10 December 2018, Writing - part x703, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, Protagonist’s Helper
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 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.
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: Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel? I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together. We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing.
The protagonist’s helper is an optional character in any novel, but I would offer that the protagonist’s helper may be the most important innovation in modern literature.
The reason for this comes out of the development of the novel. Novels started in English theoretically with Daniel Defoe and Robinson Caruso. Robinson Caruso was written in the first person past tense journalistic style implying the present. The journalistic style allowed the author to tell the mind of the protagonist, but that was telling. It was new and entertaining to its audiences, but readers wanted a more immersive experience. Literature developed into the third person past tense in a story centric style implying the present. The author could only show the mind of the protagonist through telling, showing actions, through conversation, journalistically, or through other intimate means.
The novel moved from the idea of story centric to a more immersive concept. The point of literature today became one of the suspension of disbelief. The author wants to place the reader in the novel and hold them in the novel. The novel becomes immersive and the presentation is showing and not telling.
If we wish to show and not tell, how do we show the mind of the protagonist? Authors found that telling the thoughts of the protagonist was a turnoff to many readers, and it just isn’t considered a good form for writing. You will find many young adult novels still follow the telling tract. Victorian novels were trying to cut away from telling. Novels in the twentieth century did achieve a strong degree of showing instead of telling. Back to the main point, what is the best way to show and not tell the mind of the protagonist?
It is always best to show the mind of the protagonist through their actions, but this isn’t always the most effective or immersive way to express the protagonist. You can’t easily express the mind of the protagonist just through showing—that is unless you have an intimate whom the protagonist can converse with about the depths of their heart and soul. This is what the protagonist’s helper is all about.
There are other perks as well. The protagonist’s helper can be a confidant, an associate, a friend, a lover, a foil, a rival, a drinking buddy, or a sidekick. This isn’t an all-inclusive list. The basic point of the protagonist’s helper is to provide a sounding board to the ideas of the protagonist. The sounding board can be direct or indirect, but that’s worth another discussion.
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