1 March 2020, Writing - part xx150 Writing a Novel, Like Romantic
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 www.ancientlight.com. 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 http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
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 http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
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.
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
Ideas. We need ideas. Ideas allow us to figure out the protagonist and the telic flaw. Ideas don’t come fully armed from the mind of Zeus. We need to cultivate ideas.
1. Read novels.
2. Fill your mind with good stuff—basically the stuff you want to write about.
3. Figure out what will build ideas in your mind and what will kill ideas in your mind.
6. Make the catharsis.
The development of ideas is based on study and research, but it is also based on creativity. Creativity is the extrapolation of older ideas to form new ones or to present old ideas in a new form. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, schience, and logic (the intellect). Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.
If we have filled our mind with all kinds of information and ideas, we are ready to become creative. Creativity means the extrapolation of older ideas to form new ones or to present old ideas in a new form. Literally, we are seeing the world in a new way, or actually, we are seeing some part of the world in a new way. Let’s look at an example.
The writer must create like an artist with the manipulation of writing (language) in the world through hard work to present something that is not natural, common, or previously existing in the world, and adds beauty to the world and humanity.
Pathos is the name of the game. The bully with a gun isn’t a good protagonist. The intellectual girl with a gun is. The real world isn’t fair and many times isn’t just. In novels, the world can be fair and just, and true justice can be meted out to the evil while the good are rewarded. If this seems like the basis for a plot it is.
Almost all comedy novels are zero to hero as an overall theme. When I write comedy, I mean the protagonist overcomes the telic flaw of the novel. The end is positive. A tragedy is a novel where the telic flaw overcomes the protagonist. The end if not positive.
Comedies are the norm in modern writing. Tragedies were the norm in ancient Greek plays although the priests awarded prizes and the opportunity to present a play during the religious festivals based on comedy and tragedy. All ancient Greek fiction is religious and meant to be a tribute to the gods. Just so you know.
Modern writing is entirely entertainment based. Our characters need not be good, just, or moral, but they must be entertaining. So here is the problem. Our characters must be entertaining to readers. They are not real world people, and they are not us—they must be entertaining reflections of what your readers (readers in general) think are entertaining. The list of entertaining characteristics isn’t that long.
Ever wonder why few characters in literature are stupid? Ever wonder why few characters in writing are anti-education or anti-reading? Ever wonder why most protagonists in novels are the way they are? Just look at the audience—the readers. Successful novels are successful because readers find them entertaining. They find novels entertaining because the protagonists especially fit the readers’ idea of a protagonist.
You can find modern (and not so modern) novels where the protagonist is a burly strapping gentleman of means. Most notably, these are pretty difficult to find. Even in bodice rippers, the protagonist might be a woman on the hunt for a burly strapping gentleman of means, but the man is a character and the prize, not the protagonist. In fact, I can remember more novels where the man who was selected by the bodice ripping protagonist was the ninety pound weakling who loved books and studied butterflies—and I don’t usually read these novels.
In most novels, and a significant number or movies, the protagonist is the ninety pound weakling. If anything, he or she changes from the intellectual, book loving runt to the intellectual, book loving burly young man or woman who succeeds not through their athleticism but through their intellectual capabilities. In fact, most novels that move this way feature the protagonist in a more negative fashion as he or she moves from intellect to brawn. Just look at T.H. White’s Once and Future King. Wart as wart the apprentice to Merlin in The Sword in the Stone becomes the betrayed King Arthur in the other four novels, and only changes back as he is taken by the fae in the final sixth novel. Funny, the Once and Future King is a tragedy, the sixth novel makes it a comedy—to a degree.
So, modern characters must look like the reader’s impression of the protagonist. This is an interesting problem as culture and society change as does the impression of the readers.
So just what kinds of characters should we be developing?
As we look for creative ideas, and I believe creative ideas begin with creative characters, we should look at just what excites and interests us. How can we project what we like and enjoy into a great character.
Let’s look at the other suggestions and see how we can use them to develop entertaining writing.
The beginning of creativity is study and effort. We can use this to extrapolate to creativity. In addition, we need to look at recording ideas and working with ideas.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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