26 November 2022, Writing - part xxx150 Writing a Novel, A New Romantic Protagonist, Editing Words, -ly
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.
For Novel 32: Shiggy Tash finds a lost girl in the isolated Scottish safe house her organization gives her for her latest assignment: Rose Craigie has nothing, is alone, and needs someone or something to rescue and acknowledge her as a human being.
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: Let me tell you a little about writing. Writing isn’t so much a hobby, a career, or a pastime. Writing is a habit and an obsession. We who love to write love to write.
If you love to write, the problem is gaining the skills to write well. We want to write well enough to have others enjoy our writing. This is important. No one writes just for themselves the idea is absolutely irrational and silly. I can prove why.
In the first place, the purpose of writing is communication—that’s the only purpose. Writing is the abstract communication of the mind through symbols. As time goes by, we as writers gain more and better tools and our readers gain more and better appreciation for those tools and skills—even if they have no idea what they are.
We are in the modern era. In this time, the action and dialog style along with the push of technology forced novels into the form of third person, past tense, action and dialog style, implying the future. This is the modern style of the novel. I also showed how the end of literature created the reflected worldview. We have three possible worldviews for a novel: the real, the reflected, and the created. I choose to work in the reflected worldview.
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.
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.
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.
With that said, where should we go? Should I delve into ideas and creativity again, or should we just move into the novel again? Should I develop a new protagonist, which, we know, will result in a new novel. I’ve got an idea, but it went stale. Let’s look at the outline for a novel again:
1. The initial scene
2. The rising action scenes
3. The climax scene
4. The falling action scene(s)
5. The dénouement scene(s)
The initial scene is the most important scene and part of any novel. To get to the initial scene, you don’t need a plot, you need a protagonist.
Let’s be very clear. You can start with a plot, a protagonist, an idea, or an idea for an initial scene. The easiest and most controlled method is to start with a protagonist. As I’ve written over and over, a protagonist must come with a telic flaw. I think it is impossible to have a protagonist without a telic flaw, but I suppose you could develop a completely lackluster protagonist without any telic flaw connected to them.
Here is my list for the characteristics of a Romantic protagonist. I am not very happy with most of the lists I have found. So, I will start with a classic list from the literature and then translate them to what they really mean. This is the refined list. Take a look.
1. Some power or ability outside the norm of society that the character develops to resolve the telic flaw.
2. Set of beliefs (morals and ideals) that are different than normal culture or society’s.
4. Power (skills and abilities) and leadership that are outside of the normal society.
6. Travel plot
8. Overwhelming desire to change and grow—to develop four and one.
9. Pathos developed because the character does not fit the cultural mold. From the common.
10. Regret when they can’t follow their own moral compass.
11. Self-criticism when they can’t follow their own moral compass.
12. Pathos bearing because he or she is estranged from family or normal society by death, exclusion for some reason, or self-isolation due to three above.
13. From the common and potentially the rural.
14. Love interest
Here is the protagonist development list. We are going to use this list to develop a Romantic protagonist. With the following outline in mind, we will build a Romantic protagonist. However, I’m going to ignore the first step. Instead of starting with an initial scene, I’m just going to design a Romantic protagonist. Then we may apply the outline to them.
1. Define the initial scene
2. At the same time as the above—fit a protagonist into the initial scene. That means the minimum of:
a. Telic flaw
b. Approximate age
c. Approximate social degree
3. Refine the protagonist
a. Physical description
b. Background – history of the protagonist
c. Setting – current
4. Refine the details of the protagonist
a. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
b. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
c. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
5. Telic flaw resolution
a. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
i. Physical changes
ii. Emotional changes
iii. Mental changes
b. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
c. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
d. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
e. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
Here’s what I want to do or how I want to place these on a protagonist. Let’s clean them up a little and begin to evaluate a protagonist.
I’m not ready to write a new novel yet, and I’m too busy to put the extra time to write an initial scene.
I’ll repeat. I just finished up Rose, and I want to finish up Cassandra. I’m moving in that direction. For now, I’ll focus on the finishing steps of Rose, and then the marketing development steps. This might get tedious, but I’ll try to keep it meaningful and helpful.
I am into heavy editing for Rose, and I’d like to finish with Cassandra. I’m using Cassandra as an example for my other blog, so I really do need to catch it up before I run out of material. In any case, I was going over the basics of real editing.
I’ll repeat myself. If you have a problem with basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you might not have the required level of education to write effectively. If this is true, you need to get more education and of the correct types.
Repetition isn’t the only simple problem in editing. This is a level above spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but there is another level above that.
The other problems with word is related to the following list:
This is the secret list of words you need to get rid of as much as possible. I’ll go over them specifically and explain why. What I do in my writing is to evaluate every one of these and get rid of the ones that can be fixed. Here we go.
He walked silently.
She sighed loudly.
He looked longingly.
She spoke quietly.
He moaned frighteningly.
In English -ly is used to make the adverb form of a work. There are actually two types of adverbs, natural ones called flat adverbs and formed ones with an -ly ending. For example, in the sentence, he jumped high, high is an adverb. You can also write, he jumped highly. The sentences are different, and although highly is a legitimate adverb—it doesn’t work well with an intransitive verb. On the other hand, she thought highly of him, is a great sentence because the intransitive verb likes a normal adverb.
What is it about adverbs? Many writers and those who teach about writing will tell you not to use adverbs. Some even say never use an adverb. I think that’s just crazy talk. Adverbs for intransitive verbs are excellent—that is the use of flat adverbs. On the other hand, adverbs can be overused. I’m sure you have heard them. She wrote furiously. He spoke capriciously. And so on. You can overuse even a good thing, but the problem is that many times adverbs don’t sound right and especially at the end of dialog tags. For example:
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Jane back-peddled furiously. Or worse,
“I can’t help myself,” Jack cried uncontrollably.
There are problems with adverbs, but I’m not willing to give them up. They are a great part of speech and sometimes, they are just necessary to get a point across. So, what to do about adverbs. Let’s fix the examples at the top of this article. In the first place, we can use stronger verbs to replace many adverbs.
He walked silently. Becomes: He crept. Or He snuck. You pick the verb you really want.
She sighed loudly. Becomes: She moaned. Or She groaned. Or She exhaled. Or whatever.
He looked longingly. Becomes: He pined. Or He stared. Or He gawked. Or He longed for her. Or He longed for the car. The object of the verb can add significantly to the clarity and power of the sentence.
She spoke quietly. This is the classic example: She whispered.
He moaned frighteningly. Why not just He moaned. Or He made a scary sound. Or He moaned in a frightening voice. We are adding words to replace adverbs. Like I wrote, many writers don’t like them at all—I don’t agree with that, but that’s the way it is.
On to the next tomorrow. Oh, I should write, that in one of my final edits of a completed work, I search for the words above and remove them when possible. We’ll see more, next.
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