6 March 2020, Writing - part xx155 Writing a Novel, more 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. 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.
Almost every modern novel revels the journey of the protagonist from zero to hero. That journey includes the mind, body, spirit, and success. Now, least you are taking me literally, I am not writing about a literal journey. Many novels are literal journeys of self-discovery of one type or another. I’m sure you can think of many. All modern novels are some type of metaphorical journey. In the past, that metaphorical journey was all about the spirit. This naturally included the mind and body. It sometimes included success. As novels moved away from their spiritual underpinnings, and so did society, the metaphorical journey became one of simply mind and body with potential success at the end.
I’ve argued before that all humans are searching for the three great questions: why am I here, what is my purpose, and where am I going (after death)? You certainly aren’t going to get an answer to any of these questions with mind and body. An athletic professor may be as ignorant of the real world as a child. I’m also not telling you to preach any kind of religion or spiritualism. What I am encouraging you to do is to look deeper than book education and the body to see what your audience wants in a character. All of my characters have spiritual issues in redemptive plots. I suggest both of these—characters who are aware of their own shortcomings as a person and seek to reform them (redeem them).
This is what a redemption plot is—a person is working to change themselves or is being helped to change themselves. This gets directly to the issues most important to real people and to readers.
Readers want characters who begin at some zero, figure out their problems, correct their problems, and resolve the telic flaw of the novel through that correction. The character who is poor and becomes wealthy is just a simplistic version of this. The character who is unaware of their state in life, discovers a better way to live, and then achieves is the best type of protagonist. Here is an example.
In my novel, Deirdre: Enchantment and the School, Sorcha is hiding in the school using Fae glamor to hide the fact that she is not an actual legal student. Sorcha is not the protagonist, Deirdre is. Deirdre’s problem is that she is selfish, unruly, rough, rude, cruel, uncontrolled, undisciplined, unhappy, and has never had a friend. She basically forces Sorcha to be her friend or Deirdre will reveal that Sorcha is an illegal student. The entire novel is about the redemption of Deirdre from what she is to a different person. At the same time, we learn why Deirdre acts as she does. We also see her control and moderate her behavior to become a better person. In the end, Deirdre is changed as a person. She is never a perfect person, but she is a better person. She has made a journey of spirit, mind, and body. The success is that she is able to reach and accommodate her mother’s wisdom in sending her away. I didn’t say this is a simple novel. My point is that it is a fun novel about a person becoming a better person—going from a zero you wouldn’t invite to a party to a hero you would. This is what novels should be about.
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