12 February 2019, Writing - part x767, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, Why 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. The protagonist should be individualistic and act individualistic—that means they have a reason to be individualistic.
Remember when I was discussing unique power(s), skill(s), and/or learning, let’s baseline on this. The reason a romantic protagonist can be individualistic is because of their unique skill, power, or learning. There can be one, many, or a mix—there just has to be some. The individualism of the protagonist comes directly from this unique capability. The capability doesn’t have to be completely unique, for example, they can just be special in their learning or a skill. The simple point is that they need some capability that defines them. The obvious example of this is Harry Potty. Harry is a messiah, the boy who wouldn’t die. That is his unique power. He has some additional capabilities that excite the minds and hearts of his readers, magic for one, but most specifically, he is the boy who wouldn’t die.
Other romantic characters have their own skills or powers. The girl in the Hungry Games is an archer. She is the best archer in their society. She also has an undefinable skill of leadership or charisma. The undefinable skill is pretty common in many romantic characters. Another general or generic skill romantic protagonist have is the ability to learn quickly. This is unique learning. I mentioned before, readers love characters who read and learn. This is a reflection of how they view themselves. Another example of this is Flavia DeLuca. Flavia is a ten year old child of unusual intelligence and proclivities. She’s a reader…of chemistry and technical information. She’s a super-fast learner. I should write that this is how she is portrayed. I like Flavia, but Flavia isn’t a very believable character as a ten year old genius. She is a great romantic character. Flavia has many skills these define her and provide the lubricant that makes a ten year old chemist somewhat believable even if she isn’t completely believable. The point of each of these characters is that their individualism comes out of their unique capabilities. You can find this as a common theme in almost all modern literature and in all romantic literature.
To develop a great protagonist, the author needs to define a set of skills for that protagonist and develop a past or plot that builds or develops those skills for the protagonist. For example, my character Lilly in Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer is a math and computer super genius. This is her skill, power, and appeal. This makes her individualistic and also independent. Independent and individualistic is the import point.
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