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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Writing - part xx037 Writing a Novel, Characters and Pathos, Immediate

9 November 2019, Writing - part xx037 Writing a Novel, Characters and Pathos, Immediate

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?

A character is pathos building who through no fault of their own is:
1.     hungry
2.     sad
3.     abused
4.     an orphan
5.     penniless
6.     abandoned
7.     cold
8.     injured
9.     falsely convicted or accused
10.  desiring for information
11.  education
12.  to read
13.  a child
14.  a female
15.  beauty
16.  loss of a child
17.  general loss
18.  friendless
19.  alone
20.  afraid
21.  helpless
22.  isolated

Am I saying that if I present a character with the pathos developing characteristics that will automatically develop pathos in my readers?  Dependent on the character and the circumstances, yes, I am. 

The character and the circumstances make a world of difference.  Both of these are based on your culture and society, as well as the setting of your novel—although, pathos is less dependent on your setting and much more dependent on your audience.

A modern civilized audience reacts in a definite way to certain characters and not to others.  Here is an extreme example.  A reader who is hungry and cold may react with pathos to any character who is hungry and cold.  An impoverished reader may or may not feel pathos for a wealthy hungry or cold character.  A comfortable reader will likely feel pathos for a hungry or cold character who is hungry and cold not by their own fault.  A modern civilized person will naturally feel pathos for an abused character as long as their abuse is not their own fault.  The question of fault is a huge point for all readers.  The idea of fault or effort is a baseboard for all pathos.  Modern cultures view characters in various ways based on the culture. 

Victorian cultures and readers viewed pathos in a much more extreme way than we do generally today.  A Victorian would usually view honor as the highest human characteristic.  No person who had lost their honor for any reason could ever be viewed with pathos.  This goes back to the concept of fault. 

Generally, children are viewed with a much higher level of pathos than adults.  You can see this in our laws and protections for children.  The same works in novels.  The perception of characters as children or childlike almost automatically drives pathos.  For this reason, I consider youthful characters for all my novels.  Youthful characters don’t always fit my plots or themes, but the use of such a character almost guarantees pathos.  Elderly characters can also provide pathos.  For this reason, I use youthful characters as much as possible.  In some cases to build pathos, I leave the exact age of the character slightly ambiguous.  This isn’t always a good idea, but can work dependent on your novel.   For example, I don’t ever tell the readers just how old my protagonist Shaun du Locke is in my published novel, A Season of Honor, to give the impression of youth.  This character is in his thirties, but he is in unrequited love and driven by his past.  Unrequited love is a powerful means of using a plot or creative element to drive pathos.  Everyone or most have been in love and most feel for a person who suffers because of love.      

Youth and children naturally drive pathos because in our culture we see both youth and children in need of protection.  A harder view for modern thinkers is the obvious difference between males and females in regard to pathos.  A girl or woman in need, hunger, distress, abuse, suffering, pain, and all will be much more powerful than a boy or a man.  A boy is more pathos building than a fully grown woman, but not by much.  They are almost equal.  For this reason, I like to set my protagonists as women or girls. 

Many of my protagonists are men and boys, but a woman or girl can much more easily be projected as a pathos building character.  Movie makers know this, but miss the boat for many modern movies.  For example, the protagonists of most tearjerkers are women or girls.  This is not considered a characteristic of movies and novels with men as protagonists.  You can develop pathos with a male protagonist, Avenger’s Endgame is the proof of this, but notice how much work in terms of hours of watching time and fatuous plotlines you have to go through to get to that point.  In the end, only a tragedy seems to be the absolute best method to develop pathos with a male protagonist.

Tragedy vs comedy is an interesting point in this discussion.       

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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