5 June 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 701, Character Interaction Non-Romantic Archetypes, Style 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, proposed title, Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
I just started writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Trainee. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is something like this: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, the dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si. Essie is my 26th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I’m editing many of my novels using comments from my primary reader. I finished editing Children of Light and Darkness and am now writing on my 27th novel, working title Claire.
I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.
- Scene input (easy)
- Scene output (a little harder)
- Scene setting (basic stuff)
- Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
- Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
- Release (climax of creative elements)
One of my blog readers posed these questions. I’ll use the next few weeks to answer them.
- Conflict/tension between characters
- Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
- Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
- Evolving vs static character
- Language and style
- Verbal, gesture, action
- Words employed
- Sentence length
- Type of grammar
- Field of reference or allusion
- Tone – how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.
- Mannerism suggested by speech
- 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 15. 15. Style
Woah—style is huge. I just spent more than six months defining style from almost every angle I could imagine. Here are the elements I found for an author’s style.
1. Novel based style
a. Writing focus
c. Scene development
d. Word use
g. Use of figures of speech
i. Character revelation
k. Real world ties
m. Character interaction
2. Scene based style
c. Tension and release development
e. Theme development
Quick digression: Back in the USA.
The common non-romantic characters are represented best by the Victorian era writers. A non-romantic character is still an archetype, and a very important one. To see what a non-romantic character is, let’s unravel the romantic character. Where the romantic character is like a perfect human, the type of human most people aspire to be and none really achieve, the non-romantic character is certainly achievable. The romantic character always has a telic flaw, that telic flaw is usually external, but can be internal. On the other hand, the telic flaw of the non-romantic character is almost always internal. The romantic character is an ideal. The non-romantic character is written to appear somewhat normal that is as normal goes. The romantic character is oppressed by the system and fights it. The non-romantic character lives within the system and is an expert in it—or many times is an expert in it.
So, let’s look at the Bronte sisters and a few of their characters. You will observe wise and reasonably educated women who are working within the cultural and social system to achieve their purpose. Their telic flaw comes from their internal nature which they must overcome to achieve the resolution of the climax. In Jane Eyre, the protagonist Jane must work within the cultural and social system to discover love. Her telic flaw is that she can’t love and she finds it in the protagonist’s helper. The Bronte’s novels are all similar. Their heroines (protagonists) are all normal women with internal telic flaws. This isn’t just the Bronte sisters either. In Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, the telic flaw is prejudice (judgementalism). The heroine must overcome her tendency to make judgements based on first impressions and lack of evidence. How about Dicken’s? In Oliver Twist, you have a special person who seeks normalcy. The character of Oliver is still non-romantic, but his telic flaw is external. He is a normal noble person, but displaced. Compare Oliver to Sara Crew. Sara Crew of A Little Princess is a romantic character. She is a perfect princess, not in reality (compared to Oliver who has an upstanding background), but rather because of the perfection of her character. Sara fights against the system and not within it. She opposes it. Oliver Twist lives and exists and works within the system. Sara Crew’s telic flaw is that she is an orphan. This is similar to Oliver, but his specific telic flaw is that he is unacknowledged.
Most writers write about non-romantic characters. However, readers most favorite characters are romantic characters. They are the people we wish we were. Non-romantic characters are nothing to sneeze at, but they are characters we imagine we are and not who we wish we were.
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