17 February 2019, Writing - part x772, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, Leader
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
A great protagonist is a great leader. A romantic protagonist is a natural leader.
People are mostly not leaders. Most people are followers. Some people will say or think they are leaders, but then never lead. However, almost everyone wants to read about leaders and imagine that great people are great leaders. This is a type of projection. I’d write that everyone wants to reader about leaders, but you will always find someone who says they don’t—but they really do.
Look at movies. Look at most novels. Look at plays. Look at real life. Most people prefer to not lead, but almost all of us want to read about natural leaders. What is a natural leader?
I think most readers would not say the natural leader is the person everyone picks to lead a team in kickball or other sports. Most readers are not sports people. There are some, and there are many real natural leaders who are readers. Most readers would express that a natural leader is the person who they would pick to be the leader.
Do you remember sports in school? The tough kids, sport kids, and strong kids always got to be the team captains. They self-selected and just made the choices and decisions without anyone else. I don’t remember any of those kids being intellectual, readers, or potential future CEOs. Hey, there might be, but not in my schools. What did most kids want? Most wanted a leader who cared about them and their ideas. They wanted a kid who chose the team based not on popularity, but on skills—mostly intellectual skills. Let’s just say that isn’t the way to win as a team, but it is the way to win in the real world. Most of the intellectual kids didn’t want the responsibility of leadership—not on the terms required for sports. They happily accepted leadership roles in intellectual pursuits. The problem is that until the other kids began to figure out that the strongest and toughest kid just wasn’t necessarily that good at math or science, you weren’t in grade school anymore.
So let’s put this together. If you’ve’ been following along, you know that readers want protagonists who are readers and intellectual. They see themselves as readers and intellectuals. They don’t mind that a person is good at sports or skilled physically, but the protagonist who is just a jock, isn’t going to go very far with them. This means the reader is looking for a leader who leads by intellectuality and knowledge skills. Step back a little. We noted that romantic protagonists were individualistic and independent because of their skill(s), power(s), and/or learning. They are also leaders because of their skills, powers, and learning. We are defining the type of leader here.
What kind of leaders do you like? I’ll bet it isn’t the bullies, toughs, or jocks in the schoolyard. I’ll bet it is the intellectual, positive, and sensitive leaders. These types of leaders are leaders because of their knowledge and introspection (pathos and sensitivity). Do you see how this fits together? Romantic characteristics and specific types of skills, powers, and learning make them perfect leaders as a protagonist.
To be very specific, readers want their leaders to be leaders because of what they know and not necessarily because of position, strength, or overbearing personality. They want intellectual leaders. Let’s look more at this type of leader and some examples.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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