13 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 922, Publishing, The Protagonist
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
Would you like to write a novel that a publisher will consider? Would you like to write a novel that is published? How about one that sells? I’m in Scottsdale. I played golf at Camelback golf club. I’m staying at the Sanctuary with five ladies—don’t worry, I’m supervised.
Now, what about characters. I don’t mean all characters, but you can take it that way—I specifically mean the protagonist, protagonist’s helper, and the antagonist. The novel is a revelation of the protagonist. If you get this wrong, you will have nothing. The common impression is that a novel is a revelation of a plot. Since the plot is the revelation of the protagonist’s telic flaw to its climax and resolution, the plot is obviously the revelation of the protagonist. Note, the novel is not the revelation of the entire life of the protagonist. There are novels that are a revelation of the entire life of a protagonist, but this is senseless unless the telic flaw resolution concerns the full life of the protagonist.
There you have the basis for every novel—the novel is the revelation of the protagonist. To be specific, it is the revelation of the protagonist as it regards the resolution of the protagonist’s telic flaw. This, in a nutshell is a novel. Note, I’ve been harping on the novel being unique and entertaining. I’ve also been looking at the initial scene and the two initial paragraphs. Put together my point about the protagonist with unique and entertaining. This means the protagonist must be unique and entertaining. Notice, if the novel is the resolution of the protagonist’s telic flaw. Either the protagonist or the telic flaw must be unique and entertaining. How about both. A common and unentertaining protagonist with a unique and entertaining telic flaw will spell death to a novel, while a unique and entertaining protagonist with a common and unentertaining telic flaw might make a good novel. Look at The Catcher in the Rye. I don’t really like the main character or his telic flaw, perhaps this is a poor example, but generally youthful angst and coming of age is a very common and unentertaining telic flaw. The protagonist must carry a novel like this. Or take any of the “love” themes and telic flaws. Almost all of these have been overused to death—they are common and mostly unentertaining. The protagonist and the protagonist’s helper must carry these types of novels—there isn’t any other choice.
So the protagonist must be unique and entertaining. The question is how do we make a unique and entertaining protagonist?
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