2 December 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 881, Novel Development, more Characters and Character Arcs
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 started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja.
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. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
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.
These are the steps I use to write a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
Here is my list of ways an author might add extraneous writing to a novel. Let’s look at the second.
- Material not relevant to the climax or plot.
- Characters or character arcs not relevant to the climax or plot.
- Side stories.
- Information not relevant to the climax, setting, or plot.
- Excessive storylines.
- Lack of a sufficient telic flaw.
- Incorrect protagonist.
Sometimes an author might introduce a character that is extraneous to the novel. The author needs to either write the character more strongly, eliminate the character, or decrease their initial prominence. I mentioned yesterday, these kinds of characters are many times the result of an abortive protagonist’s helper. Let me write a bit more about this.
Some authors write about a protagonist and an antagonist. This is the minimum for any novel (or other literary art). There is no problem with independent or loner protagonists. I prefer adding the protagonist’s helper to the mix. Almost every romance novel (theme or subtheme) has a protagonist’s helper. In the case of romance, the protagonist’s helper is the love interest. In general, the love interest can’t be the antagonist (it could, but oh baby). Really, let’s evaluate this. You could possibly have an antagonist as the love interest, but the problem is that the antagonist opposes the protagonist and the resolution of the telic flaw. In fact, the antagonist usually is the reason for the telic flaw. In a crime mystery, the antagonist is the criminal and the protagonist the detective. In comic books, you sometimes have the unbelievable, the antagonist falls in love with the protagonist and that helps resolve the telic flaw in the climax—it is possible, but usually this is a comic book theme.
On the other hand, the protagonist’s helper is usually a character who helps the protagonist overcome the telic flaw and the antagonist. In Sherlock Holms, Dr. Watson is the protagonist’s helper. In the Little Prince, the Rose Girl is the protagonist’s helper. You can spot protagonist’s helpers all though more advanced and later literature. In the Victorian era, the era of the real development of the novel in English, the women of the era were right on the concept of the protagonist’s helper. In Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Caruso, Friday was the protagonist’s helper. Let’s discuss more about this.
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