18 March 2020, Writing - part xx167 Writing a Novel, No Breaches with the Protagonist
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, science, 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.
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 been presenting the means to develop protagonists and characters your readers will enjoy—precisely those that will entertain your readers. Mainly, the ideas I’ve proposed are these: seeking knowledge, readers, decisions the reader would make, pathos building, and overall, entertaining.
If we agree, any breech between the protagonist and the reader is not desirable, we can move forward.
This is exactly what I’ve been getting to—the protagonist and the readers. Most readers don’t think much about the protagonist. They just read the novel. They enjoy some protagonist’s better than others. They aren’t sure why they enjoy some protagonists better than others, but they do. I’m trying hard to not must the term “like.” I’m not sure your readers have to like your protagonists. They need to enjoy them. They need to ultimately be entertained by them. Now, we might ask the question, do we need to like a protagonist to enjoy them? I’m not sure.
Most of the novels I have read that I enjoyed I not only like the protagonist, I love the protagonist. I can throw out examples: Johnny Rico from Starship Troopers, Sara Crew from A Little Princess, Menolly from Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, Anthony Villiers from New Celebrations, Lord Darcy from Randall Garett’s novels, Hornblower from the C.S. Forester novels, Keith Gersen from Jack Vance’s Demon Princes, Adam Reith from Jack Vance’s Tschai, Glawen Clattuc from Jack Vance’s The Cadwal Chronicles, and Flavia DeLuca from Alan Bradley’s novels. There are many more I could mention, but these are characters whom I love—in an English euphemistic sense. What makes these characters so lovable or likable?
In fact, they are lovable. They are likable. These characters are fun, entertaining, enjoyable, and likable. It might be worthwhile to evaluate what makes them such good characters. I’d like to recommend the protagonists of my novels too, but I won’t at the moment. What I might do is bring them out to support some of my choices as well as comparisons to the characters above.
It would be very simple to state that the above characters are likable because they are Romantic characters. Most of them are. Sara Crew is a classic Victorian character, but she does possess Romantic characteristics. In the list are girls, women, officers, military people, reformed nobles, men—they are different and diverse. They represent the middle class to the upper middle class. There are no poor or super wealthy. This is somewhat unfortunate, but interesting. We can conclude that the sex, race, and wealth aren’t that important. If you remember, that Romantic characters always come from the common man, then indeed, race and sex isn’t important, but wealth and position might be. Anthony Villiers and Flavia DeLuca are both special considerations, they are both nobly born. They are really worth looking at.
I really want to jump right into comparing these characters and what makes them likable, but I’ll save that for tomorrow. I should also say this. Why didn’t I include certain protagonists like Oliver Twist, Scrooge, Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, or any of the protagonists from novels like The Sun also Rises, The Grapes of Wrath, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and so on. The reason is easy, although I loved the novels, I can’t say I loved the protagonists. I could handle the protagonists. They didn’t make me dump the novel, but I don’t necessarily think I really enjoyed the protagonist. There are many classical novels that are great novels, but the protagonists aren’t that memorable, exciting, entertaining, or likable. In fact, let’s qualify the above protagonists in this way. Not only were they likable and entertaining, they were memorable. I can remember them at this moment. I enjoyed them from the moment I read the book, and I still enjoy them.
Although we all would like to write a bestseller and a classic, unfortunately, you will never write one by trying to write a bestseller or a classic. What you need to do is write an entertaining novel. If the novel is entertaining, it has some hope of being a bestseller or a classic. To be entertaining, the protagonist as well as the plot must appeal to the readers. This is the bottom line.
The point is that we need to keep our readers content and pleased with our characters while presenting the revelation of the protagonist and the plot.
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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