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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Writing - part x940, Writing a Novel, Proto-Writing

4 August 2019, Writing - part x940, Writing a Novel, Proto-Writing

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  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

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 websites
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
Cover Proposal
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. 

Let’s look at a subject that is really ignored in the modern era.  I’m not certain how much this can help your current writing.  I would argue that theoretically, this subject can really help those who write historical and futuristic fiction.  It depends on how your write your historical and futuristic fiction.  There are two ways to write historical fiction—let’s look at this.

The first and most common way to write historical fiction is to write a novel that projects modern ideas and history as historical ideas and history.  In other words to present modern ideas and historical ideas as the same.  I think this is perhaps the most egregious and perverse means of presenting a false view of history.  The author is either completely ignorant of the past, is intentionally attempting to education people in a false view of history, or both.  The real historical world is very different both culturally and socially from our current world.  The true author attempts to convey this in historical writing.

The second and less common means of historical writing is to actually incorporate the past into a novel to convey the actual way people thought and acted in the past.  This approach actually goes back into time to give a complete view of the way the people thought and acted.  To this end, let’s look at how the world changed and how people thought in the past.  This is more of a historical look at the world for the purpose of understanding how the world worked in the past and how people thought and acted.  We’ll use historical information to see what concerned affected their lives. Here is a list of potential issues.  We’ll look at them in detail:

1.   Vocabulary
2.   Ideas
3.   Social construction
4.   Culture
5.   Politics
6.   History
7.   Language
8.   Common knowledge
9.   Common sense
10. Reflected culture
11. Reflected history
12. Reflected society
13. Truth
14. Food
15. Money
16. Weapons and warfare
17. Transportation
18. Communication
19. Writing
20. Education

Communications have moved in a more unpredictable and interesting manner over time—especially in the modern era.

Communications can occur through any of the senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.  The most obvious seems to be hearing because that is how most of our communication through speech is presented.  However, sight is the most used and powerful of human senses.

Proto-writing is writing where the forms are either direct or indirect symbols for the things they mean.  We don’t have many examples in history of proto-writing, but we know that proto-writing was something like a drawing of four stick sheep to indicate four sheep.  You see how this is a problem, right. 

Whose drawing of a sheep is the best, and is that really a sheep.  The problem was that if you wanted to send a message about four sheep, you needed to draw four sheep.  That might take a little or a long time depending on if Sponge Bob or Leonardo da Vinci is making the drawing.  Someone got the great idea, let’s make a symbol that looks something like a sheep, but always means a sheep.  We see this in the three major proto-writing languages we know of that moved from proto to regular writing.  In Chinese, Egyptian, and Cuneiform, the proto-writing turned into writing symbols.  In some cases, we can see the forms of the original proto-writing in the symbols.  In many cases, we can’t.  In any case, the picture of a sheep became the symbol that represented a sheep.  It was a simplified sheep, and originally, the assumption was that everyone, or most everyone with familiarity would immediately know what that symbol meant. 

In the end, four proto-writing sheep symbols meant four sheep.  That was the beginning, but it’s still not writing.  Well, it kind of isn’t purely writing.  In Chinese, many symbols mean a singular thing.  Where proto-writing becomes writing is when the symbols take on a more basic sound meaning tied directly to the spoken language.  For example, the symbol for sheep in Chinese might indicate sheep as a proto-writing.  It might indicate the sound sh or she or sheep in a written language.  It might mean a characteristic of a sheep in a written language. 

Proto-writing becomes real writing when the symbol begins to represent a sound, a set of sounds, or a meaning beyond the original concept of the word.  We see this very clearly in Egyptian. 

Egyptian writing is formed of a rebus.  A rebus is a form like “an eye,” “a heart,” and the sound for “u.”  In English, we would understand this as “I love you.”  In Egyptian all their writing was of this form.  Their hieroglyphics could mean a sound, a thing, an idea, or a determinate.  A sound is obvious.  A thing or object is too.  An idea is an increasing complexity, but its form is normal in our understanding.  A determinate is a symbol to clarify the meaning of another symbol.  For example, in the example of the rebus for “I love you,” if the meaning was “my eye sees a “u,” I might put, “an eye followed by another eye or an organ” could mean eyes or an eye.  Instead of the “heart symbol,” we might have a “to look” symbol.  And then a symbol of a “u sound” with a symbol of a man behind it.  This might be read as “my eye sees you.”  The determinates make the difference in the meaning of two symbols.

In early languages, we see these types of constructions.  The proto-writing has moved into actual writing, but it doesn’t seem like the types of writing we are used to.  There’s more.       

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, 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

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