5 March 2020, Writing - part xx154 Writing a Novel, Romantic Journeys
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.
The Romantic protagonist is on a journey of mind, body, spirit, and success. The Romantic protagonist starts at zero or is driven to zero. They then begin their revealed journey to achieve the goal of mind, body, spirit, and success. Success is usually the end state, but success isn’t the resolution of the telic flaw. In a Victorian novel, the resolution is usually a revelation which leads to the restoring of the protagonist to their position. That equals success in the Victorian mind. For examples, look no further than A Little Princess or Oliver Twist. Neither Oliver nor Sara Crew make any kind of real journey of the mind, body, spirit, nor toward success. They are found by their “guardians” or estate—they don’t find themselves or improve themselves—they are who they are and restored to their birth positions. Romantic protagonists are on a journey.
The Journey of the Romantic protagonist just happens to directly coincide with their revelation and plot to resolve the telic flaw of the novel. In fact, the journey is the point of the novel, in terms of the protagonist. Flawed novels are not developed this way. For example, Harry Potty is a flawed Romantic protagonist. He is on a journey of self-discovery. He wants to know about his mother and father and his past. He wants to become a great wizard. He isn’t really interested in the mind—he doesn’t study for fun and barely for improvement. He isn’t working out daily to gain athletic skills although he is supposed to be a wizard athlete. He is aiming for a kind of normal wizard life. All these are journeys of the protagonist. The big problem with Harry is that these journeys are not directly connected to the telic flaw. The telic flaw is the problem of Voldermort. Learning about the past will not really help much with the big V. Harry is good at Quiddich, but there isn’t an anti-V Quiddich cup. Harry isn’t much interested in study and practice of Wizarding—the author brings in the big deal of learning a difficult spell, but that’s just because Harry is special and has special powers—because of his birth. Harry almost sounds like a Victorian protagonist in some ways. Here’s how it is supposed to be done.
The Romantic protagonist starts with something. That something might be wizardly powers or magic, intellect, or some other special skill. In many Romantic novels, part of the novel is discovering this special skill. In Starship Troopers, Johnny Rico has to discover he is a leader, not a born leader, but a person who can become a leader. Step one of the journey is discover the skill.
The Romantic protagonist takes that skill and applies all their heart and soul into it. This is the next stage in the journey. In the case of Johnny Rico, he has to work hard in his units and then go to school—Officer’s Training School. Notice, body, mind, spirit, and success—these are the journeys of the Romantic protagonist. You can skip portions and parts, for example, body isn’t as great a concern for most readers, but you will see in many novels, the protagonist is preparing the body as part of the journey. It isn’t just body and mind—the spirit is also a part of the journey.
The spiritual striving of the protagonist is one of the major points in Romantic Era (Modern) literature. You find this in almost every novel because one of the most important characteristics of the Romantic protagonist is self-reflection. A modern protagonist who isn’t self-reflective is likely an unpublished protagonist. You rarely see it. Harry is obvious. He reflects when we wish he would get down to business. In fact, one of the major problems with modern writing, in my opinion, is the characters reflect on the wrong things. To me only problems that will cause true harm to people and stuff is worth reflecting about. Major superheroes (gods) don’t seem to care how much stuff then destroy or how many regular people get squished, but they sure get sensitive if the villain or one of their superhero friends gets a scratch. In the Romantic Era, we are supposed to care about the lives and feelings of everyone not just the noble few. The point of Romanticism is that the common can become the diamond—the common is the diamond in the rough. The Journey is to polish and show the diamond. More on this journey.
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