4 February 2019, Writing - part x759, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, Pathos
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
Pathos…what is pathos, and why do we need it? Pathos may be the most important characteristic of any protagonist. I’ve written before, almost every comedy novel can be characterized as zero to hero, and every tragedy novel as hero to zero. This is not too great a generalization. We should probably dig deeper into this.
First, a comedy is a work where the protagonist overcomes the telic flaw of the plot. A tragedy is a work where the protagonist is overcome by the telic flaw. The telic flaw is the Greek term for the plot problem. The plot problem is the problem that must be resolved by the climax of the novel. Look above for the five parts of a novel. They are embedded in the steps I use to write a novel. All great novels follow this format. With this in mind, all novels must have a climax. All novels have a telic flaw, a problem that must be resolved. It doesn’t necessarily need to be solved, but it must be resolved. For example, there are situations and novels where the problem can’t be solved, it must be resolved. A novel where two people have relationship problems. There usually isn’t a solution to relationship or other complex problems in real life, and there aren’t solutions in novel (or there shouldn’t be). The best we can hope for is a resolution. Most of the time people don’t drop every pretense, thought, or idea to suddenly agree with the other person. A solution is where the problem goes away—a resolution is where the problem is worked out. The problem hasn’t gone away, but it has been resolved—for a great climax, resolved in a way that makes the participants happy, the readers happy, and completes the novel (resolves the telic flaw. What does this have to do with zero to hero?
The plot/theme/concept behind almost every work of art by any writer is that the protagonist either goes from zero to hero or from hero to zero. This is true of almost any written piece of fiction. How to prove/explain this. Any novel you look at has this basic idea. Take Oliver Twist. Oliver begins at a zero. He is impoverished and unwanted. His background is as a gentleman, but his position, at the beginning, is as a common peasant. At the end, he is the hero. Perhaps hero is too broad a term, but then again, perhaps not. In A Little Princess, Sara Crew starts as a gentlewoman of means. Her father dies, and she becomes an impoverished kitchen slave. At the end of the novel, she has regained her position, and she is a hero. In Star Bores, Luke starts as a dirt farmer. He ends as the hero of the revolution. In Harry Potty, Harry starts as the abused child under the stairs. In the end, of every novel, he is the hero of the day, week, month, and forever messiah. Every novel has this motif.
Therefore, our protagonist will need to either start as a zero or be brought to the zero state. This zero state induces pathos. I’ll explain more tomorrow.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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