5 January 2019, Writing - part x729, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, The Twelfth 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 the Christmas scene from Diana: Enchantment and the Maiden. Dana-ana is an era confused girl.
During Christmas vacation everyone spent a pleasant time together. Everything was obviously new to Dana. They set up a Christmas tree and decorated the house. They put presents under the tree. On the night before Christmas, they played card games and sang carols. Dana won a statistically improbable number of the games. Everyone unaccountably felt good about it afterwards—even the ultra competitive Gwen. After midnight, they all went to bed. In the morning, Byron and Dana were inexplicably gone. A note lay on the kitchen table.
Mom and Dad,
I’m taking Dana to her Christmas gift. It’s all she really wanted. We’ll be back after lunch.
Dr. Macintyre read the note over a couple of times, “He’s taking Dana to her Christmas gift. Whatever could that be?”
Gwen yawned, “Don’t worry, Dad. It’s nothing salacious. In fact, it’s really boring, but it is what Dana wanted—the only thing she asked for.”
“What on earth would she want?”
“I can’t tell you unless you promise to not say a word on pain of death.”
“I know all about it, but I am sworn to secrecy, and I would never do anything to hurt Dana. She’s my real sister.”
“Okay, we all swear not to let on that we know anything. Just tell us so we won’t worry.”
Gwen looked all around, “Nah, if I’ve learned anything from Dana, it’s that keeping your mouth shut is sometimes better than saying anything. Don’t worry about them. My big brother is being a great guy. If he wants to tell you later, then that’s his prerogative.”
Dana and Byron woke early on Christmas morning. Dana came downstairs fully dressed. Gwen pretended to be asleep the whole time. Actually, Dana was so quiet, Gwen didn’t think she would have awoken, except she had been watching for this. Byron waited for Dana on the second floor landing. They had dressed in their nice clothing. Dana had on the white and blue dress she wore to the winter dance. Byron wore his suit.
Byron and Dana went down the stairs and outside. She glanced up at him, “Are you certain we shouldn’t take the others with us? I wouldn’t want them to miss this. This is such a great gift to me.”
Byron shifted from foot to foot in embarrassment, “Don’t worry about it. They won’t notice.”
“That’s so sad,” she gazed back at the house.
Byron took her hand and gently led her to the car, “We don’t want to be late.”
Dana smiled up at him, “We certainly don’t want to be late.”
Byron drove them to Saint Joseph Cathedral. He felt a little uncomfortable, he had never been in a Catholic church before. They were early and few people were around. Dana just walked right in. Her eyes lit on the baptismal font, and she rushed over to it. She genuflected, prayed, and then touched the water and made the sign of the cross. The look on her face was worth any discomfort Byron felt. She appeared as though she gazed directly into the open heavens.
Byron stuck his hands in his pockets and followed her. Before she left the font, Dana turned and took Byron’s hands. She touched the water again and made the sign of the cross to bless him then she took his hand and pulled him right to the front of the church. In the aisle, without letting Byron go, she genuflected and slipped into the pew. She didn’t pull out the kneeler, but dropped to her knees on the bare stone floor and began to pray. She didn’t pray silently, she prayed in a heavy whisper. To Byron, it sounded like she spoke Anglo-Saxon, but he wasn’t certain. She prayed fervently until the Mass began.
Byron had tried to find a Latin Mass for Dana. He wasn’t sure if he was successful. He just picked the largest Catholic Church he could get and hoped it had what she wanted. The service began in what sounded like Latin. From the very first words and response, Dana didn’t leave her knees. She cried back a plaintive response to the priest as though it came directly from her heart. Byron thought she was very loud even though the cathedral was huge. He imagined, for certain, people watched them. He slunk down in the pew.
At the beginning of the Communion liturgy, tears began to flow down the sides of Dana’s face. At first Byron didn’t notice, but her responses, though still loud, were barely articulate. She lifted her hands together and gazed up at the crucifix at the front and large tears dropped down the sides of her face, across her chin, and fell to the stones at her knees. The tears didn’t stop. It was as though they wouldn’t stop, they couldn’t stop. When the service came to the actual communion, Dana jumped to her feet. She grabbed Byron’s hand and pulled him in her wake. She was the first at the communion rail. She crossed herself, knelt, and waited for the priest. The priest communed her with the bread and the deacon with the wine. Byron watched closely and tried to mimic what she had done. He was communed too. With a sigh, he stood, and Dana led him back to their seats.
Dana genuflected again and at her seat, went to her knees. She prayed until the communion ended. Her face this time was expectant. She stared at the top of the nave. Her eyes sought out the area above the altar, and Byron guessed she saw what she looked for because her face took on such an appearance of joy and relief, he could barely stand to gaze at her.
After the blessing and following the ending processional, everyone began to leave the sanctuary. Dana hung back as long as she could. She squeezed every moment she could out of their time. Finally, she stood. She slid out of the pew, genuflected, and began to walk slowly toward the back and the exit. She greeted the priest in Latin. He didn’t understand a word she said, so she changed quickly to English, “Thank you, father for that wonderful
” Christ Mass.
“You’re welcome…,” he paused in expectation.
“Dana. I am Dana-ana Goewyn.”
“Very good, Dana-ana Goewyn. I hope to see you here often.”
She didn’t bow her head, but her eyes filled, and she choked a little, “I’ll attend when my household allows me.”
Byron simply stated, “I’m with her.”
The priest nodded.
Outside, Dana took Byron’s hand. She tugged him along to the car. When they arrived, she pulled Byron into her arms and held him very close, “My dear brytnere, this is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me. Thank you so very, very much.” She fell to her knees on the wet, cold asphalt and kissed his hands. She held his hands against her cheeks, and Bryon could feel her tears on them.
Byron pulled her to her feet. He tried to be gentle about it, “You don’t have to be that way, Dana. I’ll take you every Sunday, if you wish.”
“Every Sunday. That would be such a blessing to me. Thank you. Thank you.” She threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.
Byron slowly put his arms around her and held her close. He whispered into her ear, “I’m certain, Dana, you don’t mean this the same way I would like you to.”
She kissed his cheek again, “Perhaps, I step out of my place as your meowle, but I am pleased you would deem me this important.”
Byron slowly let go of her. He didn’t want to, but he had to. His heart almost wanted to burst. He knew how much joy the service had brought her. He wished he could feel the same way about something like that. They entered the car, and Byron treated her to lunch at Jacob’s.
When they returned home, everything hit the fan. Byron opened to the door to the entire family. They were gathered in the parlor. Dana practically danced into the house. She put her hands up in the air, “I can’t ever remember a Christ Mass so wonderful as this.” She ran into the parlor and went to her knees before Dr. Macintyre, “Thank you, ealdorbiscop of my headlands. You made this all possible for me. I am so grateful.” Dana turned to Kristine and took her hands, “Thank you, preosta of my headlands. You have been like a mother and confessor to me.” She grasped Gwen’s hand, “Dear Gwendolyn, though you are the wigfreca cwen of my headlands, and I am only a meowle, you have always treated me with great kindness.” She stood and came close to Byron, “But what I really wanted to tell my household is that I think I desire the love of the brytnere of my headlands.”
“Since this is true, then I would ask the household not to betrothe him without my input. Although I am only a meowle in this house, there might be a time when I could aspire to be an ides.”
Dr. Macintyre cleared his throat, “Well yes, Dana, we are very pleased with you too.”
“About Byron…,” Kristine started.
Dana took her hands, “You need not worry, preosta. I shall not shirk any of my duties toward him. I shall not ask for any benefits or extra consideration in seeking his love or attention.”
“That’s good to know…” Kristine stammered.
Gwen whispered to Grandpa and Granma Mac, “That’s an Anglo-Saxon girlfriend. Kinda scary.”
They both nodded.
Dr. Macintyre continued, “The important thing is where were the both of you?”
Dana stood close enough to touch Byron. When Byron didn’t respond, she said, “He took me to Christ Mass and to eat a large steak.”
Dr. Macintyre covered his mouth, “Yes, that’s always the way to a girl’s heart. Why don’t you two join the family? We waited to open presents until you were here.”
“Open presents?” Dana asked.
Gwen came over and pulled Dana close to her, “I told you we give gifts.”
Dana hopped up, “I have mine for you upstairs. I’ll get them.”
She rushed up the stairs and came back with a lone sock. It was filled with something lumpy. She sat right next to Byron so her arm touched his.
Gwen placed the presents next to everyone to unwrap. They unwrapped them all at the same time. Afterward, Dana sat up and announced, “I did not wrap my presents. They are not worthy of such fine adornment. I found more than one purpose for the mate to the sock I lost.” She put her hand inside the sock and brought out a handful of crosses. They were each about two inches high by about one and a half inches wide and a quarter inch thick. They were hand carved and hand polished. The wood glowed like they each had been varnished. Dana handed one to everyone. When she gave them out everyone could not help but notice the marks on her fingers. Kristine took Dana’s hand when she gave her one of the small crosses, “Dana, did you cut your fingers while making these?”
“Many times. I had to sharpen and mount a piece of metal I found in the trash. The wood came from dead branches in the garden. I dried them for a long time before this. I wasn’t certain if you would need the wood for the making of something important, but I only took a little.”
The small crosses were beautiful. Kristine choked up, “Thank you, Dana. This is a wonderful gift.”
“It is the least I could do. You don’t have any crosses in your house. I was worried that no one had given you one before. You should carry them with you all the time to protect you and help you remember to whom you belong, the household of the Dagda.”
Gwen asked, “Do you also have a cross, Dana?”
“Oh, yes. I have one in my room to remind me during my waking and going to sleep.”
Gwen gave Byron a look he could not miss. He returned it with a smile.
They stayed in the parlor for a long time. Finally, Kristine, Dana, Gwen, and Granma Mac went into the kitchen to prepare Christmas dinner for everyone.
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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