Writing – part xx999 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, The Second Mission  

25 September 2022, Writing – part xx999 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, The Second Mission  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

The Second Mission is one of my published science fiction novels.  In some ways I consider it a historical and not really science fiction at all.  The reason is because it is about ancient Greece and Socrates.

If you haven’t noticed, my historical fiction attempts to bring the history to the modern reader.  That’s what I also tried to do in The Second Mission.. The Second Mission is about the second mission of humanity into time.  The mission was planned and developed over ten years.  The time traveler was Sophia, a woman of the future whose mission was to live in and record the last year of Socrates.  The reason for this mission was to determine the accuracy of the Socratic Dialogs and the general accuracy of ancient literature. 

The problem was that Alan Fisher was caught in a time node at exactly the same plae, but an earlier time and was taken back into time with Sophia and the second mission.  Alan Fisher found himself the observer and helper of Sophia in the world of 400 BC.

That’s the setup and the basic novel.  The telic flaw is to return to his time, that is Alan Fisher.  The telic flaw is really to complete the second mission into time. 

What makes this novel really worthwhile and fun is that I included retranslation s of the last five Socratic Dialogs plus most of a couple of Greek plays.  Yes, I do ancient Greek for fun and translations.      

So, you should ask, what is the climax.  That is obvious—it is the death of Socrates.  The problem was to make this filled with action and conflict.  Some philosopher dude drinking poison isn’t all that exciting, so I ginned it up.

During the end of the event of Socrates’ death, Sophia runs out of electronic memory and Alan must run back to her house and return before the death of Socrates.  This puts in action.  I added some conflict when Alan is confronted on the road by bandits.  That jazzed up the climax, plus there is a trick end.  In any case, that’s exactly what I mean when I write, we as authors must develop the climax with conflict and action.

The Second Mission is a perfect example of this.

I’ll look at Sister of Light next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xx998 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Shadowed Vale  

24 September 2022, Writing – part xx998 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Shadowed Vale  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Shadowed Vale follows Regia Anglorum, Twilight Lamb and Athelstan Cying as a science fiction novel based on the far future worldview I created in The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox (Honor series).  Shadowed Vale, Regia Anglorum, Twilight Lamb, and Athelstan Cying are set in a further future base on the universe of my published science fiction series.  This is a very unusual and interesting novel, but all science fiction should be.

At the end of Regia Anglorum, Nickita has saved her parents—kind of.  Actually, her parents have already worked out everything with the people they found on Acier, but Nickita’s “rescue” becomes a turning point for certain activities and people on the Family Trader Regia Anglorum

Shadowed Vale continues the story from this point.  We see Nickita making friends, helping her friends, and helping the ship change some of its policies to accommodate those who are not as fitted for the science and operations sphere.  I’ll explain what this means.

The Family Traders are based on a capitalistic and market based system.  Their people and crews are the same.  They need mostly operational people: leaders, astrogators, medical, life support, engineering, traders, services, and security.  They don’t need many creative people: artists, inventors, writers, musicians, and all.  This becomes a problem in many ways.  Primarily, if a person can’t fit into the mold of the Family Trader ship and family, they are encouraged to leave—it is considered the best for the ship and the person.  Nickita thinks differently.

The Regia Anglorum has a host of very talented young people—many of them are in Nickita’s class of specials.  One particularly is a song writer and singer.  The ship and Family Traders are proud of their singer/song writer, but except for services, there isn’t much place for her in the ship.  Nickita, turns the songs and singing into product.  Likewise, another friend is an inventor.  Unfortunately, inventing is looked at as a secondary activity—it’s good for the ship, but secondary to productivity.  Nickita brings an important focus and means for production and acknowledgment for inventing to the ship. Both of these changes brings product and productivity to the Regia Anglorum where nothing existed before.

This is all covered in Shadowed Vale.  Meanwhile, Den and Natana get Nickita involved in their investigation of the Athenian Charter, and eventually Alex joins with them.  Alex is Nickita’s inventor friend.  He invents some illegal psy devices for her, and they collaborate on some legal psy devices.  This brings both of them, Nickita and Alex into the sphere of technology at the university level.  This is also where the climax development gets exciting.

Through the novel Regia Anglorum, we learn of Family Trader ships that have gone missing.  About one a year.  In Shadowed Vale, the Family Trader of some of Nickita’s friend’s grandparent goes missing.  In fact, the ship is the Shadowed Vale.  Meanwhile, Alex and Nickita are getting bigger, and Den and Natana’s family is getting bigger.  Nickita has a shadow of her own, her younger sister. 

Alex and Nickita are invited to give a week-long seminar on their inventions to a university on the planet Nior.  At the end of this seminar, they are kidnapped by the Athenian Charter for their psyonic inventions.  Nickita must use her astrogation skills to figure a way for them to capture the ship and escape.  They do capture the ship, but find their way to an unknown planet with six Family Traders in orbit around it.  These are the hijacked ships. The problem is that the Athenian Charter captured the ships using psy and have a psy broadcast device in orbit that prevents the Family Traders from returning to their ships. 

This is a pretty involved novel, but that is the climax development and the conflict and action in the climax.  Nickita and Alex must go into orbit to intercept and turn off the psy device.  Alex is injured, but they secure the ships and begin to get the Family Traders back onto their ships.  Nickita has saved the day.

I should have written before, the telic flaw of this novel is the mystery of the missing Family Traders.  The resolution is in the climax, of course.  The entire rising action supports this mystery by building it up while Nickita and Alex, Natana, and Den go on with their lives.  The revelation of the protagonist move apace while in the background, the mystery of the missing Family Traders is a constant issue. 

I should also mention, the inventions and actions of Nickita support the buildup to the kidnapping and finding the missing Family Traders.  Since the Athenian Charter is behind it all, the psy inventions, use of psy, the missing ships, and the kidnapping are all connected.  I should mention again, the goal of the Athenian Charter is to influence the Galactic Republic through psy and politics.  The Family Traders are the most vulnerable part of the political structure.  Each Family Trader ship equals a planet for voting and influence in the Galactic Republic, thus the control or loss of a small number of the ships directly affects the control of the government. 

I really should have continued in the proper order of writing, but I didn’t—I put in the last of the Ghost Ship Chronicles, Shadowed Vale, that I have written—there is a fifth, but I haven’t written it yet.  I really need a new publisher.  I’m not very encouraged, so I’m writing just what I like and want at the moment.  I’ll eventually get to that. 

I’ll look at The Second Mission next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xx997 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Regia Anglorum

23 September 2022, Writing – part xx997 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Regia Anglorum  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Regia Anglorum follows Twilight Lamb and Athelstan Cying as a science fiction novel based on the far future worldview I created in The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox (Honor series).  Regia Anglorum, Twilight Lamb, and Athelstan Cying are set in a further future base on the universe of my published science fiction series.  This is a very unusual and interesting novel, but all science fiction should be.

At the end of Twilight Lamb, Den and Natana have captured the ship Regia Anglorum.  Regia Anglorum begins with their installation as the Captain and First Officer (Astogator) of the Regia Anglorum, the newest ship in the Family Trader fleet.  Their first port call is El Rashid, a planet that has been off the normal Family Trader routes for many years.  

El Rashid is a very unhappy place.  It is a fully socialistic communal society where the people live lackluster lives under gov control.  The only bright spot in El Rashid is Carnival.  Carnival is outside the major cities of El Rashid and a place of illicit activities and food availability.  Carnival is also a pretty horrible place in spite of the freedom allowed the citizens of the area. 

In Carnival are abandoned children who try to keep clear of the creeps and snatchers.  These people abuse or capture children for the illicit activities or for the houses of Carnival.  Few children can remain on the streets without being captured as workers or victims.  Nickita is one child who has been able to keep clear of the creeps and snatchers. 

Nickita is a special talent.  She is fully psionic.  Her mother was Llama, a singer in Carnival, and her father was a Family Trader.  The Family Traders are psionic masters of the time.  The Kern families of the Family Traders are especially sensitive. 

Nickita has been living in the wild of Carnival on the streets since her mother died.  She has little other hope in life until Natana finds her.

Natana on shore leave from the Regia Anglorum notes Nickita and contacts her.  Natana is able to convince Nickita to join their family and their ship family.  The rest of the novel, Regia Anglorum, is Nickita’s integration and new life on the ship.  Of course we need to develop some conflict and action.

Regia Anglorum is one of my favorite novels because it deals with the problems of integration of a young person into a new and unusual society.  Nickita is small and undernourished as well as parasite and diseased due to her life on the streets of Carnival.  Because of her background, she is different than the ship born children who are normal sized and lived.  On the other hand, Nickita is a super genius psionic who has synthesis abilities.  She can comprehend and synthesize solutions. 

Unexpectedly, the ship’s children do have some difficult problems especially for those whose special skills are based on the arts and creativity.  This problem has been one of the Family Traders since the beginning.  The telic flaw of the novel is basically how Nickita fits into the society and culture of the Family Traders.  This is a very entertaining telic flaw, but as I’ve written, we need conflict and action for the climax.  The conflict and the action needs to be equal to the expected level of the novel.  What I mean by that is the degree of the action and conflict must match the novel itself. 

In the other novels, the ultimate antagonist was the Athenian Charter.  That should be true in this novel, also the degree of conflict and action should match that overall circumstance of the climaxes we saw in the other novels.  So we need to get creative.

In the other novels, Den and Natana’s actions and explorations led to their action and conflict with the Athenian Charter before.  In Regia Anglorum, we should expect the same thing.  Thus, in Regia Anglorum, the ship travels to various ports of call for trading.  In this trading and the planets, Den and Natana are researching and investigating the Athenian Charter.  When they get to Acier, they are confronted with a new problem—that’s the action and conflict I use in the climax.

Nickita, must use her skills to rescue her new parents from, not the Athenian Charter, but a new group that Den and Natana discover on Acier.  This group has been isolated and is made of psionic experts, the remnants of the Psy Training Corps of the Human Galactic Empire.  This is a great potential asset and allies for Den, Natana, and now Nickita’s struggle against the Athenian Charter.

That’s the climax, there is a conflict and action which directly allows Nickita to fully integrate into the crew and with her peers.  That isn’t the end of the story.  It continues in Shadowed Vale.   

I’ll look at Shadowed Vale next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xxx002 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Sister of Darkness  

22 September 2022, Writing – part xxx002 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Sister of Darkness  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Sister of Darkness is the next novel in the Aegypt series (Ancient Light series) after Sister of Light.  In this novel Paul is called to service in Norway during World War Two and Leora and her children must evacuate to England from southern France. 

This is a novel filled with intrigue and adventure in the middle of the war.  I’ll give you the short version.  Paul and Leora’s eldest daughter is attracted to the dark tablet from the previous book.  Leora hid it on the roof of their house in France, but their daughter Lumiere took it.  She is the prescient Goddess of Darkness since the Goddess of Darkness, Leila, has lost her physical body.  The novel is a conflict between the Goddess of Light and Darkness with the influx of Lumiere as a pawn and reluctant trainee of the Goddess of Darkness.  Lumiere is attracted to her role, but she is not evil like the current Goddess of Darkness.

Here’s the point.  Lumiere and the black tablet are kidnapped by the Goddess of Darkness from England to Germany—the German Neues Museum to be specific.  Lumiere is placed in the same prison that Paul was once in.  Further, Paul and Leora agree to become spies, first in Vichy France, then in Berlin, for the Allies, but to find their daughter.  Meanwhile, the Goddess of Darkness is using Hitler to enact her desired polices and events—like the murder of the Jewish people.  This story goes back to the original Aegypt.

The conflict and the action in this novel should be evident and obvious.  War provides that, but Ill be more specific. 

Paul and Leora must confront the Goddess of Darkness—they know she is working through Hitler and Eva Braun.  They don’t realize that Lumiere is being forced to act through Leila.  Thus, we have a circumstance where Paul and Leora must confront Leila through Hitler, and they also must confront Lumiere.  Lumiere helps them, but the Goddess of Darkness is not destroyed—she escapes to the east and Russia. 

In the end, Paul and Leora believing Lumiere to be dead escape Berlin after Hitler’s death.  Lumiere is not dead, but has inherited the tablet and the servants of the Goddess of Darkness.  In the end, she sets off to defeat Leila. 

The telic flaw of this novel is the mystery of the loss of Lumiere and her recovery, or not becomes the resolution of the telic flaw.  In the climax, Lumiere finds her purpose and herself, but she is not saved back to her family or past life.  It’s a setup for the next novel. 

I’ll look at Shadow of Darkness next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xx996 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Twilight Lamb  

21 September 2022, Writing – part xx996 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Twilight Lamb  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Twilight Lamb follows Athelstan Cying as a science fiction novel based on the far future worldview I created in The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox (Honor series).  Twilight Lamb and Athelstan Cying are set in a further future base on the universe of my published science fiction series.  This is a very unusual and interesting novel, but all science fiction should be.

At the end of Athelstan Cying, Den and Natana are married and Den has been accepted by the ship and crew in the roles of Journeyman in three fields.  With this, he can potentially pay back his debt.  He is still on survival rations, but that’s just part of the fun and entertainment in the novel. 

Also, at the end of Athelstan Cying we learn about a secret political organization that is using psionics to influence crime and potentially politics in the Galactic Republic.  This organization now know about Den and Natana, but they want to learn more about this secretive group.  This becomes an important plot and driver of the rest of the novels.  Thus, we have an antagonist, a conflict, and a reason for action in the next four novels.

Den and Natana begin in Twilight Lamb with research on their nemesis, the Athenian Charter.  This results in some data to propel the rest of this novel and some others, but also gets them in hot water.  We see various planets where Den and Natana conduct their investigations, but in the end, the Athenian Charter comes to them.

As I noted, the Athenian Charter know Den and Natana have their number, also, the need to control the Family Trader ships.  Part of the development of the Galactic Republic was through the power of the Galactic Trade Consortium.  This group was controlled by the Empire and the Emperor in the past, but with the demise of the Human Galactic Empire, the Trade became Family Traders independently controlled by their own trade group.  These huge ships demanded to be part of the planetary control in the Galactic Republic.  Each Family Trader Ship is considered the equivalent of each planet in the Galactic Republic.  This gives great power to the Family Traders, but also a balance of power since the Family Traders control the intragalactic trade. 

The end result is that the Athenian Charter needs to control the rogue psychic power of Den and Natana as well as the Family Traders.  They have a plan which comes to fruition in Twilight Lamb. 

The brand new liner, Regia Anglorum has been released on its maiden run—a run directly across the flight path of the Twilight Lamb.  On board the Regia Anglorum a mutiny, the work of the Athenian Charter has taken place, and the ship’s reactors are failing.  The mutineers from the Regia Anglorum use this emergency to begin brining the passengers on board the Twilight Lamb,  Fortunately, Den and Natana along with the other members of their Emergency Response Team have gone over to the Regia Anglorum to try to save the ship.  That’s the climax, I’ll explain more, but what is the telic flaw?

The telic flaw of Twilight Lamb is the conflict with the Athenian Charter.  Den and Natana must investigate, find, and defeat their initial salvo against them and their Family Trader ship.  Thus the climax.

Of course, this climax is filled with action and conflict.  It also provides powerful incentives and rewards for Den and Natana in the eyes of their people and the Galactic Republic.  It sets in place the foundation for the next novel, Regia Anglorum

I did write I would give more about the climax.  What else is there, but Den and Natana with their team figure how to take back the Regia Anglorum as well as a plan to take back the Twilight Lamb.  It’s a great climax and great scenes.  It’s a Romantic plot—the resolution looks impossible until it is inevitable.    

I’ll look at Regia Anglorum next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xx995 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Athelstan Cying  

20 September 2022, Writing – part xx995 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Athelstan Cying  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Athelstan Cying is is a science fiction novel based on the far future worldview I created in The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox (Honor series).  Athelstan Cying is set in a further future base on the universe of my published science fiction series.  This is a very unusual and interesting novel, but all science fiction should be.

In Athelstan Cying, the soul a prince who was breed for psychic powers in the late Empire has been cogent on a derelict spaceship, Athelstan Cying for a thousand years.  The Family Trader ship, Twilight Lamb comes upon the Athelstan Cying on its cargo route.  When the Family Traders enter the ship to take it for salvage and as a rescue operation, a thousand years too late, the Captain’s son, a failure, disobeys his orders and explores the crew area of the Athelstan Cying.  One of the cabins was breached when the dead occupants escaped a prison planet, and the Captian’s son, Den Protania, opens the sealed door and is whisked into space.  Part of the ship impales his space suit and him. 

The being who is on the Athelstan Cying tries to save and protect Den Protania, but ends up trapped in Den’s body.  That is only the beginning of the problems for Den Protania and the being who is now Den Protania.

Den Protania is a failure on the Twilight Lamb.  He has been wracking up a debt he can’t pay back, and the cost of his rescue and medical treatments break the bank.  What is worse is Natana Kern, the ship’s youngest Astrogator and a Psychic Psychologist has ben made his mental helper to help him recover and decide what he will do to pay back his debt and repair his life on the Twilight Lamb.  Natana and Den are enemies since Den rejected her and made her look like a fool back when Den was trying to make Astrogation his field.  He failed there. 

I know this is a complex explanation, but this is a very involved novel.  Here’s what happens in a nutshell.  The new Den wants to succeed in this new body and place.  He has flashbacks which suddenly Natana is caught up in and experiences with him.  Natana loved the old Den and begins to love the new Den.  They must keep this great and unbelievable secret, that Den has the mind of an ancient person and psychic master.  Den trades Natana psychic instruction for teaching. 

The world of the Family Traders is market and capitalism based.  Den must work to find his strength and position in different fields to succeed.  Meanwhile Natana is falling in love with him.

The telic flaw in this novel is how Den Protania will reduce his debt and gain his place in the Twilight Lamb.  It turns very quickly to a love story where Den’s success is tied directly to Natana.  The climax is turned into action and conflict when the reactors of the Athelstan Cying in the cargo bay of the huge Twilight Lamb run out of control.  Den and Natana must save the Twilight Lamb by pulling the ship out of the cargo bay.  After they save the ship, the real climax of the novel occurs when Natana tries unsuccessfully to seduce Den.  If she succeeded, Den believes it would ruin his and her reputations and end the life they share on board. 

That’s the climax.  The rising action supports this through the build up of their love and support for one another through the entire novel.  The falling action propels them into marriage and then into the next novel.

I’ll look at Twilight Lamb next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

Posted in Daemon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing – part xx994 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Centurion  

19 September 2022, Writing – part xx994 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Centurion  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Centurion is a historical novel based on the Roman Centurion who crucified Christ.  My goal was to start with the birth of this man and show his rise through the ranks of the Legion to become a Centurion.  I did about five years of research to write this novel.  The name of the Centurion who crucified Christ was traditionally Abenadar.  I made him a half-Roman, the child of a concubine bride who was abandoned by her Roman lover.

The novel focuses on the Centurion Abenadar—the telic flaw is the reconciliation of his Jewish and Roman backgrounds.  In the end, this was the Centurion who stated at the cross, “Surely this was a son of God.”  Anyone who would make any kind of statement like this would have had to come to some immense realization in his life. 

This is an action and conflict packed novel.  It fits itself directly into an action and conflict packed climax.  Of course, because this is an historical novel, we know the climax of this history is pretty obvious.  This is one of the reasons historical novels are usually easy to get to the climax.  Well I should write, the climax is obvious, getting to the climax is really never easy for the inexperienced writer.  It gets easier with time and experience.  It also gets better and better with time and experience. 

As I noted, the climax is the crucifixion and then the resurrection of Christ.  The rest of the novel isn’t much about this specific event, but the rising action is all about revealing the protagonist to this climax.

What you do with the climax is what makes every novel unique even the historical.  The rising action is really what makes the novel sing because a Romantic plot is pretty much impossible.  That is, unless you design the telic flaw such that the resolution is not obviously inevitable.  In fact, I’d argue that the resolution of the telic flaw of this novel in the climax looks impossible until it is inevitable because although the telic flaw is resolved in the climax, the climax is not entirely about the telic flaw, especially in this case. 

The telic flaw of this novel is about the Centurion Abenadar and his statement.  That statement is directly connected to the crucifixion, but not necessarily determined by the crucifixion.  In other words, we only know what the Centurion said, not why he said it.  In this novel, I give you 400 pages of rising action to explain how Abenadar came to make his statement.

That’s what historical fiction is really all about—making the reader live in the times and places described and covered by the novel.

I’ll look at Athelstan Cying next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xx993 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Aegypt  

18 September 2022, Writing – part xx993 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Aegypt  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Aegypt is is another mystery/horror novel.  I wrote it back in the 1980s and sent it around to potential publishers then.  I think the movie, the Mummy was borrowed from it.  It was my ideas first.  Plus, the movie missed all the entertaining stuff. 

Ultimately, Aegypt is about cultures, people, and history.  I wanted to bring a person from the past into the near present—my plan was to have mummies under a spell come back to full life.  Thus, the Goddess of Light and Goddess of Darkness were born.  In Aegypt, they were chased out of Egypt when Moses with God destroyed the Egyptian gods and took the Children of Israel out of Egypt.  The goddesses went to Tunisia where they built a temple over a tomb and conquered the people of the land.  The people rebelled and the Goddess of Darkness cast a spell to turn she, her sister, the Goddess of Light, and their followers into mummies who could be reborn in the future.  The people of the land destroyed the temple and the goddesses lay in their tomb for about 3500 years. 

The French Foreign Legion built a fort or took over a fort, Fort Saint right next to the site of the temple and tomb. Lieutenant Paul Bolang found the ancient temple’s foundation and invited an archeological investigation.  They found the tomb and released the Goddess of Light. 

The entire novel hinges around the hieroglyphics used in the tomb.  They are non-standard and not readable using common knowledge of the time of Egyptian hieroglyphics.  Paul works out their meanings, and communicates with the Goddess of Light.  The telic flaw of the novel is the mystery of the hieroglyphics and ultimately, the identities of the Goddess of Light and the Goddess of Darkness.  This novel is entirely about conflict and action.

The problem with the tomb is that the Goddess of Darkness is killing the workers and then the soldiers in the Foreign Legion Fort.  This is the action and the conflict is between the two goddesses plus good and evil. 

The climax of this novel is pretty straight forward—it must be when the Goddess of Darkness is finally able to complete the spell and be released from the tomb.  Paul, the Goddess of Light, and the archeologists must fight her.

Aegypt lays the foundation for six other novels.  All of these stem from the rebirth of the Goddess of Light and the Goddess of Darkness into the world.  We’ll look at these in order of their writing.  By the way, Aegypt was published and the next two novels were under contract when my publisher went out of business.  That is sad because these are very entertaining and exciting novels that integrate history and the supernatural in a very logical and powerful way.

I’ll look at Centurion next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xx992 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Antebellum  

17 September 2022, Writing – part xx992 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, Antebellum  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

Antebellum is a mystery/horror novel about a plantation house that disappeared during the Civil War.  Heather Roberts is the namesake for her long dead relative who disappeared with the house during the Civil War.  Is she really dead?

Okay, basically in Antebellum we have a mystery about a house and a person.  Heather’s main job is getting together enough money to go to college.  Her side gig is this mystery.  There is a telic flaw here that deals with Heather and earning enough money to pay for school and Heather discovering the mystery of her family and heritage.  The two come together in the novel as part of the telic flaw resolution, but even though this is a mystery—it is not really an action packed conflict and mystery.  This is one of those novels I was writing about—the telic flaw is not really tied closely to conflict or action.

In fact, Antebellum’s telic flaw is really about a type of redemption.  Heather will be redeemed by being the first of her family to go to college and succeed.  She will also be redeemed when she discovers the mystery of her relative and the old plantation house. 

How did I build conflict and action into this novel?  The novel is set in 1965 with incidents going back to 1860 to 1865.  It has scenes where Heather is forced to view the past about her family and the house.  This brings in some degree of action.  The other conflict in the novel is the small conflict with Heather and her family.  She gets mostly support, but that is a little conflict. 

The major conflict in the novel is between the past and the present.  The past Heather needs some type of reconciliation while the present Heather is just trying to make ends meet.

The climax of this novel is placed in a scene that reenacts the Battle for Madison in Louisiana.  This was a real battle that happened in this area during the Civil War.  Heather is caught up in the battle and ends up in the house.  That gives some real action and some real conflict to the climax.  The build up from the rising action is the scenes from the past that lead Heather deeper and deeper into the house.  In fact, she is invited into each room of the plantation house to see some important event there.  That is more of the rising action.

Antebellum is a great example of turning a telic flaw without must conflict or action into a climax with great conflict and action.  I guess I could have made it less like that, but why—it really fit the novel and ideas in it.

I’ll look at Aegypt next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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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Writing – part xx991 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, The End of Honor  

16 September 2022, Writing – part xx991 Writing a Novel, We are Refining the Protagonist, Writing Development, Crafting the Climax, Examples, The End of Honor  

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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. 

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:  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. 

I’ve worked through creativity and the protagonist.  The ultimate point is that if you properly develop your protagonist, you have created your novel.  This moves us on to plots and initial scenes.  As I noted, if you have a protagonist, you have a novel.  The reason is that a protagonist comes with a telic flaw, and a telic flaw provides a plot and theme.  If you have a protagonist, that gives you a telic flaw, a plot, and a theme.  I will also argue this gives you an initial scene as well. 

So, we worked extensively on the protagonist.  I gave you many examples great, bad, and average.  Most of these were from classics, but I also used my own novels and protagonists as examples.  Here’s my plan.

  1. The protagonist comes with a telic flaw – the telic flaw isn’t necessarily a flaw in the protagonist, but rather a flaw in the world of the protagonist that only the Romantic protagonist can resolve.
  2. The telic flaw determines the plot.
  3. The telic flaw determines the theme.
  4. The telic flaw and the protagonist determines the initial scene.
  5. The protagonist and the telic flaw determines the initial setting.
  6. Plot examples from great classic plots.
  7. Plot examples from mediocre classic plots.
  8. Plot examples from my novels.
  9. Creativity and the telic flaw and plots.
  10. Writer’s block as a problem of continuing the plot.

Every great or good protagonist comes with their own telic flaw.  I showed how this worked with my own writing and novels.  Let’s go over it in terms of the plot.

This is all about the telic flaw.  Every protagonist and every novel must come with a telic flaw.  They are the same telic flaw.  That telic flaw can be external, internal or both.

We found that a self-discovery telic flaw or a personal success telic flaw can potentially take a generic plot.  We should be able to get an idea for the plot purely from the protagonist, telic flaw and setting.  All of these are interlaced and bring us our plot.

For a great plot, the resolution of the telic flaw has to be a surprise to the protagonist and to the reader.  This is both the measure and the goal.  As I noted before, for a great plot, the author needs to make the telic flaw resolution appear to be impossible, but then it becomes inevitable in the climax.  There is much more to this. 

I evaluated the plots from the list of 112 classics and categorized them according to the following scale:

Overall (o) – These are the three overall plots we defined above: redemption, achievement, and revelation.

Achievement (a) – There are plots that fall under the idea of the achievement plot. 

Quality(q) – These are plots based on a personal or character quality.

Setting(s) – These are plots based on a setting.

Item(i) – These are plots based on an item.

I looked at each novel and pulled out the plot types, the telic flaw, plotline, and the theme of the novel.  I didn’t make a list of the themes, but we identified the telic flaw as internal and external and by plot type.  This generally gives the plotline. 

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51%

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%

Item (i)

1.     Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%

So, what is it about writer’s block?  Many if not most authors and writers will complain about writer’s block.  When I was a younger author, I would get writer’s block very often, but I’ve discovered something very important about writer’s block.  Writer’s block is a function of the plot and not the protagonist.  The correction or resolution of writer’s block comes from centering our writing on the protagonist instead of the plot.  This is what I’d really like to get into as a topic.  Here is an outline of how we will approach this.

  1. Problems with a plot focus
  2. Correcting with a protagonist focus
  3. How to figure out a plot with a protagonist focus
  4. Writing development
  5. Fixing or blowing through problems with writing
  6. How to write to prevent writer’s block
  7. The Scene Outline
  8. Exercises
  9. Examples
  10. Conclusions

I could easily write: if you develop a great protagonist, the writing will come.  That’s basically what I do, but I know that doesn’t work for the inexperienced and the young writer. 

Writing is really exhausting when you are first starting.  The problem, as I see it is getting into the rhythm of the writing.  When a writer is in the rhythm, the writing seems to come easily, when they aren’t, who knows what you might get. 

When I was a younger writer, I found many times I had no idea where I was going or what was going on in my writing.  Today, I realize the problem was with my protagonist, and also with my plot development.  Let’s lump those together and call them writing development. 

Below, I’ve left up the outline for the protagonist.  This is what you need to develop to build a proper protagonist.

  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:
    1. Telic flaw
    1. Approximate age
    1. Approximate social degree
    1. Sex
  3. Refine the protagonist
    1. Physical description
    1. Background – history of the protagonist
      1. Birth
      1. Setting
      1. Life
      1. Education
      1. Work
      1. Profession
      1. Family
    1. Setting – current
      1. Life
      1. Setting
      1. Work
    1. Name
  4. Refine the details of the protagonist
    1. Emotional description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Mental description (never to be shared directly)
    1. Likes and dislikes (never to be shared directly)
  5. Telic flaw resolution
    1. Changes required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
      1. Physical changes
      1. Emotional changes
      1. Mental changes
    1. Alliances required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Enemies required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Plots required for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw
    1. Obstacles that must be overcome for the protagonist to resolve the telic flaw

Now, if you slavishly follow this outline for the protagonist, it will not guarantee you a great or even a good protagonist.  What it will give you is a protagonist detailed enough to write about.  I’ve covered the idea of the great protagonist before.  I’ll state again, and you should review what I’ve written, you need a good Romantic protagonist. 

The protagonist is developed simultaneously, in my mind with the initial scene.  There are other means to begin your writing development, but I don’t, and I’ve shown you the pitfalls I’ve discovered when using other methods or starting places.  That doesn’t mean you can’t come at this writing development from another standpoint.    

Here are the four, in order of precedence, means of approaching the initial scene.  I have used all four in published works.  I recommend only the first two.  The others can work, but they are not as good at producing a great initial scene.  This is the first step, in my book, to writing development.  As I wrote, it doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this is where writing development begins.  The list:  

  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

We are writing about writing development.  You must start somewhere, and it might as well be the initial scene.

The purpose of the initial scene is to sell your novel.  The purpose of the initial scene in novel development is to sell your novels, but also to set the protagonist, the telic flaw, the setting, and potentially the antagonist and the protagonist’s helper.

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)
    1. Research as required
    1. Develop the initial setting
    1. Develop the characters
    1. 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 – conflict and action resolve the telic flaw
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. Write the dénouement scene

If you notice, the steps I use in the development of a novel include quite a bit about the initial scene.  Once you get past the initial scene, I think the rest of the novel is relatively easy to write.  You might not have this opinion, but I do think a strong initial scene, a great protagonist, and a great telic flaw makes all the difference.  That’s not to say you won’t know where to go next—that’s writer’s block in a nutshell. 

So where do we go from the initial scene.  Let me repeat the scene development outline below:

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

With an initial scene, or any scene for that matter, we have an output.  We take that output to be the input of the next scene.  With an initial scene, you have a beginning, but we have to move on to the rising action.

I know, the problem is the creative and not really anything else.  If you can’t get the creative together, you really do have a problem.  Let’s look at these elements:

  1. Input
  2. Initial setting
  3. Creative elements
  4. Plots
  5. Telic flaw
  6. Telic flaw resolution
  7. Tension
  8. Release

For writing a scene, we have this 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

The scene is everything in a novel.  I wish I had understood this when I began to write.  It would have really helped me.  I think this is the overall key to solving the problem of writer’s block.  I don’t get writer’s block because I know where everything is theoretically going.  If you are writing scenes using the ideas I’ve expressed, you should too.

This is, after all, the main problem of writer’s block, not knowing where you are going—or intend to go.  I have other solutions for you in these cases, but I think it is worthwhile to look at the rising action in a novel.

I’m not certain I wanted to get to the climax yet, but the climax is a very important part of the novel.  Let’s define the climax—I already wrote:  the climax is the resolution of the telic flaw of the novel.  Since the telic flaw belongs to the protagonist, it is also the resolution of the telic flaw for the protagonist.

I’ve come to the point where I think I should provide some examples of climax and the telic flaw from my novels.  I’ll start with the earliest and move to the latest.  The first novel is A Season of Honor

This novel happens to be the third novel of the Honor (Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox) series.  Without going into great detail, I’ll try to use the following to describe the novel and how the climax works.

  1. Telic flaw of the novel
  2. Climax development
    1. Action
    1. Conflict
    1. Other
  3. Climax development in the rising action  

The End of Honor is about a man whose love ends in the death of his fiancée and starts an intragalactic war.  It also results in the end of his honor.

The End of Honor is the first novel in the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fax my honor series that was published by Oarktara and Capstone.  I wrote it last because it is the beginning of all the incidents that led up to the second and third novel. 

In The End of Honor, the second prince John-Mark engages the Lady Lyral Neuterra.  She and the Emperor are murdered by John-Mark’s brother because the engagement is seen to be one that would reduce the power of the crown.  John-Mark and the Human Galactic Empire is propelled into war.  The banned houses support John-Mark and the other houses, about two thirds support the new murderous Emperor.

This is ultimately a novel about honor and fealty.  John-Mark must lead the banned houses to some type of reasonable accommodation because it doesn’t seem like they have the strength to beat the new emperor or the other houses. 

The telic flaw of this novel is that John-Mark must give up his honor (house, lands, titles, position, power, and name) to bring reconciliation of the banned houses with the Empire.  Anything else will harm the people and the empire.  This is a very deep telic flaw.

As you can tell, this is a science fiction novel about war—there is automatic conflict and action.  Conflict and action are built into the entire novel. 

In the climax, John-Mark as the military commander of the forces of the banned houses, defeats the Emperor’s fleet.  He has already given up his position.  In the ensuing falling action, he is required to give up everything else to placate the Emperor and the other houses.  He willingly does this. 

The buildup to the climax is a series of planning and battles of space fleets.  I could write this because I’m a student of military air, sea, and land engagements—I was in the military for 24 years and attended the military schools where they train this kind of stuff.  It’s pretty good strategy and tactics moved into space and the future.  In any case, this novel, like the others has a very straight forward action and conflict development.  The overall novel is pretty complex, but the action and conflict is guaranteed, it’s a war novel. 

The telic flaw resolution isn’t obvious, but it becomes inevitable even as John-Mark leads his forces to victory—a victory which will result in his own loss of everything.

I’ll look at Antebellum next.

Maybe I should move on to the climax in the development of the novel and relate that to the rising action and telic flaw.

I’ll look more closely at this idea as we continue to move along in the list of how of get rid of writer’s block.  

In the end, we can figure out what makes a work have a great plot and theme, and apply this to our 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.    

More tomorrow.

F or more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com  

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