3 February 2019, Writing - part x758, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, more Unique
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
Unique skills, powers, and learning are a characteristic of great protagonists. These skills, powers, and learning are something that sets the protagonist apart and appeals greatly to most readers. That’s why romantic characters are so popular both for readers and to readers. That is if you ask readers who their favorite characters are, they usually respond with a romantic character. If you ask a reader what their favorite novel it, they usually respond with a romantic novel. From this observation, we should attempt to use romantic characters and writing whenever possible. Let’s look at some.
Most modern novels and novels later than the Victorian Era are either romantic or have romantic characters or characteristics. That means we should be able to take almost any novel and especially romantic novel and see that type of character in it. So, what’s your favorite novel? I fancy science fiction and one of my favorites is Dune. Paul Atradies is the protagonist. Paul is a messiah-like character. He is uniquely the only man-child who survived the Gom Jabar and later the poison changing ceremony. There is your unique—and there’s more. He has powers and other skills that put him above the human norm. Paul is also interesting because he didn’t start as a common person, but the author brought him down to the level of zero to then make him hero. Great book. Great romantic novel and protagonist example.
Ayn Rand is one of my favorite authors. Her novels are very powerfully romantic. Let’s look at The Fountainhead. Howard Roark is the protagonist. Howard is portrayed as one of the greatest architects in the world—perhaps the best in the world. His skills as an architect and an artist are beyond those of almost anyone in the society and culture, but he will not compromise his ideals. You can see the concept of unique skills and learning along with other characteristics of the romantic character.
How about less literature and more popular. The Tom Clancy novels present Jack Ryan, the consummate spy who isn’t a spy at all. Jack is almost the alter ego of Mr. Clancy—except instead of living vicariously through novels, Jack actually puts his knowledge to the service of the USA. I’m not knocking Mr. Clancy only pointing out that the romantic character has special skills and the novel makes his skills, learning, or powers the most important in the world, society, or culture.
We can continue this all day. Where you won’t find this is normally in some literature or writing that isn’t supposed to be romantic at all. Usually, the novels you hated to read in school—just say’n.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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