27 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 511, Character Change 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 3. 3. Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
Let’s look at change. I think I might have to give some strong definitions of character development to get where we need to go. For now, let’s consider the major characteristic of the protagonist according to Aristotle. In Aristotle’s treatise on tragedy, the primary characteristic of the protagonist is a telic flaw which drives the climax of the work. A protagonist who overcomes his telic flaw results in a comedy (success). A protagonist who can’t overcome his telic flaw results in a tragedy (failure). The change in the character is overcoming his telic flaw. In a pure Aristotelian work, no other character can have a change in their character. This doesn’t mean other characters can’t change, but only that they cannot change in their basic character.
The enormous question is: how does the protagonist change and what does a change of character mean? Here is a very simple example from my novel Aksinya. In Aksinya, the protagonist, Aksinys calls a demon. She regrets this from the very beginning. Her telic flaw is the temptation of lust–this includes sorcery and everything else you can imagine about lust. To change, Aksinya must remove her telic flaw or be overcome by it. The demon she called represents her temptation and her telic flaw. To succeed, Aksinya must get rid of her personal and real demon. This defines the climax and defines her change. If she fails, that is a climax, and she dies–tragedy. If she succeeds, that is the climax and she lives–comedy. This change defines the change of character in the novel and the climax of the novel–it is also the change of the telic flaw. Other characters in the novel all have flaws, but not telic flaws. Let’s talk about this and telic flaws.