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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Writing - part xx034 Writing a Novel, Characters and Pathos

6 November 2019, Writing - part xx034 Writing a Novel, Characters and Pathos

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

Perhaps I should go back and look again at the initial scene—maybe, I’ll cover that again as part of looking at the rising action.  The reason is that I’m writing a rising action in a novel right now.

That gets us back to the protagonist—complexity makes the protagonist and the telic flaw one and the same. 

The novel is a revelation of the protagonist.  The telic flaw is connected directly to the protagonist.  The plot is the revelation of the telic flaw.  This connects the protagonist to the plot and the telic flaw.  The point is that to plan a novel, I simply need to plan the revelation of the protagonist.  To accomplish this, you need to develop a protagonist.

When I write you develop your protagonist, you write notes about:

1.     Name
2.     Background
3.     Education
4.     Appearance
5.     Work
6.     Wealth
7.     Skills
8.     Mind
10.  Dislikes
11.  Opinions
12.  Honor
13.  Life
14.  Thoughts
15.  Telic flaw

I design a protagonist around the initial scene.  This is the way I write a novel.  This isn’t the only way to write a novel, but it is the way I have discovered to write well-conceived and powerful novels.  This goes back to the initial scene. 

Above, I gave you four options for developing the initial scene.  Yesterday, I told you to take two off.  Authors have used three and four, but they don’t produce the kinds of exciting initial scenes we want.  Here’s the list again.

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

Let’s plan to put one and two together.  Let’s also focus on the other characteristics of the initial scene.  Notice that first, the initial scene must include the protagonist.  This should be obvious, but let’s go down the list.  I’m looking at background and pathos.

Looking at the classic pathos developing scene from A Little Princess, the emotions of the characters are not very strong, but the reader is significantly affected by the circumstances and situation.  How can this be?  More specifically, what are the characteristics of a scene or of a characters that builds pathos?

Let’s look at the three characters in this scene.  Two of them are truly pathos building.  Just what kinds of characters and scenes excite pathos in us?  Just ask yourself, what gets you worked up as a reader?  There are some basics.

Number one anyone who by no fault of their own is hungry, sad, abused, an orphan, penniless, abandoned, cold, or injured.  Look at our characters.  We have two girls who are orphans.  An orphaned child or person is the most powerfully pathos character.  An abandoned child might be almost as powerful.  The problem with abandoned versus orphaned gets a little complicated. 

An orphaned child, unless he or she murdered his or her parents, they are not at fault for being orphaned.  An orphaned anything builds pathos.  The moment an orphaned child walks on the stage of the novel, the reader is filled with emotion for them.  It doesn’t work quite as well for an adult, but a child causes pity and fear.  Pity and fear is the Greek definition for pathos—pathos creates pity and fear in the reader/viewer. 

The problem with the abandoned child is two.  Although unfair, the reader asks the question why was the child abandoned?  If the parents can be represented as wantonly or selfishly abandoning the child, pathos can be built.  On the other hand, if the parent had some reason or there is no reason given, the pathos isn’t as powerful.  The other potential reason is that the child was the reason for abandoning him or her.  This is also unfair for the child, but we are talking about fiction here.  The response of readers to pathos isn’t the same as the response to logic or reason. 

Pathos is about emotion, and emotions don’t necessarily follow logic.  Also, back to the concept of the abandoned child.  The author must craft a reason for the abandonment to produce the maximum pathos.  The author can also just state the child was abandoned without any knowledge for the reason.  This might be the best background, but in almost every case, the orphaned child is more pathos building than the abandoned child. 

Look back at the pathos example from A Little Princess.  Sara Crew is definitely an orphaned child.  The homeless child could be either orphaned or abandoned.  Just by leaving this ambivalent makes the child’s circumstance even more pathos building.  Sara Crew wins from the orphaned standpoint, but the homeless child is the focus of Sara Crew’s pity and fear as well as the reader’s pity and fear.  Part of this is due to the fact she is abandoned, but ultimately, the homeless child is in much worse shape than Sara.  Sara has a home, a place, a bed, food, work, and friends.  They are comparable, but these comparisons build even more pathos based on the scene and the situation.      

I’ll look deeper into these physical characteristic, but we can also look at scene based pathos such as falsely convicted or accused and deeper characteristics such as desiring for information, education, or to read.

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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