17 December 2018, Writing - part x710, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, more Protagonists Readers Like
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.
You must have a protagonist and an antagonist. You may have a protagonist’s helper. Then there are other characters. Let’s talk about characters in general and then specifically.
I’ve been writing about choosing and developing protagonists who are interesting and entertaining to your readers. Readers like characters who they can intellectually identify with. These are the characters who appeal to them. If there is no intellectual connection, there is usually no connection. We saw this by the many characters whom readers can’t share any or many characteristics, but the characters still appeal.
Readers also like characters they can feel empathy with. This may be more powerful than the intellectual connection, but that’s up for debate. The best you can do is appeal to both the readers’ intellectual and empathy with your characters. Just what is empathy?
In the simplest sense it is the feelings experienced during basic life events or expected to experience during life events. For example, falling in love. Most adults have fallen in love. The concept energizes the empathy of the experience. Most young adults want to fall in love. The thought of the concept energizes the empathy of the experience. Readers don’t have to have experience of the characters in how they fall in love, but rather that they fall in love. The empathy drives and draws the reader.
You can see this type of empathy in all kinds of emotional experience and writing. For example, pick any human emotion. Properly managed, a good author can apply that emotion to a character and cause empathy. Improperly managed, or inappropriate emotion and response can alienate your readers and definitely kick them out of the suspension of disbelief.
One of my favorite examples of this is from the Harry Potty novels. When Harry is having his mental issues, he just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s a page skipping moment because I don’t care about the incoherent mental moaning of an adolescent. I just want him to man up and act like the protagonist he is supposed to be. I suspect the author’s editor asked then to include some adolescent angst. Well, that isn’t so bad an idea. We all experience adolescent angst, the problem is how you portray it. If the result is that the character irritate, antagonizes, and alienates his or her friends, it will likely irritate, antagonist, and alienate the readers. This is what you never want to do. A novel marches to the telic flaw resolution. It is okay to have setbacks and issues so the protagonist moves back from the resolution, but the problem is how to show that.
The biggest problem for the Harry Potty issue is that the author tells way too much. Plus, Harry isn’t really a very likable character. He is a coward, an ingrate, and uses nasty stuff against his enemies while reviling his enemies for being nasty. I’m not here to bash Harry, I want to point out why he is so disappointing in some of the novels.
How to portray adolescent angst. I don’t. I write adult novels. This kind of teenage stuff doesn’t appeal to adults or kids. If there is any, it isn’t in my protagonist, and it isn’t portrayed as good. I do have some teenaged characters in my novels who act out, but I simply show their actions and the adult around them show their reactions. Usually, the silly child is either asked or made to leave. Not that you can’t portray it, but is this really the proper type of emotion to try to develop empathy for?
Enough of this. I hope you get it. Readers want to empathize with your characters. The best appeal is to their emotional experience. However, there is another type of emotional appeal. This is an appeal to pure pathos.
Many times readers may not have experienced the full emotions of the loss of parents, siblings, wealth, position, or the seedier side of life: poverty, abuse, bullying, hunger, homelessness, and all. These are very powerful experiences that will both interest and entertain the reader through empathy and not so much through experience.
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