3 March 2020, Writing - part xx152 Writing a Novel, What is 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.
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.
I’ve gone through the litany of the Romantic protagonist before. We might as well look at it again—or at least parts of it.
I’ll ask again, what kinds of characters do you like? Characteristics like reader, intelligent, seekers of information, educated, seeking education, and all are characteristics that anyone can have. For example, from the most impoverished person to the wealthiest in the world. If you note, we expect the wealthiest to be educated, intelligent, and a reader—this is real life. We also don’t expect those in poverty to be intelligent, readers, or educated—that is also real life. Don’t get mad at me for pointing this out. If you dig deeply, you will find this is so. What we as authors like to do to reflect pathos rather than reality.
What makes a great romantic character is the zero that we make into a hero in our novels. The best zeros are, for example, the impoverished intellect who is seeking education and loves to read. In the past, these types of people were more common in reality than they are today. Today, you have to catch them when they are young and before they can make something of themselves—or you have to grab them from another culture—usually a lesser developed culture. If you remember zero to hero, this becomes an easy exercise.
What I do is I create circumstances to drive my characters and especially protagonists down to the proper level of zero that I want. Here is an example from my novel Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer. Lilly is the protagonist. She comes from a very bad background. Her mother is a prostitute and a druggie. Lilly was born into poverty, and her mother kept her in poverty. Her mother stole food from the mouth of her child, and eventually lost custody. Thus Lilly was forced into foster care. This is part of the background of Lilly that comes out in an over 100,000 word novel. The big deal about Lilly is that she is a math and computer genius. She has a scholarship to a private university, but the scholarship doesn’t pay for room and board only for classes. At the beginning of the novel, we find Lilly is living in a cardboard box on top of a university dorm. She is scrounging in the garbage for food. The reason is to keep her mother’s hands off her scholarship and her life. This effectively starts Lilly at zero and we have room to build her to hero. Lilly’s steps toward hero are nothing like you might predict, but as a math and computer genius, she is an intellect, who loves to read, and who is fiercely independent. These are all Romantic characteristics.
Let me also mention Azure Rose from my novel Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. Azure Rose is the head girl at a prestigious British girl’s school. She is the school’s academic award winner every year and as I already mentioned the elected student body head girl. She is also the special pet of the headmistress. How could this be a zero? We find out very early that Azure Rose is on a scholarship to the school. She is on a scholarship because her noble patented father was caught embezzling funds from the Crown to keep his estate from being taken by the government. Her father is in prison and her mother died not long after her birth. This left Azure Rose in the British foster care system. She is an intellect who has been working very diligently to gain scholarships to improve her education. Of course she loves to read and is well read. She is also a golfer. Before her father was imprisoned, Azure got a job as a caddy at a gold club. She learned golf and made money on the side by astounding mature golfers—who could imagine a twelve year old out driving a mature male golfer. Azure continued her golf betting and playing to make ends meet. This is one of the reasons the headmistress is so close to Azure—the headmistress likes to play golf.
I think you can see, Azure Rose is a zero. Her goal as a hero is to regain her estate and succeed as a supernatural detective. Already you can see her goals are different than the norm. You can also see she is a peach or a Romantic characters. She looks wealthy but is very poor. She is seeking the best education possible, but she is on scholarship. We also discover she is living in a very unusual place because she doesn’t wish to be in the boarding houses of the school. There is so much you can do with these types of characters.
Are these characters real? Possibly, but not probably. This is the great thing about novels, the characters should appear to your readers to be real even if they are not. They are possibly real, but not probably real. We work hard as authors to produce zero characters whom we can turn into heroes. This is the power of the Romantic character. I want to point out. These characters, Azure and Lilly, look like what readers think a great protagonist should look like. They are also automatically pathos building. We’ll look at that.
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:
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic