4 March 2020, Writing - part xx153 Writing a Novel, That 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’ve been through this before, but perhaps from this angle I can provide some new insight. All modern comedies are essentially zero to hero. No matter where the protagonist starts, the author must drag them down to zero then build them back up again. The trick is that in modern, Romantic based novels, the protagonist is the agent of the building. What does this mean?
The Greeks were mostly into tragedy, but they did have some comedies. No matter whether it was comedy or tragedy, the transformation of the protagonist to hero was based one hundred percent on fate. The fate of men, pathos, drove the success and failure of the protagonist. That won’t fly today. It might make an interesting single novel, like an antique, but it won’t fly in the modern Romantic Era of writing. Fate was the ultimate force to the Greeks and to most early societies. Then came the Age of Kings in Western Civilization.
I call the Age of Kings literature, Victorian, and so it is. Not so much that it is all Victorian, but rather that there wasn’t very much fiction until the Victorian Era and suddenly we had a plethora of it. Everything prior to the Romantic Era in literature to the Greeks and Romans (antiquity) can be considered Victorian in its approach to the protagonist. Indeed, the Victorians, and their predecessors learned the idea of zero to hero, but their reconciliation wasn’t through fate, it was through nobility and external help. The noble were fated in some sense—so it wasn’t that much different from the Greeks. Actually it was very different in thought, but not so much in execution.
The Victorians believed in the idea of the nobility of birth. This came out of their view of divine right of kings (thus the Age of Kings). Where in the Greek view everyone was subject to the fate of the Gods, in the Victorian view only the nobility were subject to the sunshine of God.
Indeed, one of my favorite Victorian Era novels as an example is A Little Princess. In this novel, the protagonist starts at hero, is driven to zero, and reacquires hero through the intervention of fate—actually because of her nobility driven by her father’s connections to wealth. Already we see the Victorian Era changing slightly to the Romantic Era. Where in antiquity, the force was fate, and in the Victorian Era, the force was nobility or birth, in the Romantic Era, the force is the individual.
Here’s what a modern protagonist looks like, Romantic. The Romantic protagonist either starts at zero or is driven to zero, but he or she uses his or her skills and abilities to achieve hero status. They are real heroes and not just heroes by place. Thus Starship Troopers represents a classic Romantic protagonist. Johnny Rico is a wealthy kid with everything. He joins the military and finds out he is only skilled enough to be a Starship Trooper (grunt Marine). While in the service he is brought to zero and begins being built back up. Also, while in the military, the earth is attacked and he loses his mother and his family their wealth. He is driven to zero physically and mentally. Then he is driven to zero from a wealth and family standpoint. The novel slowly builds him back up in each area. The end result isn’t the same man or the same degree of position. Johnny Rico goes from a wealthy earthman of few skills to a moderate income starship trooper officer leading his men in galactic warfare.
The Romantic Era protagonist is all of this. Notice the journeys of mind, body, spirit, and wealth. These are classic Romantic Era concerns. We need to look at this directly.
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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