11 February 2019, Writing - part x766, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, more 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. 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.
We really aren’t seeing a change in the types of characters readers like, but we are seeing a change in the characters writers and movies are depicting. I’m not sure this is intentional or profitable. Authors usually write about the kinds of protagonists they like. The assumption is that if the author likes the protagonist, the readers will like the protagonists. I’m seeing more and more protagonists and characters that nobody could like. A great example is Harry Potty, but there are many more young adult characters that not even a mother could like. Perhaps this is the way of the modern weakling, but that’s where we are going.
Most of these characters are certainly individualistic, but in many cases, they are cowards, sniveling, unwilling, unable, or ambivalent. As long as they change to heroes, fearless, willing, able, and decisive, we might have a worthwhile novel. I mean, it is one thing to start as a wimp, it’s another thing to remain one. Even then I have a problem with characters like that.
I want my protagonists to have figured out how they want to live—they are just confronted with problems they must resolve. I don’t mind if they are afraid or fearful, but I want them to stand up for themselves and others in spite of their fear. In any case, I like characters who are individualistic and willing to try. That isn’t to say I don’t like characters who learn or improve themselves. I just can’t stand cowards. Even animals fight for their life and to protect themselves. Other characters can be weak and in need of special help, but a protagonist is a very special kind of character. That comes to what I don’t like about Harry Potty.
I realize authors, especially certain young adult authors, want to lecture children and us about how we are supposed to be. Harry begins as a kind of nerdy wimp. He gets kind of better, but he is weak and ambivalent. Hermione knows what she wants more than anyone and grabs for it. She is a much better protagonist than Harry. You would think that a child abused and kept under the stairs would have learned how to rebel. Harry has no idea what rebellion is—you wonder how the author can make a messiah out of him. Ah, she doesn’t. Harry is born as a messiah. He doesn’t have to do anything except stand around. Other people die and other people are courageous, but Harry can just kind of stand around and act like a pustule faced teenager. Notice that Harry has his tantrums, but everyone else is collected and capable. I wish someone had told the author that we don’t need lectures on how teenagers can be idiots, weak, or stupid, we need to see exciting and entertaining stories about how people who have a lot expected of them stand up and take on the odds to succeed, not by accident, but by purpose. Thus when we develop a protagonist, let’s make an individualistic protagonist who has a reason to be individualistic.
That’s the point—the protagonist should be individualistic and act individualistic—that means they have a reason to be individualistic.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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