24 February 2019, Writing - part x779, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, Naturally Good, What is Real
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 romantic protagonist is naturally good. The Romantic ideology is that children and innocents are perfect and pure just like nature and the natural is perfect and pure. Romantic protagonists have religious leanings, but they worship on their own terms. This comes directly out of existentialism and evangelism.
I don’t care what you have come to imagine, the first question that sparked a fever in your brain was “where did I come from or why was I born?” I don’t mean this question literally, it is entirely figurative. Even before you thought to ask physically where you came from, you wanted to know how you the individual you came to be. If you were lucky enough to go to church or synagogue, your pastor, priest or rabbi began your philosophical and theological teaching. Later, it occurred to you to ask where you personally came from—that is the beginning of sex ed. Just notice, the first question is the beginning of philosophy.
This is everyone’s question, “Where did I come from?” This morphs into the next most important question, “Where am I going?” Finally, we ask, “How am I going to get there?” These questions have their simpler forms, but I think you know what they are. “Who or what made me?” I don’t mean physically, but mentally and spiritually. “What happens after I die?” Plus, the bonus question, does my life on earth mean anything for the future—that is after I die. Finally, what am I called to do, or what should I do with my life?
Religion and philosophy answer or attempt to answer these questions. I think they do a pretty good job of it. This is why people study philosophy, history, and religion. Literature isn’t about answering these questions—unless it is providing an entertaining focus or development of them. But, entertainment is all about these questions. In fact, entertainment itself answers one of these questions. What am I to do between the beginning of awareness to the end of awareness? The beginning is when you realize you are a real and independent person. The end is when you die or lose your awareness of thinking.
Here’s my point, what good is any literature that is how can any literature be entertaining at all if it doesn’t touch on the most important issues of human existence: birth, death, and life? The most important and entertaining issues are those that affect us all. Love, sex, marriage, birth, children, and continued legacy is one of these most important and entertaining issues. Learning education, reading, study, and preparation is another important and entertaining issue. Work, accomplishments, creating, production, and success is another critically important and entertaining issue. There are others like death, but if you notice, these are human issues and human problems most are outside of survival issues although survival issues can be a niche issue of entertainment and human thought. Entertainment can only be entertainment if it is about human issues.
And this is why I find Harry Potty, for all its popularity, such particularly poor literature—it raises nonhuman questions (spiritual and magical) that it can’t and doesn’t answer metaphorically. I wouldn’t mind if it rejected Western values and religion, but to ignore the most basic questions that confound humans and especially children just places it on the ash heap of human thought. Harry is naturally good, but if Harry isn’t able to answer why his naturally good is better than Voldermort’s naturally good, then Harry can’t be any better than Voldermort. You might give the atheist answer that naturally good means good in some human measure, but that is an irrational answer. Good is always in the eyes of the beholder. Many might say, taking human life is not good. Voldermort would say, taking the lives of people who waste their lives by not following him is good. Harry would say, live and let live, except, he would never say that—magic itself requires rules, some type of moral concept, and a code of conduct. Naturally good means your code of conduct has been determined—by whom?
Natural theology says God figured it out and provided a set of rules. Who provided such a set to the witch and wizards of Harry Potty’s world? What makes Voldermort bad and Harry good? They answer is that Western civilization made Harry good and Voldermort bad. There is no magical code of conduct—there is a Western code of conduct based on religion and philosophy. To make up a world without any evidence of this mark of what is naturally good, makes great propaganda, but doesn’t actually answer any important human question. The three questions that everyone has in life: why was I born, what should I do, and what happens when I die.
Your writing doesn’t have to try to answer any of these, but literature that ignores them is not really human or great literature—it may be entertaining, but it isn’t that great or entertaining. The point of Romantic literature is to give the author and the reader the chance to at least take out and inspect these questions under real human conditions. If you ignore them, you are wasting the entire point of human existence.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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