26 December 2018, Writing - part x719, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, The Second Day of Christmas
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.
Today, I’ll pass you a Christmas scene from one of my novels. Merry and Happy Christmas. Hope you enjoy.
Elaina, Sorcha, and Deirdre rode in Luna’s Triumph to the Annual Ball at Eton. Luna wore a designer gown of soft pink silk. It fit her perfectly and elegantly and made Deirdre wonder exactly why Luna was teaching girls at a boarding school. Luna looked like a princess who just stepped from a prince’s carriage even though they arrived in her old four-door Triumph.
When they entered the Eton formal dining hall, Chris and Tim immediately joined Deirdre and Sorcha beside the door. Elaina, by that time, was surrounded first by girls and then boys. Prefect Miller had to fight his way to escort her into the event.
The boys dressed in near military finery. The each wore a tuxedo of a military cut. It looked similar to the Eton school uniform. Deirdre thought Chris looked like a very dashing young man. She could barely take her eyes off him when he came to her gave a slight bow and took her arm. He slipped a pretty rose corsage on her wrist, “Deirdre, you look smashing tonight. Not that you don’t look smashing all the time.”
She could barely get her words out, “You look very handsome yourself.”
He beamed, “Allow me to escort you to our table.”
Deirdre placed her hand lightly on his proffered arm and they headed into the elegant Eton dining room. The men of Eton had outdone themselves. The room was ablaze with Christmas decorations and festive accouterments. The rectangular tables were each arranged for ten with white tablecloths and silver napkins. Crystal and china settings finished the tables and sophisticated handmade cards marked the places.
Chris led Deirdre to a table near the front of the ballroom. An orchestra played Christmas music and modern tunes. A large dance floor was at the side and back next to the orchestra. Chris sat Deirdre while Tim sat Sorcha just next to them. Tim and Chris were next to Deirdre then Sorcha. Prefect Miller was able to eventually extricate Elaina from the crowd at the front and they sat at a table near them.
Sorcha whispered to Deirdre across Tim, “I didn’t expect to sit this close to the front.”
Tim grinned, “Almost the best seat in the house.”
Deirdre noticed Lissa and Amanda much further toward the back of the room.
Sorcha glanced around then froze. She stood, “I’m sorry. I’m afraid I must go.”
The bells announcing dinner were already ringing.
The members of the head table began moving toward their positions.
Deirdre stood and ran to Sorcha, “You can’t go now. Sit quickly.”
Tim and Chris stood. They looked slightly embarrassed. The rest of the room, except the head table already filled their seats.
Sorcha pointed to the center of the table. Amongst the flowers and decorations a sign read: top grades and sports Wycombe Abbey level 10.
Sorcha grasped Deirdre, “I can’t sit here.” She whispered, “They’ll definitely find me out.”
Deirdre pressed her into her seat, “It’s too late now. It’s just a formal event—nothing more.”
Sorcha stared at her biting her lips. She sat heavily and put her face in her hands.
Deirdre rushed back to her seat.
Everyone at the table stared at Sorcha for a moment. The head table began moving to their positions. Everyone stood.
Tim tried valiantly to get Sorcha to look up. She wouldn’t.
Deirdre whispered to Tim, “Switch places with Sorcha, please.”
“That’s not the proper decorum…”
She glared, “Do it.”
Deirdre helped Sorcha move to the seat right next to her. No one seemed to notice, but scowls around the table indicated this indeed wasn’t the proper protocol. Deirdre took Sorcha’s hands, “Buck up. I’ll be right here with you.”
Sorcha voice trembled, “You don’t understand. This is the honors table. Honors for Wycombe. They’ll find me out for sure.”
Deirdre pressed her hands, “I’m with you to the end. They won’t cause any problems for you at dinner. I can assure you.”
Sorcha turned her a tearful look of desolation, but she nodded.
The scowls at their table continued for a moment, but things quieted as the head table marched to their positions.
Although he didn’t need to, the head master of Eton tapped his glass for attention. He was a tall man with a great head of grey hair. He wore a plain black tuxedo accoutered with a few medals and the sash, a Knight Companion of the Thistle, if Deirdre identified it properly. She thought his name was Sir Eric Anderson. His hands were large and long fingered. They moved elegantly but minimally as if to only punctuate his words. His strong voice filled the large room without any need of amplification, “Ladies and Gentlemen. I am pleased to welcome you all to the Eton and Wycombe Abbey Annual Ball. We will begin the evening with a presentation of the colors.” His voice increased slightly in depth, “Color guard, you may advance the colors.”
A group of four Eton students in military style garb over their tuxes marched from the back of the room. All the gentlemen came to attention. The color guard members at the front and the rear carried rifles. The one at the left in the center carried the British flag. The one on the right carried the Eton flag with the pendant for Wycombe Abbey at its peak. They marched in perfect step to the front and presented the flags. The orchestra began to play God Save the Queen. Everyone took up the song. Sorcha’s voice was filled with tears. Deirdre did her best to cover her friend’s affliction. At the end of the music, the color guard placed the flag at either side behind the head table and marched back to the rear of the room.
Also, at the end of the music, everyone at their table was staring at Deirdre. She didn’t want to imagine why.
Chris noticed and whispered, “You sing wonderfully, didn’t you realize?”
Deirdre shook her head. She had no desire to stand out at the moment.
The headmaster tapped his glass again, “Gentlemen, charge your and your lady’s glasses.”
Tim and Chris along with the other gentlemen at their table poured from the carafes at the table into the stemware.
An Eton student at the back of the room called in a loud voice, “Headmaster.”
“Yes, Mr. Provost Marshal.”
“I propose a toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.”
The headmaster raised his glass and everyone followed his gesture. Deirdre elbowed Sorcha. She raised her glass. Everyone called, “The Queen.”
They took a sip from their glasses. Deirdre noticed they drank white grape juice.
The Eton gentleman at the rear of the room, called again, “Headmaster.”
“Mr. Provost Marshal.”
“I propose a toast to our founder His Majesty, King Henry the Sixth.”
Everyone again raised their glasses and shouted, “Here, here.”
“Mr. Provost Marshal.”
“I propose a toast to our attending provost Sir Antony Acland.”
At the end of the head table, a thin middle-aged man in a military style mess dress, sash of a Knight of the Garter, and military decorations noticeably didn’t raise his glass. Deirdre guessed he was the provost of Eton College.
The Provost Marshal called again, “Headmaster.”
“Mr. Provost Marshal.”
“I propose a toast to the headmistress of Wycombe Abbey.”
The Headmaster raised his glass and turned to the woman next to him. She was definitely the headmistress. Deirdre recognized her. Not too tall, brunet, slightly pudgy, but still refined. She looked like many of her mother’s friends and acquaintances. Deirdre didn’t like her much at all. Everyone raised their glasses, “Here, here.” The headmistress, of course, didn’t toast herself.
The Provost Marshal continued, “Headmaster.”
“Mr. Provost Marshal.”
“I propose a toast to our honored guests, the women of Wycombe Abbey and their instructors.”
The gentlemen of Eton raised their glasses. Deirdre pushed Sorcha’s glass down. The gentlemen exclaimed, “Here, here.” Their response was more exuberant than absolutely necessary.
The Headmaster nodded, “Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served.”
They all sat. Deirdre had to elbow Sorcha again, “Sit down. It’s time for dinner, dear.”
Sorcha turned her a very discouraged look.
Deirdre hissed at her, “You’ll give up everything if you continue on this way. Buck up.”
Sorcha pressed her lips together. She let out a great sigh and tried to smile.
Deirdre wasn’t certain what dinner consisted of. She was so worried about Sorcha, she could barely keep up with the conversation or the event. There was salad followed by an entrée. Sorcha barely touched hers.
Tim tried to engage Sorcha in conversation. Chris valiantly attempted to speak to Deirdre. The dinner was a flop in every way.
Dessert came out, a chocolate tart. Sorcha still wasn’t eating or speaking. Only protocol kept her in her seat at all.
After dessert, the Headmaster stood, “Mr. Provost Marshal.”
“Headmaster. I propose a break of fifteen minutes so the ladies and gentlemen may refresh themselves.”
“Very good, Mr. Provost Marshal. We shall reconvene in our seats in fifteen minutes.”
The head table stood and marched off to the side.
Sorcha came immediately to her feet, “I’ve got to get out of here.”
Deirdre took her hand and dragged her to the back of the room. Tim and Chris tried to follow, but Deirdre waved them back, “We need to speak privately.”
The water closets were already full of women—no privacy there. Deirdre pulled Sorcha to as quiet a corner as she could find, “Sorcha. Sorcha, listen to me. Dinner has already been ruined.”
Sorcha gulped, “I know. I’ve been terrible, but they’ll announce the honors, and I’ll be discovered.”
“What do you mean, you’ll be discovered?”
“They announce the top students. I told you fencing would be the end of me. I was anonymous as a simple student. As an honored student, they’ll check my records. I have none.”
“Should you have tried to lose?”
Sorcha wrung her hands, “Yes. Yes, already. That’s just what I did all those other years. I stayed in the background. I tried to keep my grades near average. I didn’t stand out. You’ve ruined me Deirdre Calloway. It’s your fault. I should have killed you while you slept. I had every opportunity. Why did I let you drag me into this? They never noticed when I didn’t show for this formal or any other school event. They would never have noticed…except for what you’ve done to me.”
Deirdre put her arms around Sorcha, “Whatever happens. I shall defend you. It’s too late now for you to do anything except stand at the honors table and accept whatever they provide. If you leave now, what do you think will happen?”
“If I leave, they shall hunt me down.”
“I don’t think it will be quite like that.” Deirdre held her more tightly, “Calm yourself. We have two young gentlemen who asked us to this affair. They are pleasant, and they are good men.”
“They won’t be able to help me.”
“Perhaps no one can help you, but I will defend you.” Deirdre handed her a handkerchief.
Sorcha took it and wiped her eyes, “I blame you for everything. I do.”
“You may blame me until your dying day.” Deirdre tried to smile, “Blame me all you wish, but I’m still with you until the end.”
Sorcha stood tall. She squared her shoulders and led Deirdre back to their table.
This is a piece from my novel, Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. I’ll give you the rest of the scene tomorrow.
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