8 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 492, more Different Behavior Characteristics Character Presentation Q and A
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
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.
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.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer. Lilly is my 24th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I’ve started writing Shape.
I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.
1. Scene input (easy)
2. Scene output (a little harder)
3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
6. Release (climax of creative elements)
I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:
1. History extrapolation
2. Technological extrapolation
3. Intellectual extrapolation
Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect). Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.
One of my blog readers posed these questions. I’ll use the next few weeks to answer them.
1. Conflict/tension between characters
2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
3. Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
4. Evolving vs static character
5. Language and style
6. Verbal, gesture, action
7. Words employed
8. Sentence length
10. Type of grammar
12. Field of reference or allusion
14. Mannerism suggest by speech
16. Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter’s style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).
Moving on to 2. 2. Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
An author develops a character first and then reveals the character through the plot. Plot revelation is what it is all about. We do not reveal characters by telling. First develop, then reveal.
Appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, and actions are means of character revelation. I really like this list–let’s look at each piece.
How does your character act? That goes back to what does your character think. The behavior generally reflects the thoughts, but not always. Remember the Greek idea of the human being. What are the emotions, the thoughts, and the spirit of a person–and how does the author reflect them.
If a novel is the revelation of a character, then the entire point of showing the behavior of your characters is the novel. The behavior of the characters is the novel. Further, those behaviors are the revelation of the characters’ inmost motivations and ideas. Those are the kinds of things an author never tells but only shows through behavior.
In general, the initial scene, rising action, climax, falling action, and dénouement reflect the inmost parts (physical, thoughts, spiritual) of the protagonist which are seen through the protagonist’s behavior. So, when you ask, then how should a character behave, the answer is: the novel. I know that isn’t the kind of answer most people are looking for. You might say, well I just want to know what kind of behavior should a character X show? The answer is: the novel. From a simplistic point of view, you might ask–well I have a mean person character–how should they behave? My answer: what are the motivations and interests of the character. If you are simply talking about throwaways–the kinds of characters who don’t even have a name, then they generally aren’t important enough to depict an inner mental behavior, but then they still have thoughts and emotions. For example, a guard who returns a protagonist to his cell. You could just have the guard march the prisoner back–or your guard could be in a good mood, a bad mood, a cruel mood, etc. The interaction of the guard with the prisoner can either be a throwaway event or an event filled with revelation about the protagonist and the guard.