18 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 927, Publishing, Powerful Protagonists
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?
Think about your favorite protagonists. I already mentioned Romantic protagonists. These are usually people’s favorite characters and protagonists. There is more to favorite protagonists. One of my favorite protagonists is Trinka from Alison Pickrell’s As Eagles. Trinka is a girl child who was abandoned by her mother and left in an empty rental house. How can you not love Trinka. Trinka is a plain dirty kid who has almost nothing to eat but wants to become something. Her imagination is beautiful. She is a protagonist enveloped and developed in pathos. Trinka is a character who creates emotion just by existing. Pathos means an emotional argument in rhetoric and logic. Protagonists like Trinka are pathetic. The most powerful pathetic characters are girls or women. Men or boys can become pathetic characters, but usually the circumstances and not their existence govern the power of the pathos concerning a boy or men. In almost every culture and society, people expect men and boys to be self-sufficient. A hungry boy or man is equated with a lazy boy or man. On the other hand, a woman or girl is almost always viewed from the standpoint of pathos—the fact they are hungry can’t be attributed directly to them but to their circumstances. As I mentioned, a boy or man can be developed into a pathetic character, but they generally can’t begin as a pathetic character.
Other key elements of pathos are abuse, disfigurement, harm, denigration, and etc. So, a girl character who is abused, hungry, abandoned, in pain, and all, will create a very powerful pathetic character. I like to write using Romantic characters who are also pathos building. For example, I mentioned Valeska before. Valeska is my vampire girl. She is abandoned, hungry, abused, homeless, and alone. Even though she confesses that she is at fault for her condition and sin, she is still a powerful pathetic character. Also, Aksinya from the novel mentioned at the beginning of this blog is a powerful pathetic character. Although Aksinya is a sorceress who calls a demon from hell, she is a young woman who loses her family. She has nothing except her demon and her life. This is a powerfully pathetic and Romantic character.
Pathos is a powerful characteristic for a protagonist. You should consider these to be major elements of a strong protagonist.
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