27 December 2018, Writing - part x720, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, The Third 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.
When Sorcha and Deirdre returned to their table, everyone quieted and stared at Sorcha. Chris and Tim stood for them. Chris pulled back the chair for Deirdre. Tim started to pull back the chair for Sorcha--the one next to Deirdre. Sorcha touched his arm, “You may seat me properly.” She pointed to her original chair.
Tim smiled and held it for her.
Sorcha glanced around the table. She finished with her look by resting it in Tim’s eyes, “I would like to apologize to everyone. I’ve been feeling under the weather tonight, and I’ve made the evening unpleasant for everyone. I do apologize. I’m sorry.”
Tim and everyone else around the table began to gently protest.
Sorcha raised her head in a very dignified manner, “You don’t need to overlook my unpleasantness. I’m slightly overwhelmed about being seated at such an august table, one with such grand gentlemen and esteemed guests.”
Everyone started to politely protest again. Tim took her hand and spoke to her. Deirdre wanted to eavesdrop on what he said, but Chris claimed her attention, “Is everything all right now?”
Deirdre whispered to him, “No. Nothing is right at the moment, and I’m afraid it’s all my fault. Don’t ask why. I can’t tell you, and don’t worry—I won’t become emotional at the moment, but I may have lost my best friend.”
Chris took her hand. He held it in silence until the bells announced the end of the break and the return of the head table.
Except for the Headmaster, Sir Eric Anderson, the members of the head table sat. He tapped his glass again, “Ladies and Gentlemen, you may be seated.”
Everyone sat. Sorcha appeared somewhat herself. Deirdre couldn’t hold her own back straight—she leaned forward slightly. She garnered a few ugly looks from around the table, and finally, slowly sat up straight.
The Headmaster continued, “As is our tradition, we announce our schools’ top award winners during this event. The ladies are always first, because they are our special guests. To announce the awards for Wycombe Abbey I give you Judith Mary Goodland, Headmistress.”
The Headmaster held her chair, and the woman beside him stood. She pulled out a piece of paper and moved around the front of the head table. An instructor, the vice headmistress moved forward with a handful of blue folders.
The headmistress began with the upper sixth form and moved down the list to the ninth level. That was the youngest allowed to attend the Annual Ball. She announced the top girls for each class and level. With the announcement of each girl’s name, they moved from the front tables to accept a blue folder from the vice headmistress. At the end of each class and level, she also announced the girls who had made first in athletic competition. During the announcements, ragged cries of encouragement, congratulations, and applause peppered the conclave as each girl stood to accept her award.
When she arrived at level ten, the room seemed to still. Or at least Deirdre thought it did. The headmistress paused and glanced at her list more than once. Her face showed an obvious perplexity. She cleared her throat, “I have the distinct honor of announcing the name of a young woman who is entirely unfamiliar to me. In the tenth level, the top honor for grades in this semester goes to Ms. Sorcha Weir. Ms. Weir please step forward to receive your award. I would very much like to make your acquaintance.”
Sorcha shuffled at her place. Every eye at their table turned to her. She let out a great sigh. Tim stood beside her seat. He was beaming. She stood a little slowly but moved around their table and to the front. When she arrived before the Headmistress, Ms. Goodland took her hand and held it fast. Sorcha raised her eyes to the lady. The vice headmistress tried to hand the award folder to Sorcha and the Headmistress. They both ignored her. The Headmistress studied Sorcha for a long moment then stated, “In addition to top student in this semester, Ms. Weir also has the distinct honor of being the first in shooting in pistol with Eton’s competition team and the first in foil for Wycombe’s fencing team.” She squinted at Sorcha as if trying to resolve some inconsistency within her own mind, “What an interesting girl.”
The Headmaster stood and called, “Gentlemen of Eton. It is a rare event that a young and beautiful woman would compete and beat us at our own sport. I would like to add my congratulations to Ms. Weir. Top in her class and top in pistols and foil.”
The Provost Marshall stood, “Headmaster. Is it out of place to offer a toast to Ms. Weir?”
The Headmaster nodded, “Indeed. I would like to offer her a toast on her own, that would certainly put you young gentlemen in your places.”
The Headmaster continued, “We will instead offer a toast to all these honored woman when their awards are complete. Just don’t forget, lads, the level of competition these ladies represent.”
The Provost Marshall returned to his seat, and the Headmaster sat.
While this was going on, Sorcha couldn’t enjoy it. The Headmistress and the vice headmistress were whispering to her.
Sorcha kept her eyes and back straight. She accepted the three folders one white with the Eton seal on it, the other two in Wycombe’s blue and seal.
When she returned to her chair, she smiled at the table and scowled at Deirdre.
Everyone congratulated her.
The headmistress was continuing with the athletic awards for tenth. She called out, “Ms. Deirdre Calloway.”
Chris rose and helped Deirdre with her chair. She moved up to the front.
Ms. Goodland stared just as oddly at Deirdre, “Ms. Calloway I never expected to see you up here. This is almost as surprising to me as greeting Ms. Weir.” More loudly, she proclaimed, “Ms. Calloway has taken the first in fencing saber for Wycombe and I must add a third in shooting pistol for Eaton. We usually don’t acknowledge a third in these proceedings, but I couldn’t help but rub it in to our honored hosts. Headmaster, your gentlemen should use caution. Our ladies are becoming adroit in the martial arts of which you are so proud.”
The Headmaster led the applause and cheers erupted from the Eton gentlemen. He laughed, “Well said and warning taken, Headmistress.”
She shook Deirdre’s hand and whispered to her, “Really, you amaze me, Ms. Calloway. Your mother will be proud. She led me to believe you would be one of my problem children. I doubly honor you.”
Deidre wasn’t used to any of this type of attention. She liked it. She bobbed her head, “Thank you, ma’am.”
The Headmistress didn’t let go of her hand, “Please continue in this exemplary manner. It would delight me and many others.” She handed Deirdre a blue Wycombe and a white Eton folder and finally let her loose.
Deirdre walked back to her seat puzzling over just what the Headmistress could have meant.
When she arrived back at her table, Chris smiled broadly. Sorcha still scowled at her. The table watched her with slightly guarded expressions, but also offered congratulations.
The Headmistress finished announcing the awards for Wycombe.
The Provost Marshall stood, “Headmaster.”
The Headmaster stood, “Yes, Mr. Provost Marshall.”
“A toast sir to the woman of Wycombe honored here today with these awards. I would still like to add a special province for those who compete with Eton—Ms. Weir and Ms. Calloway.”
Everyone stood. Deirdre and Sorcha along with the other award winners didn’t touch their glasses.
“Here, here.” The gentlemen gave a rousing cheer. Deirdre thought she could hear them calling Sorcha’s name or at least Ms. Weir along with their shouts and applause.
Tim groused, “Now I’ll have more completion for your affections, Sorcha.”
Sorcha laughed, which was completely unexpected.
Deirdre hoped that meant Sorcha felt somewhat mollified or at least reconciled.
The Headmistress moved back to her place at the head table and the Headmaster began to announce the awards for Eton.
Chris and Tim were both acknowledged for fencing.
When the final toast was complete, the Headmaster stood, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for your indulgence during the last few minutes as we acknowledged our top students. Now we will move to the event you have all been waiting for. Conductor, play us a middling tune to allow our older attendees a chance to dance comfortably before you move on to those modern pieces our students enjoy so much.” He tapped his glass again, “Mr. Provost Marshall.”
“Headmaster. I proclaim the mess to be at an end and the dancing festivities to begin.”
“Very well, Mr. Provost Marshall. Give me a moment to clear the head table and we shall dance.”
The other members of the head table stood and moved off to the dance floor.
When the head table was clear. Almost every young man at the front tables had to come greet Sorcha. That was slightly unexpected. What was more unexpected was when the Headmaster and his wife stepped up to their table. Sorcha stood next to Tim holding on to his arm for dear life. Deirdre stood next to Chris.
The Headmaster went right for Sorcha, the gentlemen, except Tim and Chris parted in either direction. They quickly returned to their own dates for the evening.
The Headmaster held out his hand to Sorcha, “Ms. Weir, you have impressed me, and that’s difficult to do.”
Sorcha nodded, “Thank you, sir.”
He grinned at Deirdre, “You too, Ms. Calloway. I know your father. He will be so proud of you.”
Deirdre didn’t know how to respond. She didn’t think anyone had ever been proud of her before.
His look took the four of them in, “Is see you are being escorted by Mr. Fletcher and Mr. MacLeod. Take good care of these young women. I expect Eton to also win a first next year in pistols.” He laughed and headed to the dance floor where the Orchestra had started a gentle waltz.
Chris asked Deirdre, and Tim asked Sorcha, “Would you like to dance?”
Sorcha reluctantly and Deirdre very willingly took their gentleman’s hands and headed to the dance floor.
They both danced the night away. If Deirdre seemed caught up in thought most of the evening, Chris didn’t say anything. She did step on his toes a few times, but it wasn’t her fault. She knew very well how to dance.
Sorcha remained mostly quiet. Although Tim was able to engage her in limited conversation she didn’t say much at all.
Through the evening, nearly every student in Wycombe and Eton came to congratulate Sorcha.
The evening wasn’t a total bust. At the end, Deirdre and Chris kissed. It was quick and gentle, but also heady for Deirdre. She hoped it portended many more. She didn’t notice if Sorcha and Tim kissed.
At the completion of the dancing, Luna came with Elaina to return them to Wycombe. Deirdre and Sorcha sat silently in the back of the Triumph. Sorcha moved as far from Deirdre as she could. Elaina chatted about the evening. She was the top student in year eleven. Luna glanced oddly at Sorcha and Deirdre, but she didn’t say anything to them. They dropped Elaina off at the Isle of Shadow Teahouse and continued down Amersham Hill road to the school.
This is a piece from my novel, Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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