Writing – part xx668 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on The Second Mission

26 October 2021, Writing – part xx668 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

The Second Mission is my first published novel.  It was partner published with Xulon and is still available in paper and hardback. 

I really wanted to explore a question important to me and to many people about history and historical writing.  That is the validity of the words recorded in history.  In Centurion, I let my readers live alongside the people from history, but in The Second Mission, I wanted to bring a modern person back into history to experience it and explore a question for me.  I also assumed that future societies and cultures would want an answer to this very important question.  That question was simply how well we could trust ancient literature? 

If you could go beck in time, you could compare the words of the speakers and the words that were recorded.  Since I had accomplished this with Christ in Centurion, I wanted to do this also with Socrates and the Socratic dialogs.  First, I had to learns to translate some ancient Greek.  Second, I had to study for a long time.  Third, I had to make my own translations of the Socratic dialogs and some plays from the period.  The result was The Second Mission.

Here is some of the information on the novel:

The Second Mission is a unique and revolutionary historical novel.  Novelist, L. D. Alford, implants not just history but literature into his newest book about the last days of Socrates.  The Second Mission is an engrossing novel that takes the unprecedented step of enveloping the reader in the time, culture, literature, and politics of ancient Greece.  It uses a C. H. Lewis-like style to pull the reader into the real history of the era in a manner unlike any novel written before.

The Second Mission explores time through the eyes of humankind’s second mission into the past.  In the year 399 B.C. the city-state of Athens was the hub of a new political system.  It was a cultural axis for art, poetry, and law.  It was the heart of the science of philosophy—and philosophers.  And the death of Socrates was the pivotal moment that drew the second mission.

The Second Mission reveals the unintentional journey of a modern man, Alan Fisher, into time.  He is an accidental and unwilling participant in humankind’s second greatest adventure.  Sophia, the actual time agent, became his reluctant guide.  She had trained ten years to become Sophia, a Greek woman of 399 B.C.  The second mission was her mission, and she did not want to share it with anyone.  Now she was responsible for her mission as well as the survival of the interloper, Alan.  They were linked together for better or worse in the second most important mission of mankind.  For one year of history, 400 to 399 B.C., in the city-state of Athens in the place now called Greece, neither Alan nor Sophia could return to their own times.

Alan discovered the purpose of the second mission was observation and verification—to record the words and death of Socrates.  This was the second most important historical research to future generations.  Although Sophia would share little information about the future with Alan, he discovered the purpose of the first mission, and that information changed his life forever.

Alan Fisher, marooned in time, turned into Sophia’s greatest hope for success and, because of the first mission, Sophia became Alan’s greatest hope of spiritual deliverance.  The first mission changed Sophia’s world, and the second mission would also change the future of mankind.

L. D. Alford draws the reader into the world of Socrates’ Athens in the year 399 B.C.  In this world, the ancient eclipses the modern and world of the Athenian philosophers becomes real—real to the characters of the novel and real to the reader.

For the Student

The Second Mission distinctively brings to life Socrates, Plato, and the School of Hellas.  It is an electrifying adventure story that provides a stimulating method to introduce and place into context the Socratic dialogues: Euthyphro, Cratylus, Crito, Phaedo, and The Apology of Socrates.  Students will find the renditions of these works fresh and exciting.  Everyone will find the ideas, transplanted and accentuated by modern dialogue, inspiring and resonating.

This is a really fun and entertaining novel that allows the reader to observe the Family Trader culture from the view of a child newly experiencing it.  This allowed me to provide a great showing of a really different technological environment and setting.

The Second Mission uses time travel to bring the reader into the world of Socrates.  You can get an entertaining and enlightening worldview while reading the Socratic Dialogs in their context in history.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, The Second Mission is a different type of redemption novel.  Sophia and Alan Fisher are trapped in time, and they both need redemption in time.  This isn’t as much a spiritual redemption as a physical redemption.    

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  The revelation is the history and times of Socrates as well as the mission of Sophia.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  The achievement is to observe and record the life and death of Socrates.  It’s a one year trip.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% There really aren’t many mysteries here except the question of returning from time.  Even that is somewhat fixed because it is supposed to be inevitable although the previous time traveler didn’t make it back alive.  The mysteries are for the reader if they didn’t know the history already.  That make it really fun.  

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  Not really.

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  There is a slight zero to hero with Alan who is able to deliver by the end of the novel.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  There is a touch of romance between Alan and Sophia.    

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

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  Really the opposite.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  Each day in the world of Socrates is a day of discovery.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  There is some motivation and plot about money.   

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  Nope.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  There is some strong legal plot about what is legitimate and allowed in ancient societies.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Sophia faces rape and attack simply based on her position, so yes.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  For Alan, the ancient world is all new and filled with things he must discover about the world and himself.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  A taste with Sophia taking the place of the dead Sophia and the problems with ancient societies.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, the changes and affects of the imposition of Sophia and Alan cause problems in time and place.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Yes, Sophia and Alan need to escape time.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are a primary focus of the novel.  Sophia has many, and Alan must learn many new skills.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  The great secret is just who Sophia and Alan are.  Only they can know.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, this is a side plot where Sophia must reject a suiter and face abuse for it.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  Yes, the betrayal of Socrates by his city state.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a psychological novel on many levels.  The entire time and history plot is a very strong psychological one.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Yes, with Sophia and Alan.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Alan and Sophia are injured or become ill.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  To a degree.  The Athenian society seduces Alan to a degree.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, Forced between Sophia and Alan.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, Alan has Sophia as his mentor.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, time travel.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Small if at all.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is the main point of the novel.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Not really.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Yes, Alan and Sophia are imprisoned in the world of Athens 399 BC.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  Not really.

The Second Mission was my first published novel, and it was partner published with Xulon.  I’m not sure I would do that again.  The main reason I did it was that I was recommended to take one of my good and completed novels that would likely not get published and partner publish with that kind of press.  The reason I wouldn’t likely do it again, is that my regular publisher was interested in the novel.  I still think it would be hard to get published by a regular press the reason is its very unusual contents.

In addition to the fictional story, which is very entertaining, The Second Mission includes modern translations of the five final Socratic dialogs and a couple of Greek plays from the time.  I did the translations, and I think I did a much better job at getting the content and meaning form the Greek as well as putting the dialogs in context of the times and place.  This makes the novel both very interesting historically and from an entertainment point of view.

A couple of universities wanted to use the novel as an initial teaching guide and textbook for their beginning philosophy classes.  I thought that would be a perfect use for the novel.  This way new students could get the last Socratic Dialogs in context and an entertaining wrapper.  Plus, the professor could just point to the historical times related in the novel to show the students what the world of Socrates was like. 

In any case, the novel has languished for a while.  It’s available for purchase.  I recommend it to my classes, although I haven’t taught a philosophy class based on it yet.  That’s what I should do, teach a philosophy and Greek history class and make it the text book—ha ha.  That’s what most professors do.

The Second Mission is a really fun and entertaining read.  It also includes the Socratic Dialogs, but in format you will find very entertaining.  Instead of like a regular book of the Socratic Dialogs, these are integrated seamlessly into the novel.  In other words, as the dialog happens, I just made it into a normal modern dialog.  I didn’t hurt the historicity or meaning of the dialogs, I just made them modern.  This is the best way to read them.

With The Second Mission, you get a full on fun novel with a full on translation of the Socratic Dialogs plus a couple of plays. 

Would I write another novel like The Second Mission?  Probably not, but then again, if I get this kind of idea and inspiration, I will.  

Next we’ll look at Sister of Light.

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.

For 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 xx667 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, The Second Mission

25 October 2021, Writing – part xx667 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

The Second Mission is my first published novel.  It was partner published with Xulon and is still available in paper and hardback. 

I really wanted to explore a question important to me and to many people about history and historical writing.  That is the validity of the words recorded in history.  In Centurion, I let my readers live alongside the people from history, but in The Second Mission, I wanted to bring a modern person back into history to experience it and explore a question for me.  I also assumed that future societies and cultures would want an answer to this very important question.  That question was simply how well we could trust ancient literature? 

If you could go beck in time, you could compare the words of the speakers and the words that were recorded.  Since I had accomplished this with Christ in Centurion, I wanted to do this also with Socrates and the Socratic dialogs.  First, I had to learns to translate some ancient Greek.  Second, I had to study for a long time.  Third, I had to make my own translations of the Socratic dialogs and some plays from the period.  The result was The Second Mission.

Here is some of the information on the novel:

The Second Mission is a unique and revolutionary historical novel.  Novelist, L. D. Alford, implants not just history but literature into his newest book about the last days of Socrates.  The Second Mission is an engrossing novel that takes the unprecedented step of enveloping the reader in the time, culture, literature, and politics of ancient Greece.  It uses a C. H. Lewis-like style to pull the reader into the real history of the era in a manner unlike any novel written before.

The Second Mission explores time through the eyes of humankind’s second mission into the past.  In the year 399 B.C. the city-state of Athens was the hub of a new political system.  It was a cultural axis for art, poetry, and law.  It was the heart of the science of philosophy—and philosophers.  And the death of Socrates was the pivotal moment that drew the second mission.

The Second Mission reveals the unintentional journey of a modern man, Alan Fisher, into time.  He is an accidental and unwilling participant in humankind’s second greatest adventure.  Sophia, the actual time agent, became his reluctant guide.  She had trained ten years to become Sophia, a Greek woman of 399 B.C.  The second mission was her mission, and she did not want to share it with anyone.  Now she was responsible for her mission as well as the survival of the interloper, Alan.  They were linked together for better or worse in the second most important mission of mankind.  For one year of history, 400 to 399 B.C., in the city-state of Athens in the place now called Greece, neither Alan nor Sophia could return to their own times.

Alan discovered the purpose of the second mission was observation and verification—to record the words and death of Socrates.  This was the second most important historical research to future generations.  Although Sophia would share little information about the future with Alan, he discovered the purpose of the first mission, and that information changed his life forever.

Alan Fisher, marooned in time, turned into Sophia’s greatest hope for success and, because of the first mission, Sophia became Alan’s greatest hope of spiritual deliverance.  The first mission changed Sophia’s world, and the second mission would also change the future of mankind.

L. D. Alford draws the reader into the world of Socrates’ Athens in the year 399 B.C.  In this world, the ancient eclipses the modern and world of the Athenian philosophers becomes real—real to the characters of the novel and real to the reader.

For the Student

The Second Mission distinctively brings to life Socrates, Plato, and the School of Hellas.  It is an electrifying adventure story that provides a stimulating method to introduce and place into context the Socratic dialogues: Euthyphro, Cratylus, Crito, Phaedo, and The Apology of Socrates.  Students will find the renditions of these works fresh and exciting.  Everyone will find the ideas, transplanted and accentuated by modern dialogue, inspiring and resonating.

This is a really fun and entertaining novel that allows the reader to observe the Family Trader culture from the view of a child newly experiencing it.  This allowed me to provide a great showing of a really different technological environment and setting.

The Second Mission uses time travel to bring the reader into the world of Socrates.  You can get an entertaining and enlightening worldview while reading the Socratic Dialogs in their context in history.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, The Second Mission is a different type of redemption novel.  Sophia and Alan Fisher are trapped in time, and they both need redemption in time.  This isn’t as much a spiritual redemption as a physical redemption.    

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  The revelation is the history and times of Socrates as well as the mission of Sophia.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  The achievement is to observe and record the life and death of Socrates.  It’s a one year trip.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% There really aren’t many mysteries here except the question of returning from time.  Even that is somewhat fixed because it is supposed to be inevitable although the previous time traveler didn’t make it back alive.  The mysteries are for the reader if they didn’t know the history already.  That make it really fun.  

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  Not really.

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  There is a slight zero to hero with Alan who is able to deliver by the end of the novel.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  There is a touch of romance between Alan and Sophia.    

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

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  Really the opposite.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  Each day in the world of Socrates is a day of discovery.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  There is some motivation and plot about money.   

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  Nope.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  There is some strong legal plot about what is legitimate and allowed in ancient societies.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Sophia faces rape and attack simply based on her position, so yes.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  For Alan, the ancient world is all new and filled with things he must discover about the world and himself.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  A taste with Sophia taking the place of the dead Sophia and the problems with ancient societies.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, the changes and affects of the imposition of Sophia and Alan cause problems in time and place.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Yes, Sophia and Alan need to escape time.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are a primary focus of the novel.  Sophia has many, and Alan must learn many new skills.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  The great secret is just who Sophia and Alan are.  Only they can know.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, this is a side plot where Sophia must reject a suiter and face abuse for it.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  Yes, the betrayal of Socrates by his city state.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a psychological novel on many levels.  The entire time and history plot is a very strong psychological one.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Yes, with Sophia and Alan.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Alan and Sophia are injured or become ill.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  To a degree.  The Athenian society seduces Alan to a degree.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, Forced between Sophia and Alan.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, Alan has Sophia as his mentor.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, time travel.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Small if at all.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is the main point of the novel.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Not really.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Yes, Alan and Sophia are imprisoned in the world of Athens 399 BC.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  Not really.

Next we’ll look at more about The Second Mission.

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.

For 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 xx666 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on Regia Anglorum

24 October 2021, Writing – part xx666 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on 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)

a.      Research as required

b.     Develop the initial setting

c.      Develop the characters

d.     Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)

3.     Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)

4.     Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)

5.     Write the climax scene

6.     Write the falling action scene(s)

7.     Write the dénouement scene

    Since I am writing about Regia Anglorum here is the proposed cover:

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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Regia Anglorum is the third novel in my second series of science fiction novels.  I call this series, The Ghost Ship Chronicles.  I hope it will be published at some time. 

I used the science fiction universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox further into the future.  I also wanted to write an entertaining novel about a screwup who is taken over by a competent soul, so to speak.  When I started writing Athelstan CyingI had no idea how long the novel would become or where the plotline would really take it.  This is part of the problem of writing with to a plotline, but this is also part of the problem of writing an ambitious idea and concept.  Regia Anglorum is really the direct follow-on to Athelstan Cying and Twilight Lamb

Here is some of the information on the novel:

Den and Natana Protania are installed as the Captain and First Officer of the newest Family Trader Vessel, the Regia Anglorum. The ship receives its official negotiated trading schedule that takes them to planets Family Traders have not visited in years, including El Rashad.
 

Nikita lives on garbage in the streets on El Rashad and collects every piece of reading material she can. Her only consolation is the church, her doll, Alice, and the minds of the spacers Nikita reads when they land at the spaceport. Nikita, like Den and Natana is a high level psyonic.
 

Nikita detects the most beautiful mind she has ever seen. It is Natana’s, and Natana determines to find and bring the girl back to the ship. It isn’t as easy as Natana thought. Nikita has issues: she is distrustful of anyone, and she is malnourished and sick.
 

Nikita’s integration into the ship is not easy, but she makes friends. Four girls invite her to be a member of their “special” girl’s club. Nikita also makes some unintentional enemies. Alex the class bully is just one. He taunts Nikita almost every day. Finally, Alex gets his hands on Alice and tosses her over a fence in the ship’s wilderness area. Nikita snaps. She attacks Alex and climbs the fence. When she falls on the other side, she breaks her arm and sprains her leg. Natana and Den recover Nikita, but life has changed for her.
 

Because of her injuries, Nikita can’t work, train, or do her school work, and it is all Alex’s fault. Alex now tries to make amends for his treatment to Nikita. Nikita has more problems: injured crewmembers can’t make planetfall, and her parents, Den and Natana have planed a trip to the surface of Acier. Plus, Nikita’s class is going on a fieldtrip to Acier, and she can’t go.
 

Nikita discovered; Alex is a special because he is an engineering design genius—he can invent and build almost anything. When her class returns from Acier, Nikita has something she needs Alex to build for her. Nichol, one of the members of her girl’s club is cutting—it became worse when she returned to the ship. Nikita confronts her and discovers the Family Traders don’t need writers, musicians, entertainers, or inventors. Nichol is a singer, musician, and writer—that’s her special. Since she can’t produce a skill the ship needs, she knows one day she will be kicked off, and the thought terrifies her.
 

Nikita knows how to help Nichol. She brings in her friends and Alex to solve the problem. In the process, they learn the Captain and First Officer, Den and Natana are missing on Acier. Nikita is devastated. She must go to the surface of Acier to help Nichol and rescue her parents, but the ship is on a lock down until security finds the Captain and First Officer. Nikita and her friends make a plan to do it all—the question is can they pull it off?

This is a really fun and entertaining novel that allows the reader to observe the Family Trader culture from the view of a child newly experiencing it.  This allowed me to provide a great showing of a really different technological environment and setting.

The names of all of the novels are ship’s names.  Regia Anglorum is the name of the new Family Trader ship that Twilight Lamb captures in the second novel.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, Den and Natana have been redeemed, but now I add in a new character who needs real help.  Nikita is a psionic child abandoned on a horrible planet.  She is a full on zero at the very end of human society.   

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  This novel continues the revelation of Den and Natana with the addition of the revelation of Nakita and of the Family Trader culture at a different level and depth.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  The ultimate achievement of the novels is still to defeat the Athenian Charter and to protect the Confederation, but we have brought in a new helper who intends to change the Family Trader’s to make them more effective and just.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% There are all kinds of mysteries that Nikita, Den, and Natana must discover.  Mainly Nikita must save her friends to save herself and her new family.  

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  This is a small part of the novel with Nikita and Alex.  Alex causes some problems for Nikita which he must resolve to regain her trust.

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  This is a very powerful zero to hero for Nikita with Den on the sidelines.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Not really although we see Alex falling in love with Nitika-it’s a kid’s love.    

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  Yes, with Nikita, this is a very high level coming of age novel.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  There is a very strong progress of technology from the old empire to the new confederation.  This is something the we explore in the novel.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  Nikita becomes the new discovery focus.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Money and human value are still very strong in the Family Trader ships.  You can never get away from this, but Nikita brings new thinking and ideas of how to make money and how to help her friends.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  Alex fills this spot and provides some fun scenes based on it.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  This novel brings in focus the legal problems for certain people and children in the Family Trader System.  Nikita resolves these issues.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Not in this novel.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  There is a strong self discovery plot with Nikita as well as others.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Yes, Alex and Nikita both have issues with breaking Family Trader rules and have to face the music.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, everyone depends on Nikita’s skills and reasoning to resolve the problems.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Yes, Nikita needs to get off the ship to find her new parents.  In addition, Nikita needs to escape from her original planet.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are the basis of this novel.  Nikita’s skills become a powerful press for her success and her friend’s success.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Huge secrets.  There are Den and Natana’s secrets and now Nikita’s secrets.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, Nikita rejects Alex’s advances because of how he acts.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  Yes, Alex betrays Nikita and their class.

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%  Yes, there is a very strong problem in the ship with birth and choices of profession as well skills.

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a huge psychological novel on many levels.  The transition is to Nikita and her issues as well as her integration into the Family Trader ship.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Nikita is injured and must recover.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  Nope.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is an enormous part of the revitalization of Nikita Protania.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, Alex is transitioning into Nikita’s protagonist’s helper.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, the family traders are all about travel and trade in space.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Yes, this brings the Family Trader children into a new focus.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Not really.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Oh yes, this is a very school oriented novel.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  The ships themselves are items in the plot and are plots to themselves.

I got the idea for Regia Anglorum from a the work of a fellow author.  If you look back at my ideas for idea development, you will see that this is one of the basics for idea development.  Regia Anglorum might have been my first novel fully and cognizantly based on a protagonist rather than a plot or a plotline.  The idea for the protagonist came from The Least of These by Alison Winfree Pickrell.  The character was Trinka. 

I reviewed The Least of These for Alison because she was an author in my publisher’s group.  Her novel is amazing, but very different than my writing.  Her Trinka is a similar but very different protagonist than my protagonist Nikita. 

Trinka was an abandoned child who was living alone in an American city.  She is befriended by her teacher and lives a life by herself.  In the novel, she becomes a hero and gains a family.  I really liked the ideas behind the novel and the character of Trinka.  My Nikita is very different than Trinka, but I can show you how then are similar.

The entire idea of a child alone isn’t a new one, but to me it was an inspiration.  I had just finished reading Jack Vance’s novel Wyst: Alastor 1716 for about the fifth time.  The planet and the nation in Wyst has a communistic society with an area called Karnival where the people can participate in all kinds of perversions and hedonistic acts.  I placed my abandoned child Nikita in this type of environment.  My Karnival equivalent was for a similar communistic society and my Nikita was running from a forced existence in prostitution or other abuse. 

The Nikita in my novels is a psionic child who can stay away from the creepers and snatchers by using her powers and the skills developed by years of hiding.  Obviously, Nikita is not Trinka and her world is not the planet of Wyst.  They are completely different ideas spawned from the ideas of other authors.  I wrote Regia Anglorum for the protagonist, Nikita.

Natana accidentally discovers Nikita while on the planet Rashad.  Rashad is a planet based on a similar model of communism like Wyst, but the system is planet wide and Carnival is allowed to provide a release for the perversions and passions of the people.  Nikita is one of those perfect Romantic protagonists. 

She is skilled because of her environment.  She is psionic because her father was a Family Trader from the Kern family—the psionic branch of the Family Traders.  She was abandoned and her mother a performer and singer at Carnival died.  This required Nikita to escape into the back alleys and streets of Carnival from slavery in Carnival.  That’s where Natana found her.

Nikita is a survivor and like a wary animal.  She is fearful of people and especially of men.  Man are the abusers and the seat of power on Rashad and in Carnival.  Nikita doesn’t know about relationships and family.  She is fearful of everything related to human love and sexuality.  This is the person I developed to be adopted into Den and Natana’s family on their new ship Regia Anglorum.

In the previous novel Twilight Lamb, Den and Natana rescued and captured the new liner, Regia Anglorum from the Athenian Charter.  This became the basis for a new Family Trader ship, also named Regia Anglorum.  Den and Natana were selected to be its core command team.  I brought in Nikita for the reasons I gave above—I just loved the idea of this character and I built a world for her to live and thrive in.  She fit into my novel, and she continued the legacy of the world of Family Traders and the fight against the Athenian Charter. 

This is the wat to write novels.  I stumbled on it when I wrote my nineth novel although I was toying with it earlier, Regia Anglorum is really the first novel I knew was completely based on a developed protagonist.    

Next we’ll look at The Second Mission.

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.


For 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 xx665 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, Regia Anglorum

23 October 2021, Writing – part xx665 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Regia Anglorum is the third novel in my second series of science fiction novels.  I call this series, The Ghost Ship Chronicles.  I hope it will be published at some time. 

I used the science fiction universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox further into the future.  I also wanted to write an entertaining novel about a screwup who is taken over by a competent soul, so to speak.  When I started writing Athelstan CyingI had no idea how long the novel would become or where the plotline would really take it.  This is part of the problem of writing with to a plotline, but this is also part of the problem of writing an ambitious idea and concept.  Regia Anglorum is really the direct follow-on to Athelstan Cying and Twilight Lamb

Here is some of the information on the novel:

Den and Natana Protania are installed as the Captain and First Officer of the newest Family Trader Vessel, the Regia Anglorum. The ship receives its official negotiated trading schedule that takes them to planets Family Traders have not visited in years, including El Rashad.
 

Nikita lives on garbage in the streets on El Rashad and collects every piece of reading material she can. Her only consolation is the church, her doll, Alice, and the minds of the spacers Nikita reads when they land at the spaceport. Nikita, like Den and Natana is a high level psyonic.
 

Nikita detects the most beautiful mind she has ever seen. It is Natana’s, and Natana determines to find and bring the girl back to the ship. It isn’t as easy as Natana thought. Nikita has issues: she is distrustful of anyone, and she is malnourished and sick.
 

Nikita’s integration into the ship is not easy, but she makes friends. Four girls invite her to be a member of their “special” girl’s club. Nikita also makes some unintentional enemies. Alex the class bully is just one. He taunts Nikita almost every day. Finally, Alex gets his hands on Alice and tosses her over a fence in the ship’s wilderness area. Nikita snaps. She attacks Alex and climbs the fence. When she falls on the other side, she breaks her arm and sprains her leg. Natana and Den recover Nikita, but life has changed for her.
 

Because of her injuries, Nikita can’t work, train, or do her school work, and it is all Alex’s fault. Alex now tries to make amends for his treatment to Nikita. Nikita has more problems: injured crewmembers can’t make planetfall, and her parents, Den and Natana have planed a trip to the surface of Acier. Plus, Nikita’s class is going on a fieldtrip to Acier, and she can’t go.
 

Nikita discovered; Alex is a special because he is an engineering design genius—he can invent and build almost anything. When her class returns from Acier, Nikita has something she needs Alex to build for her. Nichol, one of the members of her girl’s club is cutting—it became worse when she returned to the ship. Nikita confronts her and discovers the Family Traders don’t need writers, musicians, entertainers, or inventors. Nichol is a singer, musician, and writer—that’s her special. Since she can’t produce a skill the ship needs, she knows one day she will be kicked off, and the thought terrifies her.
 

Nikita knows how to help Nichol. She brings in her friends and Alex to solve the problem. In the process, they learn the Captain and First Officer, Den and Natana are missing on Acier. Nikita is devastated. She must go to the surface of Acier to help Nichol and rescue her parents, but the ship is on a lock down until security finds the Captain and First Officer. Nikita and her friends make a plan to do it all—the question is can they pull it off?

This is a really fun and entertaining novel that allows the reader to observe the Family Trader culture from the view of a child newly experiencing it.  This allowed me to provide a great showing of a really different technological environment and setting.

The names of all of the novels are ship’s names.  Regia Anglorum is the name of the new Family Trader ship that Twilight Lamb captures in the second novel.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, Den and Natana have been redeemed, but now I add in a new character who needs real help.  Nikita is a psionic child abandoned on a horrible planet.  She is a full on zero at the very end of human society.  

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  This novel continues the revelation of Den and Natana with the addition of the revelation of Nakita and of the Family Trader culture at a different level and depth.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  The ultimate achievement of the novels is still to defeat the Athenian Charter and to protect the Confederation, but we have brought in a new helper who intends to change the Family Trader’s to make them more effective and just.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% There are all kinds of mysteries that Nikita, Den, and Natana must discover.  Mainly Nikita must save her friends to save herself and her new family.  

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  This is a small part of the novel with Nikita and Alex.  Alex causes some problems for Nikita which he must resolve to regain her trust.

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  This is a very powerful zero to hero for Nikita with Den on the sidelines.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Not really although we see Alex falling in love with Nitika-it’s a kid’s love.    

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  Yes, with Nikita, this is a very high level coming of age novel.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  There is a very strong progress of technology from the old empire to the new confederation.  This is something the we explore in the novel.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  Nikita becomes the new discovery focus.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Money and human value are still very strong in the Family Trader ships.  You can never get away from this, but Nikita brings new thinking and ideas of how to make money and how to help her friends.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  Alex fills this spot and provides some fun scenes based on it.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  This novel brings in focus the legal problems for certain people and children in the Family Trader System.  Nikita resolves these issues.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Not in this novel.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  There is a strong self discovery plot with Nikita as well as others.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Yes, Alex and Nikita both have issues with breaking Family Trader rules and have to face the music.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, everyone depends on Nikita’s skills and reasoning to resolve the problems.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Yes, Nikita needs to get off the ship to find her new parents.  In addition, Nikita needs to escape from her original planet.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are the basis of this novel.  Nikita’s skills become a powerful press for her success and her friend’s success.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Huge secrets.  There are Den and Natana’s secrets and now Nikita’s secrets.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, Nikita rejects Alex’s advances because of how he acts.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  Yes, Alex betrays Nikita and their class.

7.     Blood will out or fate (q) –1i, 1e, 26 – 25%  Yes, there is a very strong problem in the ship with birth and choices of profession as well skills.

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a huge psychological novel on many levels.  The transition is to Nikita and her issues as well as her integration into the Family Trader ship.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Nikita is injured and must recover.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  Nope.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is an enormous part of the revitalization of Nikita Protania.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, Alex is transitioning into Nikita’s protagonist’s helper.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, the family traders are all about travel and trade in space.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Yes, this brings the Family Trader children into a new focus.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Not really.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Oh yes, this is a very school oriented novel.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  The ships themselves are items in the plot and are plots to themselves.  

Next we’ll look in more detail at Regia Anglorum.

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.

For 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 xx664 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more om Twilight Lamb

22 October 2021, Writing – part xx664 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more om 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Twilight Lamb is the second novel in my second series of science fiction novels.  I call this series, The Ghost Ship Chronicles.  I hope it will be published at some time. 

I used the science fiction universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox further into the future.  I also wanted to write an entertaining novel about a screwup who is taken over by a competent soul, so to speak.  When I started writing Athelstan CyingI had no idea how long the novel would become or where the plotline would really take it.  This is part of the problem of writing with to a plotline, but this is also part of the problem of writing an ambitious idea and concept.  Twilight Lamb is really the direct follow-on to Athelstan Cying.  Here is some of the information on the novel:

Den and Natana Protania are blessed and cursed.  Both are psyonic masters and experts in the operation and management of Family Trader spacecraft.  They are newly and happily married with a stellar future on the Family Trading Ship, Twilight Lamb.  But both share horrible secrets, and a potentially deadly future.

A standard year ago, the Twilight Lamb salvaged an ancient Imperial courier ship, the Athelstan Cying.  Onboard, Den Protania broke protocol and mortally injured himself.  As he died, Den encountered a spirit who tried to save him.  The being could not save Den’s spirit, but he stabilized his body and was trapped as Den Protania.  Natana Kern shared Den’s secret and helped the new Den reclaim his place in the Twilight Lamb.  They wove a friendship that soon became something more. 

In his ancient past, Den had been a psyonic master.  Natana learned everything she could from him.  On the planet, Neuterra, Natana and Den stumbled on a group, the Athenian Charter that used psyonic tools for political and criminal activity.  The group kidnapped and experimented on Den and Natana.  While Den and Natana were captives, the Athenian Charter introduced a super computer symbiot into Natana’s brain.  The Athenian Charter hoped to use the device to control Natana. Instead, coupled with Natana’s intellect, it became a powerful tool that Den and Natana used to escape their captors.  Den and Natana share a second secret: Natana’s computational capabilities and their source.             

Den and Natana discovered a worthy enemy—the Athenian Charter is accumulating the power to enslave millions.  They have raided ancient archeological sites for psyonic equipment from the Human Galactic Empire and the Reps.  To have any hope of countering the Athenian Charter, Den and Natana must recover as much information as possible about them.  While still on Neuterra, they execute a foray on the Athenian Charter and the Neuterran archeological sites.  Den is injured, but fortunately, the security of the Twilight Lamb recovers them.  Their actions are seen as revenge for their kidnapping and luckily little comes of it.

Den has gained more trust from the ship’s council and is made the leader of an Emergency Procedures and Special Capabilities team.  Den trains his team well, and when the Twilight Lamb receives a distress call from the new space liner, Regia Anglorum, his team is sent to stabilize the reactors and get the ship back under control.  While Den’s team works, the passengers are shuttled over to the Twilight Lamb.  Unfortunately, the Regia Anglorum is a pirated ship.  The Athenian Charter is using the Regia Anglorum as a decoy to take over the Twilight Lamb.  In this age, the key to control of the Confederation of Human Space is the Family Trading Ships.  Some of the passengers are pirates who use modern weapons and ancient military psyonic control devices to take over the Twilight Lamb.  Now, Den, Natana, and their team must use every resource they have to recapture the Twilight Lamb—before their families are slaughtered.

I wanted to bring a person from the past back into the modern world of the Family Trader Ships and into the future universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox this made the previous times one of myth and the modern times one paralleling an increase in technology.

The names of all of the novels are ship’s names.  Twilight Lamb is the name of the Family Trader ship that finds the derelict in the first novel.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, Den Protania needs redemption.  The soul from the Athelstan Cying needs redemption.  When Den Protania’s body is taken over, the physical Den still needs redemption and the new owner just might be able to accomplish that.  This is a continuation of Athelstan Cying.  In other words, the redemption of Den Protania has not been completed.  

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  This is a detailed revelation novel about the being who is now Den Protania, the past, the current times and universe, and the potential enemies who are using old psychic technology.  Twilight Lamb continues this revelation.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  This single novel turned into five novels because the achievement was always the unknown need for the being who was able to remain alive and redeem Den Protania.  The achievement changed from immediate survival to the knowledge of and fight against a group that only Den and Natana can fight.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% The achievement has changed from immediate survival and Den Protania to the politics of the Confederation.  

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  This changed from the ship, which now supports Den to the universe around them.

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  This is ultimately a zero to hero for the new Den.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Natana has gained Den’s love, but part of the problem is their acceptance and teamwork from the previous novel.    

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  No.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  There is a very strong progress of technology from the old empire to the new confederation.  This is something the new Den explores in the novel.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  There is a huge discovery plot with Den and who he is as well as the new universe he has come into.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Money and human value are enormous plots in this novel.  The Family Trader Ships equate everything with productivity.  Den has worn out his credit and his welcome.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  To a large degree, the original Den is a spoiled child who the new Den must clean up for.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  There is some degree of legal antics due to the Family Trader culture and systems.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Not in this novel.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  There is a strong self discovery plot with Den and Natana as well as others.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Yes, the new antagonist, the Athenian Charter tries to attack Den and Natana.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, the new Den must figure out ways to build status and credibility with the people the old Den harmed.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Yes, with the high jacking of the Twilight Lamb.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are the basis of this novel.  The new Den harnesses the skills the old Den never used or used ineffectively.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Huge secrets.  The entire life and existence of the new Den is a secret.  The activities of Natana and Den are secrets.  There are secrets on secrets.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

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

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  The old Den betrayed everyone. The new Den must win their hearts and minds.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a huge psychological novel on many levels.  The firs is the new vs the old Den.  The second is how this affects the new Den.  The third is how this affects Natana.  Finally how everything affects the crew—they know nothing, but they see the new Den and wonder.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Den is injured at the beginning.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  Nope.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is an enormous part of the revitalization of Den Protania.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, this might be my first protagonist’s helper novel.  Natana remains the mentor and the protagonist’s helper.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, the family traders are all about travel and trade in space.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Nope.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Not really.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Education and testing, but kind of a little.  More like adult training.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  The ships themselves are items in the plot and are plots to themselves.  

Twilight Lamb is a very entertaining novel.  I wrote it while I was still dwelling on plotlines, but the focus was the protagonist. 

At the end of Athelstan Cying I introduced an antagonist to the world of Den and Natana.  That antagonist is the Athenian Charter.  This is a group who is using ancient psionic weapons to try to control the Confederation of Human Space.  Their means of taking control is through the Family Traders. 

Each Family Trader ship has been granted the votes and powers of a planet in the Confederation.  The reasons for this are grounded in the previous wars of the Human Galactic Empire and the Republic.  Eventually, through trade power, the independent Family Trader ships were able to choke off the power of the Republic which led to the Confederation and the power granted to them. 

The easiest means to control of the Confederation is to affect the power balance between the Family Trader ships and the planets.  Using psionic means has allowed the Athenian Charter to gather control in many of the political bodies and politics of the Confederation.  By taking out Family Trader ships, they can gain political advantage over the entire Confederation. 

Den and Natana may be the only people who are capable of confronting this menace to the Confederation.  The reason is that the Athenian Charter is based on the use of artificial means of psionic control.  Den and Natana as well as the other psionic Family Traders are natural psionics.  This puts into play the achievement plot of this novel and the other novels.  This is also why I named each of the novels after ships.  Each of the ships have their own story to tell in the larger scope of the universe and the overall Ghost Ship Chronicles.

I almost see these novels like I do Antebellum.  They are centered on a ship rather than on a place on a planet.  The ships themselves are all different and the plots and problems caused are both corporate and individual.

At the end of Twilight Lamb, Den and Natana are both heroes and face a very bright future, but their goals are to fight the Athenian Charter and now they are tasked with leading and shepherding a new ship and crew.  That’s where the next novels comes in, Regia Anglorum

Next we’ll look at Regia Anglorum.

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.

For 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 xx663 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, Twilight Lamb

21 October 2021, Writing – part xx663 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Twilight Lamb is the second novel in my second series of science fiction novels.  I call this series, The Ghost Ship Chronicles.  I hope it will be published at some time. 

I used the science fiction universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox further into the future.  I also wanted to write an entertaining novel about a screwup who is taken over by a competent soul, so to speak.  When I started writing Athelstan CyingI had no idea how long the novel would become or where the plotline would really take it.  This is part of the problem of writing with to a plotline, but this is also part of the problem of writing an ambitious idea and concept.  Twilight Lamb is really the direct follow-on to Athelstan Cying.  Here is some of the information on the novel:

Den and Natana Protania are blessed and cursed.  Both are psyonic masters and experts in the operation and management of Family Trader spacecraft.  They are newly and happily married with a stellar future on the Family Trading Ship, Twilight Lamb.  But both share horrible secrets, and a potentially deadly future.

A standard year ago, the Twilight Lamb salvaged an ancient Imperial courier ship, the Athelstan Cying.  Onboard, Den Protania broke protocol and mortally injured himself.  As he died, Den encountered a spirit who tried to save him.  The being could not save Den’s spirit, but he stabilized his body and was trapped as Den Protania.  Natana Kern shared Den’s secret and helped the new Den reclaim his place in the Twilight Lamb.  They wove a friendship that soon became something more. 

In his ancient past, Den had been a psyonic master.  Natana learned everything she could from him.  On the planet, Neuterra, Natana and Den stumbled on a group, the Athenian Charter that used psyonic tools for political and criminal activity.  The group kidnapped and experimented on Den and Natana.  While Den and Natana were captives, the Athenian Charter introduced a super computer symbiot into Natana’s brain.  The Athenian Charter hoped to use the device to control Natana. Instead, coupled with Natana’s intellect, it became a powerful tool that Den and Natana used to escape their captors.  Den and Natana share a second secret: Natana’s computational capabilities and their source.             

Den and Natana discovered a worthy enemy—the Athenian Charter is accumulating the power to enslave millions.  They have raided ancient archeological sites for psyonic equipment from the Human Galactic Empire and the Reps.  To have any hope of countering the Athenian Charter, Den and Natana must recover as much information as possible about them.  While still on Neuterra, they execute a foray on the Athenian Charter and the Neuterran archeological sites.  Den is injured, but fortunately, the security of the Twilight Lamb recovers them.  Their actions are seen as revenge for their kidnapping and luckily little comes of it.

Den has gained more trust from the ship’s council and is made the leader of an Emergency Procedures and Special Capabilities team.  Den trains his team well, and when the Twilight Lamb receives a distress call from the new space liner, Regia Anglorum, his team is sent to stabilize the reactors and get the ship back under control.  While Den’s team works, the passengers are shuttled over to the Twilight Lamb.  Unfortunately, the Regia Anglorum is a pirated ship.  The Athenian Charter is using the Regia Anglorum as a decoy to take over the Twilight Lamb.  In this age, the key to control of the Confederation of Human Space is the Family Trading Ships.  Some of the passengers are pirates who use modern weapons and ancient military psyonic control devices to take over the Twilight Lamb.  Now, Den, Natana, and their team must use every resource they have to recapture the Twilight Lamb—before their families are slaughtered.

I wanted to bring a person from the past back into the modern world of the Family Trader Ships and into the future universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox this made the previous times one of myth and the modern times one paralleling an increase in technology.

The names of all of the novels are ship’s names.  Twilight Lamb is the name of the Family Trader ship that finds the derelict in the first novel.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, Den Protania needs redemption.  The soul from the Athelstan Cying needs redemption.  When Den Protania’s body is taken over, the physical Den still needs redemption and the new owner just might be able to accomplish that.  This is a continuation of Athelstan Cying.  In other words, the redemption of Den Protania has not been completed.  

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  This is a detailed revelation novel about the being who is now Den Protania, the past, the current times and universe, and the potential enemies who are using old psychic technology.  Twilight Lamb continues this revelation.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  This single novel turned into five novels because the achievement was always the unknown need for the being who was able to remain alive and redeem Den Protania.  The achievement changed from immediate survival to the knowledge of and fight against a group that only Den and Natana can fight.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% The achievement has changed from immediate survival and Den Protania to the politics of the Confederation.  

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  This changed from the ship, which now supports Den to the universe around them.

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  This is ultimately a zero to hero for the new Den.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Natana has gained Den’s love, but part of the problem is their acceptance and teamwork from the previous novel.    

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  No.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  There is a very strong progress of technology from the old empire to the new confederation.  This is something the new Den explores in the novel.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  There is a huge discovery plot with Den and who he is as well as the new universe he has come into.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Money and human value are enormous plots in this novel.  The Family Trader Ships equate everything with productivity.  Den has worn out his credit and his welcome.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  To a large degree, the original Den is a spoiled child who the new Den must clean up for.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  There is some degree of legal antics due to the Family Trader culture and systems.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Not in this novel.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  There is a strong self discovery plot with Den and Natana as well as others.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Yes, the new antagonist, the Athenian Charter tries to attack Den and Natana.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, the new Den must figure out ways to build status and credibility with the people the old Den harmed.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Yes, with the high jacking of the Twilight Lamb.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are the basis of this novel.  The new Den harnesses the skills the old Den never used or used ineffectively.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Huge secrets.  The entire life and existence of the new Den is a secret.  The activities of Natana and Den are secrets.  There are secrets on secrets.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

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

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  The old Den betrayed everyone. The new Den must win their hearts and minds.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a huge psychological novel on many levels.  The firs is the new vs the old Den.  The second is how this affects the new Den.  The third is how this affects Natana.  Finally how everything affects the crew—they know nothing, but they see the new Den and wonder.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Den is injured at the beginning.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  Nope.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is an enormous part of the revitalization of Den Protania.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, this might be my first protagonist’s helper novel.  Natana remains the mentor and the protagonist’s helper.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, the family traders are all about travel and trade in space.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Nope.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Not really.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Education and testing, but kind of a little.  More like adult training.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  The ships themselves are items in the plot and are plots to themselves.  

Twilight Lamb is a very entertaining novel.  I wrote it while I was still dwelling on plotlines, but the focus was the protagonist. 

Next we’ll look at Twilight Lamb in more detail.

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.

For 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 xx662 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on Athelstan Cying

20 October 2021, Writing – part xx662 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Athelstan Cying is the first novel in my second series of science fiction novels.  I call this series, The Ghost Ship Chronicles.  I hope it will be published at some time. 

I used the science fiction universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox further into the future.  I also wanted to write an entertaining novel about a screwup who is taken over by a competent soul, so to speak.  Here is some of the information on the novel:

In the family trading vessel Twilight Lamb, Den Protania is a failure.  Not just any failure, although his father is the captain, Den was already kicked out of both command and astrogation, and now he isn’t doing too well in shuttle section.  Den has no desire to work to achieve anything, yet he envies everyone who is more successful than he.  He especially resents Natana Kern, the Twilight Lamb’s youngest master astrogator and a journeyman in psyonics.  Natana succeeds in every area Den cannot, and he hates her because of it.  When the Twilight Lamb detects a derelict courier vessel, Athelstan Cying along their flight path, Natana mans pilotage and Den is part of the salvage team.  Both of their lives are about to change forever…      

Aboard the Athelstan Cying, a being has lingered a millennia—long dead, yet aware and extant.  The Athelstan Cying houses the spirit of an Imperial commander, a psyonic master.  When the Twilight Lamb comes within range of the Athelstan Cying, the Cying begins a preprogrammed attack plan.  The spirit can barely stop the attack, and Twilight Lamb’s salvage crew boards her—including Den.  Den, of course, doesn’t follow protocol.  He explores the vessel without waiting for his partner, the shuttle master.  The Athelstan Cying fought in a space battle long ago and one of the cabins was breached.  Although the being tries to warn Den, Den opens the cabin door and is impaled on the structure of the ship.  The spirit attempts to save Den, and when Den’s soul departs the body, it is locked inside.  The being uses its knowledge to stabilize the body and saves it from certain death.  Now, for better or worse, he has become Den Protania.

The new Den Protania is very aware of his precarious position on the Twilight Lamb.  His life depends on the truth of Den’s change remaining a secret.  His problems are aggravated when the ship’s council rightly blames him for the accident, and charges him a debt that will take decades to reduce even for a master.  Still worse, Natana Kern, as a psyionic journeyman, is assigned to help Den’s recovery.

During Den’s first session with Natana, he experiences a flashback to his ancient life that she is drawn into.  She realizes he is not the Den Protania she once knew, but what can she do?  Would anyone believe her?  Can such a thing really be true?  When she was inside his mind, Natana realized the new Den’s power, compassion, and honor.  They mutually call a truce and in exchange for training in psyonics, Natana agrees to help Den redeem his life in the eyes of the Twilight Lamb’s family.

Den and Natana maintain an uncomfortable peace as he integrates into the ship’s family, works to reduce his enormous debt, and tries to determine who from the past he really was.  Whatever the future brings the world for Den and Natana has radically changed. 

I wanted to bring a person from the past back into the modern world of the Family Trader Ships and into the future universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox this made the previous times one of myth and the modern times one paralleling an increase in technology.

The names of all of the novels are ship’s names.  Athelstan Cying is the name of the derelict that is discovered and explored in the first novel.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, Den Protania needs redemption.  The soul from the Athelstan Cying needs redemption.  When Den Protania’s body is taken over, the physical Den still needs redemption and the new owner just might be able to accomplish that.  

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  This is a detailed revelation novel about the being who is now Den Protania, the past, the current times and universe, and the potential enemies who are using old psychic technology.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  This single novel turned into five novels because the achievement was always the unknown need for the being who was able to remain alive and redeem Den Protania.  This achievement became large and also moved across generations and families.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% This is a huge mystery novel in science fiction.  The question is just who is the being and what is his purpose?

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  There is a very large vengeance plot starting with Natana and moving to other members of the crew. Den Protania burned so many bridges that the new Den must rebuild one at a time. 

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  This is ultimately a zero to hero for the new Den.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Oh yes, Natana Kern and Den had something going until Den ruined it in the past, that’s a mystery, and the new Den is completely the man Natana can love.    

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  No.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  There is a very strong progress of technology from the old empire to the new confederation.  This is something the new Den explores in the novel.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  There is a huge discovery plot with Den and who he is as well as the new universe he has come into.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Money and human value are enormous plots in this novel.  The Family Trader Ships equate everything with productivity.  Den has worn out his credit and his welcome.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  To a large degree, the original Den is a spoiled child who the new Den must clean up for.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  Not really.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Yeap, Natana gets tired of waiting and causes an accidental problem for them both that blows out of proportion.  It isn’t as much adultery (that’s what the Family Traders would probably call it) as it is sexual liaison without meeting societal and cultural requirements.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  There is a strong self discovery plot with Den and Natana as well as others.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Yes, this is very strong based on the adultery as well as some of the old Den’s activities.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, the new Den must figure out ways to build status and credibility with the people the old Den harmed.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Not really.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are the basis of this novel.  The new Den harnesses the skills the old Den never used or used ineffectively.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Huge secrets.  The entire life and existence of the new Den is a secret.  The activities of Natana and Den are secrets.  There are secrets on secrets.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, a little, it’s part of the old Den’s MOA.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  The old Den betrayed everyone. The new Den must win their hearts and minds.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a huge psychological novel on many levels.  The firs is the new vs the old Den.  The second is how this affects the new Den.  The third is how this affects Natana.  Finally how everything affects the crew—they know nothing, but they see the new Den and wonder.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  You might describe this as a mistaken identity plot in some ways.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Den is injured and heals which drives the rest of the plots and the entire telic flaw of the novel.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  A touch with Natana’s desire and their secrets.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is an enormous part of the revitalization of Den Protania.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, this might be my first protagonist’s helper novel.  Natana is the mentor and the protagonist’s helper.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, the family traders are all about travel and trade in space.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Nope.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Note really.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Education and testing, but kind of a little.  More like adult training.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  The ships themselves are items in the plot and are plots to themselves.  

Athelstan Cying is a very entertaining novel.  I wrote it while I was still dwelling on plotlines, but the focus was the protagonist. 

This novel was one where I really wanted to explore people’s impressions against a protagonist who radically changed.  Of course, no one at first realizes how great a change has been made.

Den Protania’s literal soul has been lost.  Den as everyone knows him has died, and another soul has been trapped inside his mind and body when the other attempted to save Den.  The original Den was not a nice, capable, or good person.  He didn’t really deserve to die, but he caused his own death and put his ship and the men he was working with at great risk.  The being who happened to be inside the ship, Athelstan Cying also happened to save Den’s body.  When this happened, the soul of this person was trapped inside of Den.

I just thought this entire idea would make a fun novel.  I’ve read similar, but neve that similar novels.  I mean the idea of soul swapping and spirits enchanting people are relatively common.  The concept of a person out of time replacing another’s soul is a different take on this idea.

I also wanted to bring in the love aspect early.  Natana Kern was enamored of Den Protania, but he burned that bridge.  Natana is psionically gifted.  She was assigned to help and evaluate Den as he rehabilitates and reenters the crew.  Natana’s original love has become hate.  The command structure of the crew intends for Natana to report that Den is not a useful or rehabilitatable crew member and recommend dumping him planetside.  The only reason Den is still on the crew is his father is the Captain and he has promised to change in the past.

This time, a new soul inhabits Den.  Natana discovers Den’s secret, but instead of being repelled, she is intrigued by the idea of a Den who can succeed.  She is curious and interested.  Later, she falls in love, which is a powerful part of the entire plotline.

There is much more to this, but much of the power in this novel from an entertainment standpoint is rebuilding trust and success in areas of skill Den had failed before.  This gives the author a chance to show the world of the Family Traders as well as the ship.  This makes the novel a hard science type with a strong fiction story.  

Next we’ll look at Twilight Lamb.

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.

For 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 xx661 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, Athelstan Cying

19 October 2021, Writing – part xx661 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Athelstan Cying is the first novel in my second series of science fiction novels.  I call this series, The Ghost Ship Chronicles.  I hope it will be published at some time. 

I used the science fiction universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox further into the future.  I also wanted to write an entertaining novel about a screwup who is taken over by a competent soul, so to speak.  Here is some of the information on the novel:

In the family trading vessel Twilight Lamb, Den Protania is a failure.  Not just any failure, although his father is the captain, Den was already kicked out of both command and astrogation, and now he isn’t doing too well in shuttle section.  Den has no desire to work to achieve anything, yet he envies everyone who is more successful than he.  He especially resents Natana Kern, the Twilight Lamb’s youngest master astrogator and a journeyman in psyonics.  Natana succeeds in every area Den cannot, and he hates her because of it.  When the Twilight Lamb detects a derelict courier vessel, Athelstan Cying along their flight path, Natana mans pilotage and Den is part of the salvage team.  Both of their lives are about to change forever…      

Aboard the Athelstan Cying, a being has lingered a millennia—long dead, yet aware and extant.  The Athelstan Cying houses the spirit of an Imperial commander, a psyonic master.  When the Twilight Lamb comes within range of the Athelstan Cying, the Cying begins a preprogrammed attack plan.  The spirit can barely stop the attack, and Twilight Lamb’s salvage crew boards her—including Den.  Den, of course, doesn’t follow protocol.  He explores the vessel without waiting for his partner, the shuttle master.  The Athelstan Cying fought in a space battle long ago and one of the cabins was breached.  Although the being tries to warn Den, Den opens the cabin door and is impaled on the structure of the ship.  The spirit attempts to save Den, and when Den’s soul departs the body, it is locked inside.  The being uses its knowledge to stabilize the body and saves it from certain death.  Now, for better or worse, he has become Den Protania.

The new Den Protania is very aware of his precarious position on the Twilight Lamb.  His life depends on the truth of Den’s change remaining a secret.  His problems are aggravated when the ship’s council rightly blames him for the accident, and charges him a debt that will take decades to reduce even for a master.  Still worse, Natana Kern, as a psyionic journeyman, is assigned to help Den’s recovery.

During Den’s first session with Natana, he experiences a flashback to his ancient life that she is drawn into.  She realizes he is not the Den Protania she once knew, but what can she do?  Would anyone believe her?  Can such a thing really be true?  When she was inside his mind, Natana realized the new Den’s power, compassion, and honor.  They mutually call a truce and in exchange for training in psyonics, Natana agrees to help Den redeem his life in the eyes of the Twilight Lamb’s family.

Den and Natana maintain an uncomfortable peace as he integrates into the ship’s family, works to reduce his enormous debt, and tries to determine who from the past he really was.  Whatever the future brings the world for Den and Natana has radically changed. 

I wanted to bring a person from the past back into the modern world of the Family Trader Ships and into the future universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox this made the previous times one of myth and the modern times one paralleling an increase in technology.

The names of all of the novels are ship’s names.  Athelstan Cying is the name of the derelict that is discovered and explored in the first novel.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  Oh yeah, Den Protania needs redemption.  The soul from the Athelstan Cying needs redemption.  When Den Protania’s body is taken over, the physical Den still needs redemption and the new owner just might be able to accomplish that.  

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  This is a detailed revelation novel about the being who is now Den Protania, the past, the current times and universe, and the potential enemies who are using old psychic technology.   

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  This single novel turned into five novels because the achievement was always the unknown need for the being who was able to remain alive and redeem Den Protania.  This achievement became large and also moved across generations and families.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% This is a huge mystery novel in science fiction.  The question is just who is the being and what is his purpose?

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  There is a very large vengeance plot starting with Natana and moving to other members of the crew. Den Protania burned so many bridges that the new Den must rebuild one at a time. 

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  This is ultimately a zero to hero for the new Den.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Oh yes, Natana Kern and Den had something going until Den ruined it in the past, that’s a mystery, and the new Den is completely the man Natana can love.    

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  No.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  There is a very strong progress of technology from the old empire to the new confederation.  This is something the new Den explores in the novel.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  There is a huge discovery plot with Den and who he is as well as the new universe he has come into.

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Money and human value are enormous plots in this novel.  The Family Trader Ships equate everything with productivity.  Den has worn out his credit and his welcome.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  To a large degree, the original Den is a spoiled child who the new Den must clean up for.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  Not really.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Yeap, Natana gets tired of waiting and causes an accidental problem for them both that blows out of proportion.  It isn’t as much adultery (that’s what the Family Traders would probably call it) as it is sexual liaison without meeting societal and cultural requirements.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  There is a strong self discovery plot with Den and Natana as well as others.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Yes, this is very strong based on the adultery as well as some of the old Den’s activities.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, the new Den must figure out ways to build status and credibility with the people the old Den harmed.

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Not really.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skills are the basis of this novel.  The new Den harnesses the skills the old Den never used or used ineffectively.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Huge secrets.  The entire life and existence of the new Den is a secret.  The activities of Natana and Den are secrets.  There are secrets on secrets.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, a little, it’s part of the old Den’s MOA.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  The old Den betrayed everyone. The new Den must win their hearts and minds.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  This is a huge psychological novel on many levels.  The firs is the new vs the old Den.  The second is how this affects the new Den.  The third is how this affects Natana.  Finally how everything affects the crew—they know nothing, but they see the new Den and wonder.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  You might describe this as a mistaken identity plot in some ways.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Den is injured and heals which drives the rest of the plots and the entire telic flaw of the novel.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  A touch with Natana’s desire and their secrets.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, this is an enormous part of the revitalization of Den Protania.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, this might be my first protagonist’s helper novel.  Natana is the mentor and the protagonist’s helper.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  In the past.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, the family traders are all about travel and trade in space.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Nope.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  Note really.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Education and testing, but kind of a little.  More like adult training.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  The ships themselves are items in the plot and are plots to themselves.  

We’ll look at the plots together next.

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.

For 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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Writing – part xx660 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on Centurion

18 October 2021, Writing – part xx660 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, more on 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Centurion was my first novel published by Oaktara.  Unfortunately, Oaktara is out of business.  Centurion is a regular historical fiction novel.  I highly researched it and used the knowledge I gleaned from researching The Second Mission in ancient Greek to study primary sources in Greek and translations in Latin.  I do ancient Greek but not Latin.

Centurion was my second historical novel.  It is set just before the First Century and until 33 AD.  It covers the life of the Centurion who executed Jesus Christ.  This is a highly researched novel about the Roman Legion, but uses the time and incidents in the time of Christ as the main plotline.

Here is the blurb and some other information:

A longing heart.

An unlikely friendship.

Love…and the bitterest of betrayals.  

Who was the man ordered to crucify Christ?

What did he witness that led him to proclaim, “This was surely the Son of God?”

Traditionally, we named him, the Centurion Abenadar, and we know almost nothing about him.  The novel, Centurion, gives life to Centurion Abenadar. 

Abenadar’s life is based on primary source documents about the Roman Legion. Abenadar was close enough to the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate, that Pilate trusted him with the responsibility of the controversial and potentially explosive crucifixion of Christ.  At the same time, Abenadar was a man to whom Pilate effortlessly gave the dirty work of the crucifixion, the execution for which Pilate himself would not take responsibility. 

Centurion casts Abenadar as the bastard child of the Roman ambassador to the court of Herod the Great.  Abenadar’s mother was a Judean girl, the Roman ambassador’s concubine.  When the ambassador returned to Rome, he left her pregnant, and in disgrace.  The girl returned to her home in Nazareth of Galilee.  She named her son, Abenadar, after his father. 

Abenadar’s father did not leave him with nothing—he granted his son Roman citizenship.  When Abenadar accepted his legacy, he also discovered a place in the Roman Legion stationed in Galilee.  Abenadar found in the legion and Roman citizenship a boon and a curse.  From his mother’s training in Herod’s court, Abenadar spoke and read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and from the taint of his father’s legacy and his hard childhood, Abenadar learned to be a cunning fighter.  The legion honed these skills.  Centurion maps the rise of Abenadar through the ranks and units in Palestine until he is a chief advisor and one of the lead Centurions in Jerusalem.  In this capacity, he both advised Pilate and became the vehicle to enact Pilate’s decree.

Abenadar was more than a Centurion; he was also half Judean.  His abilities derived from his understanding and communication with the people of Judea.  But Abenadar was a man, not a piece of cardboard—all the forces in his life shaped and formed him.  He fervently trusted in God—and in the legion.  When he accidentally rescued a prostitute, Ruth, in the streets of Jerusalem, he redeemed her—for himself.  Ruth was a destitute girl; the death of her parents forced her into her past life.  After Abenadar took her in, she lived a semblance of the life she was raised to lead.  Life with Ruth changed Abenadar.  He returned to the Judean practice of his youth, and through Ruth’s faith, Abenadar’s life became connected to the new prophet—Jesus. 

Abenadar experienced the events in the city of Jerusalem from inside the court of Pilate and from the city streets.  When Jesus was brought before Pilate, Abenadar became his interpreter and translator.  When Pilate gave Jesus over to the Priests, he instructed Abenadar to crucify Jesus. 

Through Abenadar’s eyes, Centurion reveals the crucifixion and the resurrection. Abenadar’s greatest fear was that he would lose Ruth, for she believed the message of the prophet he must execute.  But Abenadar misjudged Ruth’s love and her faith.  And he misjudged how his experience of the Christ would change him.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  The Centurion Abenadar needs redemption.  He is the child of a Roman Ambassador and a Jewish woman, a concubine.  He is hated by his own people, the Romans, and the Greeks, but he can converse with them all.  He wants love and acceptance, but can’t find that even as he climbs the ranks to a Centurion.  

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  The life of Abenadar and the training and life of the Roman Legions is revealed in exquisite detail.  This is a major part of the entertainment and development of the novel.    

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  The achievement plots are about love, promotions, and positions as well as acceptance.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% There is some mystery about who attacks Adenadar, about Ruth, about Jesus, and about figuring out problems in Jerusalem.

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  Actually, the opposite.  There are some seeking vengeance against Abenadar, but it’s a subplot. 

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  Very strongly with Abenadar.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Yes, very strong.  Abenadar saves a woman of the streets and gives her a home.  She becomes part of his connection to Jesus. 

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  Yes, to an extent.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  Not really.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  About the Roman Legion and training to be a Legionnaire

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Yes, to some degree with the other soldiers.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  Nope.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  Not really.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  The self-discovery and coming of age is the same plot.  The characters are adults and not children.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Abenadar has guilt about his circumstances and life.  This is part of the problem of redemption and especially about his life as a Jew.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, Much of Abenadar’s power as a leader comes from his intellect.  This drives the novel. 

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Only figurative.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skill as a leader and a soldier are very important.  These allow Abenadar to be promoted.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Not really.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, a little, but not very strong.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  There is a degree of betrayal with Christ and Abenadar, but it only comes from Abenadar’s feelings and ideas.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  There is a very strong psychological component in this novel.  The conflicted mind and heart of Abenadar as well as Ruth are very important in the novel.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Abenadar is injured and this creates two important turning points in the novel.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  Some with Abenadar’s life in the Legion compared to his Jewish background.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, between the Legionnaires.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, very strongly between Abenadar and his mentors.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  Yes and battles.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, extensively to battles and within the Levant.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Nope.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  This is a full on historical novel with great details you won’t find in most novels of its time.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Training in the Legion.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  Yes to a degree.  The legion plume and some other items that mark the Legion and the Legionnaires are important in the plots.  

Centurion is a novel I wrote to immerse the reader in the times and place.  The purpose of it is to show the reader history in an entertaining way.  That’s the overall purpose for any novel, entertainment. 

That’s all that I need write about the novel in general.  Specifically, we need to look at how to make a historical novel entertaining. 

You might think that just the relating of the historical information in this format would be entertaining enough.  I’m not sure about that.  Plenty of autobiographies and biographies are terribly boring, and many historical papers are boring.  What makes a historical novel entertaining? 

First of all, the revelation of the protagonist is the main point of the writing.  In Centurion, I showed the early connection of Abenadar with Jesus while growing up in Nazareth.  Part of the purpose was the connection, but the other more entertaining part was to show a contrast between the Jewish peasants and the Romans and political leaders.  With a peasant from Nazareth, I could explain his growth and the incidents that a Roman would know, but a Jewish boy would not.  In addition, I had scope to explain what a Jewish person would know, but a Roman would not.  When I write explain, I mean show.  I show you through action narrative and dialog what Abenadar is learning and conversely what his new Roman friends are learning.

With the acceptance of Abenadar as a Roman and then into the Legion, I can show you how a Legionnaire is inducted and starts in a legion.  I can additionally, show you how they are trained and live.  This to me is entertaining.  It fully immerses the reader in the life and times of Abenadar. 

Part of this story and immersion is how he gains rank and how he wins accolades.  These require going to battle and surviving.  Abenadar excels as a trainer and with the sword.  These are important weapons for the Legions.  In addition, Abenadar learns to be a leader.

In the novel, I show how Abenadar’s language skills aid him and his comrades.  I show his interaction with the Jewish community in Jerusalem, and with Pilate.  Abenadar also has a love problem.  He is ostracized from the Jews because of his Roman blood, but also from the Romans because of his Jewish blood.  He wants love, but lives in a world where only prostitutes are available to him, and he is a moral man who does not wish to sully himself with prostitutes.

Part of the novel is about this very problem.  Abenadar rescues a woman from the streets and out of prostitution.  He finds in Ruth a friend.  This also gives impetus for Ruth’s connection to Jesus as well as Abenadar’s travels with Ruth around and outside of Jerusalem. 

There are always problems in the Legion based on jealously and greed.  Abenadar must conquer all these problems.  The main point, is that although the climax of this novel is about Christ, most of the novel is about Abenadar and the Legion.  I show the entire situation from the standpoint of the Romans with a strong touch of the Orthodox as in Jewish thought.  I think that these are unusual to most readers and to most educated people.  I wrote this novel to understand just these points, and I wanted to make the learning of it entertaining and exciting. 

Of course the overall subject matter is also interesting and exciting to most readers just because of the topic and the historical realistic nature of the writing. 

I recommend Centurion to you.  It is entertaining and exciting, and gives you a new and different perspective of a subject, person, and time.  For those who aren’t familiar, it is an excellent introduction.  For those who are experts, it is an entirely new way of looking at the subject.  In every case, the reader will not be disappointed.     

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.

For 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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Writing – part xx659 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, Centurion

17 October 2021, Writing – part xx659 Writing a Novel, Plots and My Novels, 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 happens.  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%

Here is a list of my novels:

1*SFA Season of Honor (Honor III)1986P 08
2130-OctNov
2*SFThe Fox’s Honor (Honor II)1989P 08
322-MayOct
3SFThe End of Honor (Honor I)1995P 08
9313-JulJul
4HFAntebellum1991*
447-Feb
5*FAegypt1992P 08
5516-JunJan
6*HFCenturion1995P 08
861-FebJan
7a*SFAthelstan Cying1992A
6726-Sep
8 15SFTwilight Lamb2007A
7b*88-Aug
9 16SFRegia Anglorum2007A
7c1723-Nov
10*SFThe Second Mission*1996P 03
10913-NovAug
11FanIllidin1977I
1Sep
12FSister of Light1997C
111016-Aug
13FHouse1994I
723-Dec
14FHestia: Enchantment of the Hearth2006*
131128-Dec
15FanAramis2006I
1227-Apr
16HFJapan I
14
17FSister of Darkness2008C
17123-Jun
18FShadow of Darkness2008A
181314-Sep
19FShadow of Light2008A
tt5t1424-Oct
20FChildren of Light and Darkness2008A
20151-Dec
21FWarrior of Light2009A
21161-Feb
22HFPraetorian  
22
23 23SFShadowed Vale2009A
1810-May
24 24SFDdraig Goch2009W
25-Aug
25FWarrior of Darkness2009*
251929-Oct
26FDana-ana: Enchantment and the Maiden2010*
262010-Jun
27FAksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon2010A
27211-Nov
28FKhione: Enchantment and the Fox2011*
28221-Mar
29FValeska: Enchantment and the Vampire2013*
292326-Nov
30FLilly: Enchantment and the Computer2014*
30241-May
31SFEscape from Freedom2014*
31252-Oct
32FEssie: Enchantment and the Aos Si2015*
32261-May
33FSorcha: Enchantment and the Curse2016*
33271-Mar
34FRed Sonja2016W
34XX1-Mar
35FDeirdre: Enchantment and the School2016*
35281-Jul
36FBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective2018*
36291-Jul
37FCassandra: Enchantment and the Warriors2018*
37 1-Jul
38FRose: Enchantment and the Flower2021*
38 1-Mar

Centurion was my first novel published by Oaktara.  Unfortunately, Oaktara is out of business.  Centurion is a regular historical fiction novel.  I highly researched it and used the knowledge I gleaned from researching The Second Mission in ancient Greek to study primary sources in Greek and translations in Latin.  I do ancient Greek but not Latin.

Centurion was my second historical novel.  It is set just before the First Century and until 33 AD.  It covers the life of the Centurion who executed Jesus Christ.  This is a highly researched novel about the Roman Legion, but uses the time and incidents in the time of Christ as the main plotline.

Here is the blurb and some other information:

A longing heart.

An unlikely friendship.

Love…and the bitterest of betrayals.  

Who was the man ordered to crucify Christ?

What did he witness that led him to proclaim, “This was surely the Son of God?”

Traditionally, we named him, the Centurion Abenadar, and we know almost nothing about him.  The novel, Centurion, gives life to Centurion Abenadar. 

Abenadar’s life is based on primary source documents about the Roman Legion. Abenadar was close enough to the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate, that Pilate trusted him with the responsibility of the controversial and potentially explosive crucifixion of Christ.  At the same time, Abenadar was a man to whom Pilate effortlessly gave the dirty work of the crucifixion, the execution for which Pilate himself would not take responsibility. 

Centurion casts Abenadar as the bastard child of the Roman ambassador to the court of Herod the Great.  Abenadar’s mother was a Judean girl, the Roman ambassador’s concubine.  When the ambassador returned to Rome, he left her pregnant, and in disgrace.  The girl returned to her home in Nazareth of Galilee.  She named her son, Abenadar, after his father. 

Abenadar’s father did not leave him with nothing—he granted his son Roman citizenship.  When Abenadar accepted his legacy, he also discovered a place in the Roman Legion stationed in Galilee.  Abenadar found in the legion and Roman citizenship a boon and a curse.  From his mother’s training in Herod’s court, Abenadar spoke and read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and from the taint of his father’s legacy and his hard childhood, Abenadar learned to be a cunning fighter.  The legion honed these skills.  Centurion maps the rise of Abenadar through the ranks and units in Palestine until he is a chief advisor and one of the lead Centurions in Jerusalem.  In this capacity, he both advised Pilate and became the vehicle to enact Pilate’s decree.

Abenadar was more than a Centurion; he was also half Judean.  His abilities derived from his understanding and communication with the people of Judea.  But Abenadar was a man, not a piece of cardboard—all the forces in his life shaped and formed him.  He fervently trusted in God—and in the legion.  When he accidentally rescued a prostitute, Ruth, in the streets of Jerusalem, he redeemed her—for himself.  Ruth was a destitute girl; the death of her parents forced her into her past life.  After Abenadar took her in, she lived a semblance of the life she was raised to lead.  Life with Ruth changed Abenadar.  He returned to the Judean practice of his youth, and through Ruth’s faith, Abenadar’s life became connected to the new prophet—Jesus. 

Abenadar experienced the events in the city of Jerusalem from inside the court of Pilate and from the city streets.  When Jesus was brought before Pilate, Abenadar became his interpreter and translator.  When Pilate gave Jesus over to the Priests, he instructed Abenadar to crucify Jesus. 

Through Abenadar’s eyes, Centurion reveals the crucifixion and the resurrection. Abenadar’s greatest fear was that he would lose Ruth, for she believed the message of the prophet he must execute.  But Abenadar misjudged Ruth’s love and her faith.  And he misjudged how his experience of the Christ would change him.

Let’s evaluate the plots.

Overall (o)

1.     Redemption (o) – 17i, 7e, 23ei, 8 – 49%  The Centurion Abenadar needs redemption.  He is the child of a Roman Ambassador and a Jewish woman, a concubine.  He is hated by his own people, the Romans, and the Greeks, but he can converse with them all.  He wants love and acceptance, but can’t find that even as he climbs the ranks to a Centurion.  

2.     Revelation (o) –2e, 64, 1i – 60%  The life of Abenadar and the training and life of the Roman Legions is revealed in exquisite detail.  This is a major part of the entertainment and development of the novel.    

3.     Achievement (o) – 16e, 19ei, 4i, 43 – 73%  The achievement plots are about love, promotions, and positions as well as acceptance.

Achievement (a)

1.     Detective or mystery (a) – 56, 1e – 51% There is some mystery about who attacks Adenadar, about Ruth, about Jesus, and about figuring out problems in Jerusalem.

2.     Revenge or vengeance (a) –3ie, 3e, 45 – 46%  Actually, the opposite.  There are some seeking vengeance against Abenadar, but it’s a subplot. 

3.     Zero to hero (a) – 29 – 26%  Very strongly with Abenadar.

4.     Romance (a) –1ie, 41 – 37%  Yes, very strong.  Abenadar saves a woman of the streets and gives her a home.  She becomes part of his connection to Jesus. 

5.     Coming of age (a) –1ei, 25 – 23%  Yes, to an extent.

6.     Progress of technology (a) – 6 – 5%  Not really.

7.     Discovery (a) – 3ie, 57 – 54%  About the Roman Legion and training to be a Legionnaire

8.     Money (a) – 2e, 26 – 25%  Yes, to some degree with the other soldiers.

9.     Spoiled child (a) – 7 – 6%  Nope.

10.  Legal (a) – 5 – 4%  Not really.

11.  Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

12.  Self-discovery (a) – 3i, 12 – 13%  The self-discovery and coming of age is the same plot.  The characters are adults and not children.

13.  Guilt or Crime (a) – 32 – 29%  Abenadar has guilt about his circumstances and life.  This is part of the problem of redemption and especially about his life as a Jew.   

14.  Proselytizing (a) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

15.  Reason (a) – 10, 1ie – 10%  Yes, Much of Abenadar’s power as a leader comes from his intellect.  This drives the novel. 

16.  Escape (a)  – 1ie, 23 – 21%  Only figurative.

17.  Knowledge or Skill (a) – 26 – 23%  Knowledge and skill as a leader and a soldier are very important.  These allow Abenadar to be promoted.

18.  Secrets (a) – 21 – 19%  Not really.

Quality (q)

1.     Messiah (q) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

2.     Adultery (qa) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

3.     Rejected love (rejection) (q) – 1ei, 21 – 20%  Yes, a little, but not very strong.

4.     Miscommunication (q) – 8 – 7%  Not really.

5.     Love triangle (q) – 14 – 12%  Nope.

6.     Betrayal (q) – 1i, 1ie, 46 – 43%  There is a degree of betrayal with Christ and Abenadar, but it only comes from Abenadar’s feelings and ideas.

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

8.     Psychological (q) –1i, 45 – 41%  There is a very strong psychological component in this novel.  The conflicted mind and heart of Abenadar as well as Ruth are very important in the novel.

9.     Magic (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

10.  Mistaken identity (q) – 18 – 16%  Nope.

11.  Illness (q) – 1e, 19 – 18%  Yes, Abenadar is injured and this creates two important turning points in the novel.

12.  Anti-hero (q) – 6 – 5%  Nope.

13.  Immorality (q) – 3i, 8 – 10%  Some with Abenadar’s life in the Legion compared to his Jewish background.

14.  Satire (q) – 10 – 9%  Not really.

15.  Camaraderie (q) – 19 – 17%  Yes, between the Legionnaires.

16.  Curse (q) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

17.  Insanity (q) – 8 – 7%  Nope.

18.  Mentor (q) – 12 – 11%  Yes, very strongly between Abenadar and his mentors.

Setting (s)

1.     End of the World (s) – 3 – 3%  Nope.

2.     War (s) – 20 – 18%  Yes and battles.

3.     Anti-war (s) –2 – 2%  Nope.

4.     Travel (s) –1e, 62 – 56%  Yes, extensively to battles and within the Levant.

5.     Totalitarian (s) – 1e, 8 – 8%  Nope.

6.     Horror (s) – 15 – 13%  Not really.

7.     Children (s) – 24 – 21%  Nope.

8.     Historical (s) – 19 – 17%  This is a full on historical novel with great details you won’t find in most novels of its time.

9.     School (s) – 11 – 10%  Training in the Legion.

10.  Parallel (s) – 4 – 4%  Nope.

11.  Allegory (s) – 10 – 9%  Nope.

12.  Fantasy world (s) – 5 – 4%  Nope.

13.  Prison (s) – 2 – 2%  Nope.

Item (i)

1.  Article (i) – 1e, 46 – 42%  Yes to a degree.  The legion plume and some other items that mark the Legion and the Legionnaires are important in the plots.  

I’ll write more about Centurion tomorrow.

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.

For 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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