30 December 2018, Writing - part x723, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, The Sixth 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 Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. I don’t think I’ve ever given this to you.
The next day began proper preparations for Christmas at Rosewood. Mr. Calloway left for work, while Seumas, Stewart, Flora, and Lachlann under the supervision of Mrs. Lamport, their cook, began to put up Christmas decorations. No one bothered Deirdre or Sorcha. After breakfast, Mrs. Calloway asked, “Sorcha and Deirdre, would you like to help decorate the house?”
Deirdre rubbed her nose, “I was kind of hoping we would be included.”
Mrs. Calloway turned her head slightly and gave them a rueful glance, “Why don’t you both go see how you can assist Mrs. Lamport.”
The boys put up the tree and brought the larger decorations and boxes of decorations from the attic. Deirdre and Sorcha found themselves along with Flora trimming the tree. Stewart and Seumas had already strung the lights. The ladies began putting on the ornaments. Flora was mostly quiet until Mrs. Lamport left to start lunch. Flora grumbled, “I really can’t fathom how you could get a boyfriend before me.”
Deirdre ignored her.
Flora hung a white sparkly star on the tree, “I really want to meet this young man.”
Sorcha put in, “He’s very nice.”
“Is he, now?” Flora eyed Deirdre, “How far have you gotten with this young man?”
Sorcha grinned, “She kissed his cheek when he asked her to the Annual Ball.”
Flora was hoping for more than that, “Pity she didn’t bungle it and give him a full lip lock.”
Deirdre was smiling.
Flora chewed her lip, “Just don’t let it go too far. Father doesn’t say much about Sveta’s wooing, but I know that was a disaster. No scandal, but a disaster. We don’t need another disaster or a scandal.”
Deirdre glanced at her from the sides of her eyes, “Why a disaster? They married. I like Danny very much.”
“Because Sveta was fourteen at the beginning and sixteen when they married.”
Deirdre flipped her hand, “She was already in Oxford at the time, and graduated in short order.”
Sorcha mouthed, wow, then spoke it, “Wow. I’d like to meet your sister, Sveta. I didn’t think anyone could be that smart.”
Flora hung another ornament, “She wasn’t much smarter than the rest of us—except for D. D’s the slowest of us all. Mother has just put all of us on a short leash and made us move more slowly with increased study.”
Sorcha answered, “I don’t think Deirdre’s slow. Her French and Gaelic are wonderful.”
Flora got in her face, her eyes wide, “Do you speak Gaelic?”
Sorcha stuttered, “A bit.”
Deirdre hung some tinsel on the tree, “She speaks it as well as we do.”
Flora stepped back and cupped her chin, “Very interesting. You need to read her in a little D.”
Deirdre sighed, “I hadn’t even thought about that.”
Sorcha moved closer to her, “About what?”
Deirdre smiled, “Since you are most likely going to be an important member of our family, I need to let you in on some things.”
Sorcha stared at her.
Flora stared at her, “What do you mean a member of our family?”
“Mother told the Queen that Sorcha is now her ward.”
Flora looked Sorcha up and down, “What’s so special about her?”
Deirdre gave a great smile, “She’s my dear friend.”
Flora rolled her eyes, “I’ll tell her. Listen Sorcha. In this family, we do languages. The basics for us are English, French, and Gaelic. We don’t tell anyone else this. If they know this about you because you are studying a language with them…”
Sorcha asked, “You mean like Deirdre and French at school.”
“Yes, exactly like that. If they know you are studying a language, in school, for example, then you may share that with others. Most of the time, we don’t let anyone know our language skills. Since you are somewhat of a part of this family, don’t tell anyone the languages we might speak. If you hear someone speaking a language other than English or French around here keep it under wraps—don’t tell anyone about it.”
Flora frowned, “The short answer is to protect yourself and others. The long answer, well, I’m not sure how much I should tell you beyond that.”
Deirdre winked at Sorcha, “You don’t need to tell her much else. I’m sure mother or father will give her the low down when that’s necessary.”
Flora glared at Deirdre, “You, just make sure she doesn’t compromise us.”
Mrs. Lamport called in a mother’s voice loud enough to be heard up on the second floor, “All my little and big lambs. Tis time for dinner.”
The house was large, but the gentlemen must have been expecting the call, they came rushing down the stairs. Lachlann led his brothers by a good ten feet. Deirdre and Sorcha sauntered to the dining room. Flora almost caught them. The boys were impatient, but they had to wait for their mother anyway.
Deirdre and Sorcha again sat across from the boys. Flora and Luna joined them. Mrs. Calloway entered from the sunroom and sat in her usual place. The moment Mrs. Calloway sat, she intoned a prayer. They all crossed themselves, and Mrs. Lamport began serving the dinner of soup, salad, cold roast, and bread.
When everyone was served, Mrs. Calloway gained their attention, “Everyone. I have an important announcement to make. Your father and I have agreed to accept Ms. Weir as our ward. This means she will have equal privilege in our household. You will not put upon her and you will all treat her with kindness.”
Flora quipped, “Does that mean we may verbally abuse her?”
Mrs. Calloway’s brow rose, “Deirdre may defend her friend and new sister as she thinks fit.”
Flora rolled her eyes, “That’s a bit of a downer.”
Stewart asked, “Are we trading her for D? If so, I’m in.”
Mrs. Calloway laughed, “I may trade her for you if you don’t bring back a first next semester.”
Stewart grimaced and looked back at his own plate.
Lachlann leaned on his elbow, “If she’s a sister now does that mean I can’t ask her to the Annual Ball next year?”
Seumas, Stewart, Luna, Flora, Sorcha, Deirdre and Mrs. Calloway stared at him.
Seumas remarked, “Well, I will say for a squirt, he has good taste.”
Deirdre wrinkled her nose, “You’ll have to ask her yourself. I suspect you will be competing with Mr. Fletcher and perhaps a few others.”
Sorcha smiled very pleasantly, “I’ll take your invitation into consideration, but I may be previously occupied at the time.”
Deirdre smirked, “Perhaps you could take Flora. She doesn’t have any prospects at the moment.”
Flora gave Deirdre a look of total hurt and anger. Then she laughed, “All right. All right, you win. That was very well played. If I don’t find anyone, Lachlann might have to be my escort.”
Lachlann started to say something, but Flora held up her hand, “Right, Lachlann, don’t say it. You’ll need to ask one of the Wycombe girls—I’m not officially in the running.”
Lachlann mumbled, “I wouldn’t take you anyway.”
Dinner progressed without any other hiccups. At the end, the girls and Luna returned to the tree. A ring on the bell announced a guest, and a few minutes later Herbert brought in a large older man dressed in a suit with a priest’s collar. The man was tall and broad. He looked more like a construction worker than a churchman.
Herbert announced, “Father Malloy to visit Ms. Deirdre Calloway.”
Everyone raised their hand in greeting, “Hello Father Malloy.”
Deirdre ran over. She tugged Sorcha with her, “Father Malloy. This is my very good friend, Ms. Sorcha Weir.”
Sorcha put out her hand and Father Malloy took it in his large maw, “You must be the young woman, Seasaìdh was talking about. She was very happy and very sad about you.”
Sorcha cocked her head, “Happy and sad?”
“You should speak to her about it. She was very happy and very sad. I’m not exactly sure why, but she had nothing but nice things to say about you.”
Father Malloy finally let go of her hand, “I’m glad to also meet you, but I didn’t come just for that… Deirdre,” he purred.
He handed a folio of music to her, “Dear Deirdre, we’re presenting part one of the Messiah before Christmas. When I heard from your mother that you were home for the holidays, I knew you would save us.”
“I know you might be a little put out, but my primary soprano, Mrs. Gooding, can’t make it. She just received another offer for a professional performance on the same afternoon as our performance.” He grimaced, “At a rate I couldn’t match.”
Deirdre held the folio between two fingers as if she didn’t want to even touch it, “What do you want from me?”
Father Malloy put his hands together, “I know you really don’t like it much anymore, but you’ve done it before for our church. Would you please, and I’m begging you, please, sing the soprano parts. You don’t need to do the choruses if you don’t want to, but I have absolutely no one of your quality to sing the solos. I’ll even provide tickets for your friends and pay you the amount I was going to remunerate Mrs. Gooding. I’d pay more, but I can’t afford it. She was giving me a very good rate.”
Flora sneered, “Father, you are negotiating against yourself. Don’t keep heaping on.”
“Right. Please, Deirdre.”
Deirdre looked everywhere except at the priest, “I didn’t intend to do anything like this.”
Sorcha smiled, “I didn’t know you could sing that well Deirdre.”
Deirdre gave her a look.
Flora pounced, “She doesn’t want anyone to know. She could be a diva. She could be singing on a professional stage. She won’t, and our poor priest has to come begging her to provide a little light to our community at Christmas.”
Luna griped, “That’s enough Flora. Deirdre’s not to be badgered about this—that was part of the agreement.”
Sorcha looked confused, “Agreement. Badgered. If you can sing that well, Deirdre, I think you should do it.”
Deirdre put her head down, “If I do sing, you won’t think I’m a wimp or anything. Will you?”
Flora grinned like a jack-o-lantern, “That’s the rub, they all said she was a wimp and a pansy when she sang. That always set her off.”
Deirdre closed her fist, “You’re about to set me off, Flora Calloway.”
Flora put her hands up, “The truce, remember?”
Father Malloy took Deirdre’s hands, “I would never ask you except that I don’t have anyone else to ask. If you don’t come to my rescue, I’ll have to cut the performance short or cancel it altogether. I might be able to pull a little bit more from the offering box to pay you. It’s supposed to go to the widow and orphan’s relief fund.”
Deirdre put her face in her hands, “You don’t need to take money from the relief fund--I’ll sing it.”
“Ah. Thank God. Thank you Deirdre.” He pulled her into his huge arms and gave her an enormous hug, “You’ve saved us again this Christmas.” Father Malloy let her go, “Now I need to greet your mother and thank her too. You’ll find the practice schedule in the music. There’s only two to go, but I know you have the music down cold.” He gave a nod to Sorcha, “Nice to meet you Ms. Weir.”
Then he was gone, along with Herbert.
Sorcha couldn’t keep herself from exclaiming, “What a remarkable experience.”
Flora cautiously chose her words, “Let me see. I’ll bet D didn’t tell you all the things she is really good at.”
Luna snapped her fingers, “Flora—shut it.”
Sorcha glanced at Deirdre. She already had a thousand questions.
After supper, Deirdre and Sorcha went up to their room, actually Deirdre’s old room. Sorcha roamed around it admiring the hand-painted oils and watercolors. She examined the floral works of art on Deirdre’s shelves. Finally, she came back to the bed where Deirdre was studying the musical score. Sorcha sat right beside her, “Spill it. Spill every bit of it.”
Deirdre glanced up in annoyance, “It’s embarrassing to me.”
“I spilled my guts to you in front of the Queen, your mother, and Luna. It’s your turn for me. If you don’t tell me, I’ll ask Flora.”
Deirdre snarled, “Don’t ask Flora anything. You can’t trust a word that comes out of her mouth.”
“Then you tell me. I’ll let you know how much I’ve already guessed. First, I thought these were professional paintings. They are, but you did them—didn’t you. You painted every one of them.”
Deirdre hung her head, “Yes.”
“Second, you sing like a professional. The people at our table during the formal were looking at you because your voice is so perfect and strong.”
“Third, you must be a dancer too. You painted so many dancers and singers.”
Sorcha grabbed the sides of Deirdre’s face, “What is the big deal you stupid toff. You are so gifted, but you act like your skills are nothing. I wish I was so gifted.”
Deirdre threw down the folio, “It might seem like a gift to you. I thought it was a gift too. It felt like a gift until every kid and all my siblings started making fun of me about it. I’m sure it was jealousy, but they acted like artistic skills would be useless to someone in our family.”
Sorcha retorted, “Why in your family?”
Deirdre looked away, “It’s what we do.”
“What do you do, Miss artist?”
“I can’t say. Mother might tell you sometime. Let’s just say, I’d like to use my skills in the family business. You can see what those mostly are: languages, administration…plus add to that: fighting, shooting, fencing, and sneaking. There isn’t much room for singing, dancing, and artist.”
Sorcha looked at Deirdre from under her brows, “What if you needed a sneaky singer?”
“Yeah, mother and father told me that. When you are a little younger, completely unsure about yourself, without a single friend, and every kid around you tells you the opposite…”
Sorcha’s face smoothed, “I see also, why you didn’t have any friends.”
Deirdre picked up the folio, “Yeah, you get it. When you are accomplishing singing, dancing, and art work at a certain level, there are no children around you at all. My brothers and my sisters are somewhat normal. They can speak and work with all kinds of people their age and older. What happens when you get pitched into a world only made up of adults? You either bow to the inevitable, or you rebel. I rebelled, and that’s how I arrived at Wycombe.”
“I thought you beat up a bunch of kids.”
“I did. I beat the living snot out of them—more than once and including my brothers and sister. That’s why my brothers and my sister are cautious around me. Something about the strength and skills of a dancer makes you a great fighter.”
Sorcha took Deidre’s hands in hers, “I’m glad you’re singing this Christmas. I want to hear it, and I want to see what you can do with it.”
Deirdre let out a tentative smile.
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:
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic