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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Writing - part xx061 Writing a Novel, Characters and Pathos, Secrets and Results

3 December 2019, Writing - part xx061 Writing a Novel, Characters and Pathos, Secrets and Results

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 pathos and secrets.

Secrets are the building blocks of novels.  This is true of all novels.  First, all novels are a revelation of the protagonist.  This is the basic feature of all novels.  A revelation presumes there is a secret to be revealed, and this is so.  The protagonist is an unknown until revealed in the novel.  Thus all novels are a revelation of the secrets of the protagonist.  This is also true of the plot.

How do you develop secrets which you plan to reveal in a novel?  In the first place, you really need to think about revelation, secrets, and when you intend to reveal them in the novel.  The revelation of secrets is to readers, individuals, groups, or universal.

What is the repercussions and results of the revelation of secrets?  This is ultimately the driving power of secrets.  We want to produce pity and fear—pathos.  Tension is the result of pity and the reaction to fear.  The fear of the revelation of secrets is a powerful pathos driver, but in the end, once the secret is out, now the protagonist and the other characters must deal with the revelation, the repercussions.

Repercussions are more far reaching than you might imagine.  In fact, let me step out on a limb.  Secrets without real repercussions are almost meaningless.  For example, you will see these types of secrets in children’s or young adult’s novels.  If the revelation of a secret is meaningless, the secret is meaningless.  Here’s what I mean.

Take my example of the homeless protagonist.  Why is this a great secret?  I actually took this example from a novel I wrote, Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.  Lilly is the protagonist and she is living in a cardboard box on the top of one of the student dorms.  The reason for this is that although she has a scholarship to the university, her scholarship doesn’t include room and board.  There are reasons for this and reasons why she is doing what she is doing.

As we learn that Lilly is homeless, we also discover that if the fact she is found to be homeless comes to light, she will likely be found out by Children’s Protective Services.  She is only sixteen and she’s supposed to have a guardian.  She doesn’t currently have a guardian.  This is either an oversight or she intentionally did it herself, and Lilly isn’t telling.

The point is that without a guardian, an address, and a place to live, she puts herself at risk in many ways.  To be short, she will lose her scholarships, be placed back under her abusive mother, will lose her friends, and have to leave the university.  This is a crises for her.  When this secret comes to the protagonist’s helper, Dane, he points out the repercussions to Lilly.  This alarms Lilly so much, she allows Dane to tell his parents who are both lawyers.  Lilly is besotted with Dane, she thinks the solution to her problems will be to live with him.  Dane’s parents are pretty modern and loosey goosey.  Dane is more of a gentleman and ethical.  You can see where this is going.  The repercussion or result of the secret of Lilly’s homelessness being revealed is real and ends up with her living with Dane.  I should also mention that Dane’s sister, Ophelia is highly opposed to Lilly and Lilly living with Dane.  She has brother issues.

What I’m telling you is this.  This secret of Lilly’s has terrible repercussions for her and for those around her.  Each person who discovers the secret produces tension with pity and fear.  The results are significant, but the eventual solution, although it irritates Dane, resolves some of the issue.  The secret still has legs because not all of the issues dredged up by the problem are resolved when Lilly goes to live with Dane.  These are secondary effect.  The secrets keep giving and giving.  The job of the author is to get as much traction as possible from each of them.     

Let’s continues to look at the secret as a plot element, creative element, and Chekov’s Gun—and secondary effects.

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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