1 February 2019, Writing - part x756, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, Reading and Writing
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: Deirdre and Sorcha are redirected to French finishing school where they discover difficult mysteries, people, and events.
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.
To start a novel, I picture an initial scene. I may start from a protagonist or just launch into mental development of an initial scene. I get the idea for an initial scene from all kinds of sources. To help get the creative juices flowing, let’s look at the initial scene.
1. Meeting between the protagonist and the antagonist or the protagonist’s helper
2. Action point in the plot
3. Buildup to an exciting scene
4. Indirect introduction of the protagonist
The protagonist is the novel and the initial scene. If you look at the four basic types of initial scenes, you see the reflection of the protagonist in each one. If you noticed my examples yesterday, I expressed the scene idea, but none were completely independent of the protagonist. Indeed, in most cases, I get an idea with a protagonist. The protagonist is incomplete, but a sketch to begin with. You can start with a protagonist, but in my opinion, as we see above, the protagonist is never completely independent from the initial scene. As the ideas above imply, we can start with the characters, specifically the protagonist, antagonist or protagonist’s helper, and develop an initial scene.
If we start with a protagonist, we need some kind of guide. Here is a general guide for developing a modern protagonist. We’ll look at examples and explain the ideas.
1. Normal person (not wealthy, noble, or privileged)
2. Loves to read
3. Loves to learn
4. Unique skill(s), power(s) and/or learning
5. Pathos (poor, homeless, abused, friendless, ill)
6. Individualistic and independent
9. Naturally good
10. Rejection of the urban
11. Rejection of the modern
12. Appeal to the imagination
So, if we apply this list to a well-known protagonist, we should be able to see how it might work. I’ll use our best common model, Harry Potty.
What about Harry and reading and learning. In this regard, I hate Harry. I’m a reader. I also love to learn. Harry seems to not enjoy learning and he doesn’t seem to enjoy reading. He’s like all the nasty little children in the modern world who will never achieve anything because they are uneducated bores. Only Hermione seems to love to read, study, and learn. This is why I think Hermione would have made a better protagonist.
Look, let’s be very clear on this point. Experienced readers love to read. Most experienced readers love to learn. This is what set them apart in school and in real life. Most children whom we hope will learn to love reading are those we steer to the Harry Potty novels. Shazam, the protagonist isn’t a reader, he’s a blasted jock. Now, I don’t have anything against jocks, but the point of reading, for young readers, is to learn to love reading novels. The point of older readers is to see others who likewise love to read and learn. The hope of the future isn’t jocks, the hope of the future is jocks, and everyone else, who love to read and learn. Let’s put it this way—the jock who can barely read isn’t going to invent the next great cancer cure and isn’t going to be designing aircraft. They likely won’t be flying aircraft.
So, your readers are those who love to read, and most of them love to learn. I design protagonists who either love to read and learn or who become those who love to read and learn. Heidi is one of the great examples of this. In Heidi, Heidi is taught and told by Peter that it is impossible to learn to read. Heidi can’t learn to read until the Grandmother gives her an incentive. Once Heidi has the incentive, she learns to read, and she learns to love learning. Heidi then proceeds to inculcate Peter in learning to read and to at least put up with learning. Peter is slow, and that’s a subtheme in the beautiful Heidi novel—a much better and more productive subtheme than the intellectually crippled warlock that is Harry Potty. Heidi shows and encourages new readers to love reading and learning.
When we develop characters and especially protagonists, they don’t have to love to read or love to learn, we see that in Harry Potty, but love of reading and love of learning are themes and subthemes that make protagonists pop to any set of readers. Yes, yes, readers are diverse and a diverse set of beings, and appealing to non-readers is great, but highly unlikely. The chance of non-readers to be in a book store looking at books or on amazon looking at books is almost zero. You can appeal to non-readers all day—you won’t sell a single novel. Appealing to readers and learners is what might sell a novel.
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