10 February 2019, Writing - part x765, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, Individualistic
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
Individualistic is a critical characteristic of a romantic protagonist. Although we value people who are team players who can work well with others, this isn’t the kinds of people we want to read about, and who we really care about. The kinds of people we admire are not those who play along to get along, we want to read about characters who work outside the norm and who express themselves as individuals. We want to be successful in real life together, but we would really like to be able to do it all ourselves.
Many people actually believe they can accomplish anything—as they age and move forward in life, they realize they are fooling themselves, although they would never tell you that. Why are people like that? I think it has to do with the idealism of romanticism and the rejection of Victorianism.
Victorianism started it, but existentialism and evangelicalism really caused it to blossom. What I’m talking about is the idea of the individual. In the past, salvation, culture, and society was viewed almost universally as communal and united in thought. Existentialism bred evangelistic thought. Under evangelism and existentialism the individual became responsible individually for their own salvation. Under existentialism, the individual became responsible for everything. Almost every modern idea such as capitalism, objectivism, self-sufficiency, individualism, privacy, and self-determination came directly out of existentialism as applied in evangelical thought. Evangelical thought brought existentialism into the main community of people basically through religion.
We quickly saw all major Christian religions accepting evangelical thought within fifty years of the advent of romanticism. Catholics have their cursillo movement and so do Anglicans—they might as not, cursillo ideas have permeated their churches. Most other mainstream Christians renamed themselves evangelical to identify the fact they have come to a similar existential conclusion. That existential conclusion is that each person is individually responsible for accepting salvation and for their own spiritual growth. We find this to be self-evident, but it is not. This is an entire way of thinking about the world that came out of romanticism. Or rather, we should state that romanticism came out of existentialism and then evangelicalism.
With this background, I think we can state with authority that we all live under the expectation of individualism. We just realize that in the real world individualism only goes so far. Our lives completely revolve around the idea of the individual and individual thoughts and thinking. Even those who have few ties to religion recognize this philosophy of the individual and claim it as a sovereign right—for example, to be an atheist. There is much more to this. Individualism is the main part of the character of modern protagonists and modern life. Societies and cultures are likely fooling themselves, but they are all based on the idea of the individual—it is intrinsic to our society, but thinks may be changing.
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