday, October 8, 2018

Writing - part x640, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Building Pathos in Scenes, Example

8 October 2018, Writing - part x640, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Building Pathos in Scenes, Example

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

To write a scene, we start with an input and develop an output.  Se have characters, a setting, and a known plot which is moving to a climax (telic flaw resolution).  We are looking at developing the middle part of the scene.  I am continuing with the idea of the setup for an example. 

In this example, I proposed we have a confrontation between the protagonist and the antagonist.  I also have a protagonist’s helper.  I wrote that we need to determine the level of confrontation that matches the plot and characters.  I also wrote that we should choose a level of confrontation that will lead to the highest entertainment in the scene.

What I will propose is to show you the scene between my protagonist, Azure Rose Wishart, and the antagonist, Mrs. Calloway.  The protagonist’s helper is Lachlann Calloway, the son of Mrs. Calloway.  The level of tension or confrontation in the scene is high, but not to fisticuffs.  I’m not a fan of that level of confrontation, but I want more normal levels of confrontation. 

In general, we see few bar fights or open fights at most parties—at least the parties I go to.  Perhaps you do go to these types of parties.  Most of the confrontation I have seen at high level, and most low level events is the level of controlled confrontation.  People are insulting each other and verbally attacking each other, but they usually aren’t throwing punches.  Throwing punches is a legitimate level of confrontation, but not usually at a party or event.  This is all dependent on the characters and setting.

The setting for the confrontation I want to describe and evaluate is a dinner party.  In fact, the setting is specifically a Christmas dinner party.  The participants are all high level members of the British intelligence system.  The protagonist is at odds with the intelligence structure.  The antagonist is a member of the system.  Lachlann Calloway is a military officer and courting Azure Rose. 

In addition, the setting is an opportunity for one of the intelligence organizations to meet with Azure.  What no one planned for was Mrs. Calloway’s involvement and that she would identify Azure Rose.  This is the set up. 

You can see, the protagonist has a reason for being at the party and a reason for the confrontation.  The antagonist has a reason for being at the party and a reason for the confrontation.  What level would be the best for entertainment and what level matches the intensity of the characters and setting? 

I like slow burns with snarky comments.  I like a level of realism.  This to me is entertaining.  I want to see the characters expressing their discontent through educated and creative ways.  This is the goal and the focus of the confrontation.  I should mention the input of the scene is the invitation to the Christmas party.  The output is the information passed to Azure Rose to further the plot.

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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