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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Writing - part x712, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, more Empathy and Pathos

19 December 2018, Writing - part x712, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, more Empathy and 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:  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.

Perhaps the most powerful connection an author can make with a reader is that of pathos and empathy.  As I noted, I think this isn’t the only connection, but it is usually the  best emptional connection.

Take the Little Match Girl.  Here is a short story (fairytale so-called) where the protagonist is an impoverished, abused, and isolated child.  She has no education, no capability to read, and no capability to be an intellectual, but the author makes an immediate connection with the reader through pathos and empathy.  Every human knows to some degree hunger, cold, and numbing labor.  This is projected on the protagonist and relayed to the reader.  The reader absorbs the pathos and understands all too well the plight of the Little Match Girl.  The surprise is that this is a tragedy.

The question is how do we generate pathos that drives empathy in our readers?  The example is easily seen in the Little Match Girl.  I hate to tell you boys but women generate the most powerful pathos in both men and women.  Take it how you like, but a critical aspect of Western Civilization is the protection of those who are weaker physically.  Women as a whole are less strong than men.  Our culture and society is developed around the protection of others and especially the protection of those, both men, women, and children who are less able to protect themselves.  I can assure you, you don’t want to kill this concept in Western Civilization.  Imagine just for a moment what a culture would be like if might made right. 

In any case, the little match girl is a girl.  She is both a child and a female.  This is the being Western Civilization sees as the person who requires the greatest protection from harm for many reasons.  You could use a male or female child, but the author intentionally pushes the highest level pathos and empathy button by making her a girl. 

Further, she is an abused child and suffering.  Let’s look at each of these.  She is obviously abused.  Who sends a child out in the snow to sell matches?  The story doesn’t tell us, but it is a reflection of numerous similar longer novels about girls who are sent out to sell matches in this historical period.  Girls were disadvantaged in their strength and their ability to get other work.  Typically, during this period, girls could only work as street and entranceway cleaners or sell small objects like matches, flowers, or fruit on busy thoroughfares.  They bought the goods from the normal market and sold them dear in the street to busy travelers.  However, you can already see the pathos and empathy of the circumstance.  Girls alone on the street selling such goods promoted a feeling of pathos.  They were considered little better than beggars.  Their families that sent them out know the risk to the girls, but did so to take advantage of the circumstance.  That a family would send the Little Match Girl out on such a night indicates the level of abuse.  We find in the story that only her Grandmother seemed to really care about the Little Match Girl.  This further pushes the idea of abuse.

The Little Match Girl is suffering as well.  She is under clothed, cold, hungry, perhaps starving, and starving for compassion.  She has nothing and expects nothing. 

This is the pathos setup for the Little Match Girl.  We can take away a lot of information from this that allows us to develop these type of characters in our own writing.   

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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