20 December 2018, Writing - part x713, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, still 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 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.
From the pathos setup for the Little Match Girl, we can take away a lot of information that allows us to develop these type of characters in our own writing.
I remarked on the first point—youth. If you ever wondered why youthful characters are more popular than aged characters in fiction—here is you answer. It isn’t age based bigotry, the reason is that youth provides necessary pathos and the empathy it brings. We expect those in their declining years to be wise, educated, knowledgeable, and successful. If they aren’t, we wonder what is wrong with them. This isn’t the fault of society, this is the fault of culture. We wonder how someone can squander years of living.
Youth is different. First, culturally, we recognize youth as learning. Even when the characters are romantic and wise beyond their years, youth provides this concept of learning that folds directly into the intellectual identity and appeal to readers. Second, youth needs protection. Not all youthful characters require protection, but children and youth do. The Little Match Girl shows us this directly, and childish or young characters are considered more vulnerable. Third, and this fits into the first, we are talking about coming of age with all its firsts. First love, first failure, and first experiences in general. These firsts are similar to all and appeal to all. Youth is a great archetype for a character and for these and many other reasons.
Female is culturally and actually in need of protection. I have had and continue to have female characters who are well trained in physical arts, think martial arts, but who appear helpless. This is a characteristic of women and females that men can’t project nearly as well. Whatever your views on the subject, women are on average physically weaker than men. This is the testosterone gap. The ability of women to appear helpless or in need of protection, makes them pathos developing characters and immediately provides empathy. The Little Match Girl is immediately pathos building because she is female and a child. That is not to say that every character should be female and a child, but for example, in my novel, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, although the Aos Si is a very dangerous being indeed, I chose to portray her as a youthful and naïve girl of fifteen. The Aos Si is historically and mythically a woman of indeterminate age, but by making her a youth, I automatically was able to build empathy and pathos. Likewise, the protagonist of my novel, Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer is a super math genius girl who looks and is youthful. I chose this character to immediately build pathos and empathy for my character both by the protagonist’s helper and in my readers.
Men and male characters do make great protagonists and characters, but it depends on the novel and plot. The male protagonist of my published novel, Aegypt, is a military officer. He is not pathos building at all. They reader instead empathizes with his power, knowledge, and frustration. This is a different approach altogether.
The example of the Little Match Girl provides even more sources for pathos and empathy. I’ll get to those next.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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