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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Writing - part xx171 Writing a Novel, Protagonist Examples: Anthony Villiers

22 March 2020, Writing - part xx171 Writing a Novel, Protagonist Examples: Anthony Villiers

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  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

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
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

Cover Proposal
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.
4.     Study.
5.     Teach. 
6.     Make the catharsis. 
7.     Write.

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.   

Most of the novels I have read that I really enjoyed I not only liked the protagonist, I loved the protagonist.  I can throw out examples:
1.     Johnny Rico from Starship Troopers
2.     Sara Crew from A Little Princess
3.     Menolly from Dragonsong and Dragonsinger
4.     Anthony Villiers from New Celebrations
5.     Lord Darcy from Randall Garett’s novels
6.     Hornblower from the C.S. Forester novels
7.     Keith Gersen from Jack Vance’s Demon Princes
8.     Adam Reith from Jack Vance’s Tschai
9.     Glawen Clattuc from Jack Vance’s The Cadwal Chronicles
10.  Flavia DeLuca from Alan Bradley’s novels
11.  Douglas Spaulding from Dandelion Wine

These characters are fun, entertaining, enjoyable, and likable.  I want to evaluate what makes them such good characters.  Let’s move on to Anthony Villiers.

I chose Anthony Villiers because he is an unusual and interesting Romantic protagonist.  In fact, Anthony Villiers is a noble.  However, he is a noble who only brings out his nobility when it is absolutely necessary.  The author Alexi Panshin created a Romantic protagonist who appeals very well to the common Romantic reader.  The question is why?

First of all, Anthony Villiers is a Viscount in the nobility of the Empire.  I’m sure the Empire has some official name, but I can’t remember any.  It is simply the Empire and a Galactic Empire.  So, the three novels we are writing about are science fiction novels and perhaps the funniest and most entertaining science fiction novels from its era in science fiction. 

Anthony Villiers is a viscount, but his character is drawn as a somewhat rebellious person of the nobility.  He is out of popularity with his father.  We aren’t certain why except that he apparently didn’t accept the woman who was selected to be his wife.  He is a member of the nobility basically bumming around the universe following the vouchers his father sends for his support.  How in the world could this young man be a Romantic protagonist and how could he appeal to modern readers.

If you remember, one of the primary characteristics of the Romantic character is rebellion or if not full rebellion, a degree of independence from the system, culture, or society.  Anthony Villiers is one of these rebels.  Many readers don’t reject Anthony Villiers as a protagonist based on his nobility.  In fact, they see his nobility as a kind of reflection of the upper middle class in rebellion to their own parents and the “man.”  In other words, within the science fiction worldview, readers don’t reject Anthony Villiers, they rather see themselves within his wanderings and his inactive rebellion against the strictures of his society. 

Everything else definitely attracts readers.  He is an intellectual who protests intellectualism.  In other words, he is educated, but not conceited or bought in.  In other words, he represents the intellectualism in revolt against the university and classical education.  This may be less popular today, but in the late 1970s when this novel was published, this idea was very popular.  It still appeals to modern readers, because it isn’t anti-intellectualism, it is educated rejection of the false intellectualism of the university. 

I should have said, Anthony Villiers is an example of a protagonist who is in quiet rebellion on all fronts.  He is the quiet rebel because he is part of the nobility, educated, intellectual, athletic, wise, cultured, and socially astute. 

Anthony Villiers has very seldom met anyone he doesn’t like or who doesn’t immediately like him.  He can gamble, pick locks, fight duels, defend ladies, outwit criminals, and entertain children.  He is the classic Romantic skilled in many ways, a rebel, and did I mention, he loves books?

Books, travel, adventure, criminals, religion, and social connections are all critical elements in the Anthony Villiers books.  In addition to a six foot tall furry frog, Torve the Trog, who is a dangerous though unassuming alien.  As I noted yesterday, but didn’t bring up today, Anthony Villiers, is the straight man to a host of comic characters and incidents.  They would all be comic if many of them were not so serious. 

Anthony Villiers is a great protagonist in the Romantic tradition.  The author very carefully crafts Anthony Villiers such that his nobility is not nearly as important as his other Romantic characteristics.  The author loves Anthony Villiers for who he is, and he is a very well developed Romantic protagonist.  Plus, the novels are funny.  We only wish Alexi Panshin would publish the fourth novel and give us a few more.    

Next, Lord Darcy, a magical Sherlock Holms.

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.    
More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site, 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

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