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Friday, October 4, 2019

Writing - part xx001 Writing a Novel, First Century Greek

4 October 2019, Writing - part xx001 Writing a Novel, First Century Greek

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

Education is everything in terms of writing and especially writing novels.  If you remember, really before universal literacy, the novel didn’t have a chance.  Just like every great innovation or invention, the development of an entertainment market caused the novel to be created and to make its mark on human history.

The year 323 BC brought a great turning point to education in the world and to the Greeks—the reason was Hellenization.  The First Century brought a greater change due to the influence of teen Hodos (the way) the Jewish sect that was later called Christians. 

The world wanted to speak Greek, read Greek, write Greek, and be Greek.  The Greeks already had two systems or facilities to accommodate their own.  The first was the gymnasium.  The gymnasium was likely the most ancient.  Children, actually men who had not reached the age and experience of maturity (about 30 years) went to the gymnasium to learn military skills.  Later, they practiced athletics.  Finally, they memorized and discussed Greek poetry and writing.  The gymnasiums were the focal point of the Greek well-rounded education with military, athletics, and symposia.  Once a Greek man had reached the experience and age of maturity (about 30) he needed something more, that something was the lyceum. 

The lyceum is where we find Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle discussing ideas and philosophy.  Men who were not mature, by Greek standards might watch, but they couldn’t participate in the discussions.  The gymnasium and the lyceum were the means Greek men could become educated along the Greek culture and the important Greek skills of civilization.  Remember, military, athletics, and symposium (memorizing and discussing the Greek literature and poetry).  These existed to educate Hellenized Greek subjects as well, but they needed something more.  The something more was the schole. 

A schole was the place you paid to learn Greek and Greek culture.  Generally, in the schole you didn’t learn military skills or athletic skills, you learned Greek language and culture.  The scholes were created to teach Greek to the Hellenized cultures that were brought about by Alexander’s conquests.  That’s why the year 323 BC is so significant. 

What you had during the First Century was the gymnasiums catering mainly to the Greeks, the lyceums catering to philosophers, and the schole where non-Greeks paid to learn Greek and Greek culture.  Then came teen Hodos.

Teen Hodos (the way) was significant because it integrated the Jewish synagogue and pharisaic educational system with that of the Greeks.  Teen Hodos members were instructed to attend and learn at the synagogue, and they did—until they were kicked out.  Many many Greeks were picking up this teen Hodos religion, mysterium, and way of life.  They wanted a means of education and learning.  The Greek schole provided the place.  The schole was likely a place where people paid to learn Greek language and Greek ways—they now became centers for learning teen Hodos ways.  The remarkable characteristic of teen Hodos is that the adherents had created a body of historical writing which required memorization and study.  They additionally had a body of writing, in Greek, the Septuagint, which was the Torah, Tanakh, including the apocryphal documents of the Jews.  Thus, the schole had a lot to teach.

We don’t know if the teen Hodos scholes charged fees like the normal Greek scholes.  They likely did not.  Or the fees were minimal.  We do see examples especially in Acts of the scholes accommodating teen Hodos and others for the purpose of memorization (reading) and study of the Septuagint and the early documents of teen Hodos. 

This was the beginnings of what we call the Western system of education.  This is the model of education for the next two thousand years.  It changed only as teen Hodos changed especially in regard to reading.  It became the model for Jewish studies, although the synagogue and pharisaic model remained intact, it absorbed the concepts of the Greek or rather teen Hodos schole.  You can see this in the Masoretic improvements to the Jewish documents (Torah and tanakh) which made them readable and not just memorizable.  The synagogue and pharisaic educational systems kept their focus but assimilated those of the schole.  This is the ultimate basis for all modern education.

Basically, we send children and adults to learn languages, to read, and to study.  This system remained almost unchanged until the age of universal education.  There were a few steps in between.

The next great change was the age of universal literacy in the West.

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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