31 December 2018, Writing - part x724, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters, The Seventh Day of Christmas
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 website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to 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: TBD
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.
You must have a protagonist and an antagonist. You may have a protagonist’s helper. Then there are other characters. Let’s talk about characters in general and then specifically.
I’ve been writing about choosing and developing protagonists who are interesting and entertaining to your readers. Readers like characters who they can intellectually identify with. These are the characters who appeal to them. If there is no intellectual connection, there is usually no connection. We saw this by the many characters whom readers can’t share any or many characteristics, but the characters still appeal.
For the Christmas Season, I guess I’m giving you scenes from my novels. Merry and Happy Christmas. Hope you enjoy. This is a Christmas scene from Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. I don’t think I’ve ever given this to you.
Sorcha ended up attending both of Deirdre’s rehearsals. Deirdre didn’t really need them, she was wonderfully accomplished and sang each piece perfectly. She sounded better than the professional tenor, bass, and alto, Father Malloy had hired. Her vocal range, skills, and clarity were perfect almost ethereal. The chorus, musicians, and the other singers needed the rehearsals. At the end Sorcha, had become more amazed at her friend’s skills.
On Sunday 20 December, everyone traveled to St Mary Aldermary in Bow Lane’s Church in black Bentleys. Bob was the driver for Deirdre, Sorcha, Luna, and Mrs. Calloway. The others followed a little later. Deirdre went early to prepare for her role. Sorcha and Luna found the perfect seats in a front pew and marked off a block of them for the family.
Not long after the rest of the family arrived, Chris MacLeod and Tim Fletcher entered the church with their parents. James Calloway noticed them first and moved toward the back of the church. Lachlann followed just behind him. The sanctuary was already filling, and the crowd that graced it appeared strangely well dressed for even a professional presentation of part one of the Messiah.
Sorcha spotted Tim and Chris at about the same time and ran up the aisle. Luna followed behind her.
Mr. Calloway intercepted the group on one side and Sorcha and Luna on the other. Mr. Calloway put out his hand to an older gentleman behind Chris, “Good evening, John.”
Mr. John MacLeod was a tall handsome Scotsman. His brogue was as pronounced as Mrs. Calloway’s. He wore a dapper suit and stood with a sharp military bearing. The two gentlemen vigorously shook hands, “’Lo James. Kathrin told us about the performance, and Father Malloy provided the tickets. This is my wife, Jane and my son, Christopher.”
Jane MacLeod also spoke with a strong Scottish brogue. She was a tall aristocratic looking woman and wore an elegant designer gown. James touched Jane’s proffered hand and took Chris’, “Christopher, I hoped to make your acquaintance.”
Chris grimaced a little and blushed, “Yes, sir.”
John MacLeod continued, “I think you know Tim Fletcher. This is his wife, Claris and his son, also Timothy.” The older Tim Fletcher wore a less formal tweed suit with patches on the sleeves. He spoke somewhat slowly and deliberately as though he was used to communicating with troops rather than simple office workers. He slouched slightly, but that seemed somewhat affected. A more gentle military bearing than Mr. MacLeod and more akin to James Calloway.
Mrs. Fletcher was a dazzling beauty and wore a less conspicuous dress than Mrs. MacLeod. She smiled very brilliantly.
They all shook hands.
Lachlann moved up and spoke directly to Chris, “Mr. MacLeod, I’m Lachlann from Eton. I wondered who had the courage to take up with my sister.”
Chris gave him a dark glance.
Lachlann put up his hands, “I didn’t mean anything by that. She is my sister, you know.”
Tim had been edging closer to Sorcha.
Mr. MacLeod laughed, “That’s who we hoped to see too—that is your sister. Chris had so many nice things to say about your daughter, James, we wanted to meet her. Thought this was the premier opportunity.”
James ran his fingers through his short hair, “Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until after the performance to greet her.”
John and Jane MacLeod cocked their heads. Chris raised his as if looking over the crowd to spot Deirdre.
James let out a slight chuckle, “She’s singing tonight.”
John MacLeod grinned, “Singing? I knew she shot and fenced. I didn’t know she was also a singer.”
Tim had moved to Sorcha’s side, “Mom and Dad. This is my friend, Sorcha Weir. She was first in shooting for Eton and top student at Wycombe. She is a friend of Ms. Calloway’s.”
Mrs. and Mr. Fletcher shook Sorcha’s hand. Mrs. Fletcher smiled, “I’m very pleased to meet you. Tim said he escorted you to the Eton Annual Ball.”
Sorcha beamed, “He did. Although I was not at my best that evening.”
Mrs. Fletcher put her hand to her cheek, “Not at your best?”
Tim immediately answered, “She was a little under the weather, but we danced all evening. She’s Ms. Calloway’s best friend.”
James motioned to the front of the church, “We saved seats near the front. Come quickly, I think they’re about to start.”
Everyone made their way back to the front and crammed into the pews. Mrs. Calloway and Sorcha hadn’t planned for so many people, but they had saved two pews. Sorcha ended up between Tim and his mother. Chris seated himself next to Lachlann with Flora on the other side and his father beside him. Everyone waited with anticipation.
The conductor entered first to applause followed by the singers. Deirdre wore a long blue gown that came from Christy’s. Mrs. Calloway and Luna helped her pick it out. It was somewhat form fitting and showed her off to perfection. The chorus was dressed in robes. Another older woman stood next to Deirdre. Two gentlemen stood on either side of them. The older woman was a little rotund and dressed in a knee length gown. The gentlemen wore tuxedos. Mr. MacLeod wanted to ask just what part Deirdre was singing. By then the music had started. They all knew what part Deirdre had when they reached the sixth piece: But who may abide the day of His coming. Deirdre’s pure and beautiful voice filled the entire church. It was pitch perfect without a single waiver. Each word flowed from her mouth as though it was the sound of an angel singing.
Flora groused quietly, “They gave her all the parts they could…”
Everyone ignored her. Their eyes were locked on Deirdre. The sound was ethereal and rose above the music as though her human voice formed the most excellent of sounds.
Chris’ mouth fell open. His father and mother’s mouths fell open. Sorcha let out a huge grin and took Tim’s hand. That brought an even larger smile to Tim’s face.
In scenes four and five, Deirdre became the star. She sang every piece as though Handel had written the music just for her. Her voice accentuated and hovered over them all. In spite of the glorious and wonderful message of part one of the Messiah, everyone felt their eyes dampen. Everyone felt an uplift in their hearts and souls. Sorcha unconsciously squeezed Tim’s hand. She looked for lights and listened for sounds from the apse. She thought she saw something. A halo of light seemed to illuminate Deirdre’s features. Sorcha thought it looked like something other than the spotlight that was trained on her.
At the last chorus, His Yoke is Easy, the lights continued to shine and everyone rose with grandiose applause, but that wasn’t the end. The musicians then sang the Hallelujah chorus with the soloists joining in.
At the end, Father Malloy waited a few moments then jumped onto the stage. He went to the soloists and held their hands aloft. The audience clapped furiously, especially for Deirdre. He noted the conductor, orchestra, and chorus. Finally he announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, we invite you to a reception in the parish hall. You may greet our singers and our musicians there.”
The singers and musicians left the stage and the audience began to move toward the parish hall.
At first, none of her family or friends could get close to Deirdre. She was surrounded by her well-wishers and fans including the other musicians and singers. Everyone in the parish knew her, but many from outside the parish had come to hear her sing. Father Malloy had made very clear who he invited as the soprano. The other soloists were well known in the London philharmonic community. They had their fans, and they had sung with Deirdre before. They were a little put out that a girl of fifteen could rival their skills, but no one could debate her talent and stage presence.
When they could finally get to Deirdre, Chris and his mother and father were the first on hand. Chris stepped forward, “Ms. Calloway, you were unbelievable.”
Deirdre was suddenly looking for some place to hide. She put out her hand with a deep blush, “I didn’t really want anyone from school to know.”
Mr. MacLeod was all smiles, “Not to know what. I’ve never heard a better Messiah.”
Chris grinned, “Ms. Calloway, this is my father and mother.”
Deidre tentatively put out her hand, “Good evening.”
Sorcha still held Tim’s hand. She gushed, “That was smashing.”
Tim smiled too, “I knew you could sing from the formal, but I had no idea either. When do we get another performance?”
Deirdre let her hands dangle, “I really didn’t plan on any others.”
Flora rolled her eyes, “There you have the next diva of song, and she doesn’t want to sing.”
Deirdre’s eyes flashed, “Shut it, Flora.”
Mrs. Calloway stepped forward, “Deirdre sang at the request of Father Calloway. She sounded wonderful, but she is focusing on other activities at the moment.”
The others agreed with Mrs. Calloway. They didn’t stop their praise, and Deirdre had to put up with it for the rest of the evening. Even her brothers added their approval.
Chris whispered to her, “I don’t know why you don’t want to sing, but I’m sure you’ll tell me later.”
Chris acted as Deirdre’s escort for the rest of the evening. His parents and he really didn’t have any opportunities to speak to her privately. At the end of the reception, they all said their goodbyes. Mrs. MacLeod took Deirdre’s hand, “Ms. Calloway, we would like to get better acquainted with you. Would you and your parents consider attending our Christmas party on the evening of the twenty-third? I know that isn’t much advanced warning, but we would very much like to entertain you. I’m sure Chris would too.”
Deirdre glanced at her mother then her father.
Mrs. Calloway nodded, “We would be pleased to attend your party.”
Deidre almost said, “I’m not really who I seem.” But she kept her mouth shut. She also nodded.
Mrs. MacLeod seemed very pleased, “Very well, I’ll expect you all on the twenty-third.”
Mrs. Calloway asked, “Would you like to have Deidre to yourself that evening?”
“Yes, yes we would, but we have a party planned. I’m certain we can accommodate you all. I’ll send an invitation by courier. It is a Christmas formal.”
Mrs. Calloway smiled, “Very well.”
Deirdre saw them to the church door. Chris held her hand all the way to it. Deirdre wanted a kiss, but she had no opportunity. She shook Mr. and Mrs. MacLeod’s hand and saw them off.
In the Bentley with Sorcha, Luna, and Mrs. Calloway back to Rosewood, Deirdre snarked, “Who invited Chris and his parents and Tim and his too?”
Mrs. Calloway turned her a smug expression, “Father Malloy promised tickets for your friends. Your father and I wanted to meet this young man. We already know his parents.”
“So you asked them. You are going to ruin my time at Wycombe mother.”
“Ruin it? Whatever do you mean?”
“If it gets out about my singing…”
Luna grinned, “Perhaps that will be one of your electives.”
Sorcha was nodding her approval.
Deirdre clammed up.
Sorcha remarked, “I thought it was like a fairytale. Your boyfriend saw you sing perfectly.”
“Everything is a faerytale to you.”
That brought a slight frown from Sorcha, but it didn’t seem to dampen her enthusiasm.
Luna and Mrs. Calloway just shared a look of approval.
This is a fun novel that I hope is published soon.
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