29 December 2018, Writing - part x722, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, The Fifth 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.
For the Christmas Season, I guess I’m giving you scenes from my novels. Merry and Happy Christmas. Hope you enjoy. This is a Christmas scene from Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si. I don’t think I’ve ever given this to you.
In the afternoon, Essie and Leila walked into Lyonshall. Leila looked much older than her twelve years. Essie much younger than fifteen. At Essie’s recommendation, Leila tried to buy whisky, beer, and cigarettes—to tempt the fae. She couldn’t get them, so she bought a paperback of assorted poetry, playing cards, and a bag of candy. Essie assured her these would be acceptable for now.
They celebrated Christmas together. Essie, Mrs. Lyons and Leila all traveled to Essie’s concert on Saturday the 28th and for church in Monmouth and a concert on the 29th. They returned to the house in Lyonshall Sunday night in the black Bentley. On Monday, the post delivered a box of presents for Leila. It also included presents for Mrs. Lyons. The note in the box stated these belonged to Leila from under the tree at Hastings.
Monday began cold and rainy—Leila read to Essie and drew on a pad she seemed to bring out of thin air. The girls didn’t get back into the garden until Tuesday. Essie curled up on the stone in the center. Essie sat right beside her, “I have everything. Can you call one?”
Essie opened one eye, “Are you certain you want me to call one of the Unseelie?”
“Perhaps one who isn’t as dangerous as a Redcap.”
Essie made a little growling sound in her throat, “They are all as dangerous as the Redcap.”
“Then one who would enjoy one of my gifts.”
“Very well. They won’t harm you as long as I’m here.”
“Why don’t you call Morgan le Fey?”
“Morgan might be pleased to see me, but she would be very upset if I called her for no real reason.”
“I wish an introduction.”
Essie sat up, “Why an introduction to Morgan le Fey, and why the Unseelie?”
“You said it before. I am a girl of darkness. They are creatures of the dark…”
“Not so much dark as of the bleakness of the land—they can be a downer, especially in this season.”
“Then let’s give them presents and see what they think of that.”
“Very well. I didn’t mean to encourage this, but I’ll do it. I’ll call one who happens to be near.” Essie sat straight and made a clear call in a rough language.
They both heard heavy wingbeats, and a small woman with large butterfly or perhaps moth wings flew across the hedge of the garden. The creature was naked and perfectly formed. It appeared like a fully mature woman, but smaller than any grown woman Leila had ever seen. It looked smaller than Essie. The creature blinked at Leila. It covered itself with its wings and curtsied to Essie. It didn’t open its mouth, and it didn’t speak.
Essie introduced the creature, “Good afternoon, Morning Glory, this is my friend Leila. She wanted to make your acquaintance, and she wishes to give you a gift.”
Morning Glory kept her eyes carefully on Leila and gave a small curtsy.
Leila asked, “She looks very beautiful and pleasant. Why is she dangerous?”
Essie’s brow rose, “Morning Glory, I know it is an affront to your dignity, but will you show this child of darkness why you are dangerous?”
Morning Glory smiled without raising her lips, then she slowly opened her mouth. Leila started, and Essie grasped Essie’s hand. She whispered, “Don’t make a sound about it or I won’t be able to help you.”
Morning Glory possessed long very sharp needlelike teeth. They looked black as coal and a green froth dripped from their tips and suddenly down her chin.
Leila nodded, “Thank you, Ms. Morning Glory.”
At this, the creature snapped her mouth shut and turned them another grim smile.
Leila whispered, “What do you think she would like?”
Essie returned, “Offer her candy, but don’t touch her in any way.”
Leila reached across Essie and placed a small bag of hard candy on the stone, “This is a gift for the holidays to you Ms. Morning Glory. I hope it pleases you.”
Morning Glory curtsied again and grasped the bag from the stone. She eyed it a moment then opened it with her very deft hands. Leila noted her nails looked black and very sharp. The creature sliced open the bag as though it was a spider web. She turned away for a moment then back to them. Her cheek bugled with a piece of candy. She nodded toward Leila and gave her crisp lips-only smile.
Essie opened her hands, “Thank you for attending me, Morning Glory. You may go.” Essie began to sing. Morning Glory held her small bag of candy and opened her wings. She rose up into the air and was gone in a blink.
Leila asked, “What’s with the singing?”
Essie turned toward her, “That is my gift to my subjects. I sing the songs of the fae. They cannot sing praises to the Dagda, so I must sing for them. This is how they can approach Him, and this is how I bless them.”
“Is that why you are so good on the organ and with music?”
Essie grinned, “It is my calling and part of my place.”
“I see. Why was Morning Glory naked? My grandfather told me the Unseelie are repulsed by nakedness.”
“You must understand this, girl of darkness, the punishment meted out to the fae as angels who would not support or oppose the Dagda is a harsh thing for them. Morning Glory is beautiful, but she is poisonous, and she is naked. The Unseelie are repulsed by her nakedness, thus she must hide it with her wings. At the same time, she exults in her beauty. This is why she keeps her mouth and her wings shut, to hide her greatest ugliness and her greatest beauty.”
“That’s kind of sad.”
“It is very sad, but it is why I bless them and care for them—even if they imagine they are ugly.”
“Can you bring another one here?”
“Only one close by.” Essie raised her hands and called. The earth shook and through the hedges tramped a very large being. Leila gathered all her courage and clutched the stone not to run. The creature’s skin appeared gray and mottled—a little like stone. He wore ragged breeches and a brown flannel shirt. Essie extended her hand, “Thank you for coming Stonebreaker. May I introduce you to my friend, Leila. Leila, this is the troll, Stonebreaker.”
Stonebreaker bowed very nicely. His voice boomed through the quiet afternoon air in good British English, “Good afternoon, Your Grace. I’m please to make the acquaintance of your friend, Leila.”
Essie continued, “Leila has a gift for you.”
Leila put out her hand. She offered a deck of cards in their box to the troll, “Mr. Stonebreaker, here are some cards for the holidays.”
Stonebreaker took the cards gently from Leila’s hand, “Thank you.” He scratched his head, “I’ve not received such a fine gift before.”
Leila smiled, “It is my pleasure.”
Essie waved her hand, “Thank you for your time Stonebreaker. You may go.”
Stonebreaker didn’t move, “I would very much like a poem before I depart.”
Essie put her hands on her hips, “I was going to send you away with a song.”
“I usually get a poem—that is the way with trolls.”
Essie pouted, “A song is better.”
“But I can’t sing it, Your Grace. I can recite a poem.”
Leila opened her book of poetry. She read a poem very clearly to the troll.
Stonebreaker squatted. He closed his eyes and listened carefully. When Leila finished, he recited the poem back to them in his deep bass voice. He glanced at Leila to make sure he said it correctly. Leila nodded. He leaned back on his heels, “May I also receive a song?”
Essie nodded. She opened her mouth. Before she could sing, Leila tore the poem out of the paperback book. She handed the paper to the troll, “Mr. Stonebreaker, here is the poem. You may keep it with you so you can remember it.”
Stonebreaker took the piece of paper. It looked like a bit of confetti in his hand.
Essie sounded a little perturbed, “Are you quite ready, now?”
Stonebreaker nodded as did Leila.
Essie sang a sweet, gentle song and the troll disappeared.
Essie stood, “That’s enough for today. Trolls always want to negotiate for more and more. They are quite insufferable even when they are on their best behavior.”
Leila didn’t move, “Thank you Essie. I think I understand more about you than I did before. I have a question.”
Essie sat, “Is it my game again?”
“No, I just wish to ask your advice.”
“My advice. How can I advise you about anything?”
“I’ll tell you my secret.”
Essie curled up beside Leila, “I like secrets. I keep all kinds for many beings.”
“I want to make things.”
“Well, all kinds of things, but especially pistols.”
“Pistols for shooting?”
“Exactly. I want to learn to be an engineer and make pistols. I’ve already made a few. Aunt Tilly has one of them.”
“Why don’t you?”
“I’d like to go to your school first.”
Essie shook her head, “You can’t go to my school.”
Leila stood with her fists balled stiffly at her sides, “Why can’t I go to your school? I’m certain I can pass all the tests.”
“I’m sure you can too. I told you, I’m slow—stupid if you like. Aunt Tilly told me you are accomplishing sixth form work. Why don’t you carry out what you want to do right now?”
Leila tensed more, “To do that, I’d have to go to college at an engineering school.”
Leila suddenly deflated. She pressed her lips together and sat hard on the stone, “Why not? There’s a thousand reasons why not. My parents aren’t keen. My grandmother won’t be pleased. I would have to get into a school. I need money and sponsors. I look too young.”
Essie blinked, “What if I told you Aunt Tilly can get you an ID and papers. You seem good at running away. Why not run away to college. Do what you want, and what you know you can do.”
“What about money?”
“They have scholarships, don’t they? I have one. You can apply on your own—your parents don’t have to know about it.”
Leila looked all around Essie, “Where is the real Essie? Where’ve you hidden her? I thought Essie was one who always played by the rules.”
Essie laughed. It might have been the first time Leila heard her laugh, “I follow the rules of the Dagda. He didn’t make any such rules in life. He did say to obey your parents. That is in a certain covenant, but you are not part of those peoples. You fall under a different covenant. He still wants you to obey, but by the standards of my time, you are an adult—or close to one. Make up your mind, and do what you are called to do. If it is college, then go. I’m sure that will please you and Him above anything else.”
“You will really cause a problem with my grandmother.”
“Surely not more than I already have.”
“Are you sure Aunt Tilly will go along with this idea?”
“She has other secrets she is keeping for me. Shall we ask her?”
This is a fun novel that I hope is published soon.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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