31 July 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 757, Shiggy, Protagonist’s Character
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 my 27th novel, working title Claire. I’m working on marketing materials.
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)
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Here’s the theme statement from Sorcha.
Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Then what is Shiggy’s character—that is what is revealed through showing in the novel. Shiggy has bad judgement, doesn’t take responsibility for her actions, is conniving, is always thinking, is adverse to authority, does listen well (sometimes too well), is thoughtful, is kind, hasn’t had many friends (zero in fact). There’s more. In the novel, Sorcha, my job as an author is to show you Shiggy and not tell you Shiggy. I could recite all those personality characteristics of Shiggy, but that doesn’t make an entertaining novel.
Let’s just think about it. I could write: Shiggy didn’t have any friends, but she made friends with an Unseelie fairy. Unseelie is a dark or evil fairy. This is just boring. How much more interesting and entertaining when I show you over four or five chapters how Shiggy made friends with Ashly, the Dark Ash fairy. How much more fun to see the interaction of Shiggy with Ashly than to simply be told. Novels are entertaining because they show and don’t tell.
The characteristics of Shiggy reflect throughout the novel each chapter and each scene relates a new revelation. When Shiggy gets airsick during their team’s helicopter desert run in to the target, you learn something about Shiggy. When Shiggy exults during her airsickness familiarity and desensitization flights, we learn more about her. Every time Shiggy fights back against Sorcha, we see who she really is. When she resolves herself to her status, we see more—and we see how she is changing. The telic change of Shiggy Tash is what the story and novel is all about.
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