22 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 931, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Aegypt
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?
Aegypt was published in 2008 by then Capstone which became Oaktara publishing. Aegypt is a novel about a French Foreign Legionnaire, Lieutenant Paul Bolang. Paul Bolang was a hero and soldier of the Great World War—World War One. He came from a military family and his father found him a place in the Paris Garrison. Paul was not comfortable with life in time of peace. He ran to the bosom of the Foreign Legion to return to a world of fighting and bloodshed. Here is some information about Paul from the novel:
He lingered long over the breakfast of fresh croissants and coffee. The black liquid filled his senses, and too easily, he let the early morning touch of it along with the nicotine of his cigarette lull him into a languid peace.
The burning white of the table cloth and napkins, the ragged dried flowers that graced the center of the small officer’s table, and the taste of the strong coffee were too refined for this place of easy death. And, Paul had seen too much of death here to forget it so nonchalantly. Still, the thought didn’t stop his mind from wandering relaxed and unconcerned.
Unfortunately, that was always when the thoughts that brought him here came unbidden to his brain. Unlike Captain Ourain, he hadn’t been sent here on a punishment tour. He volunteered. It was too easy to say the Military Bureau in Paris became tiresome. It was harder to face the truth, that he would much rather fight the hordes of nomads and bandits than confront the boring day to day military operations in a peacetime army.
He liked command. He liked the pitch of battle, and he was very good at it. After the end of the Great War, when his father’s plans culminated in his appointment to an important and honorable billet, he discovered the inactivity stifling. He was weary after the years of combat, but he tasted blood, and found in military leadership, a power over men. He was intoxicated by battle and became heady at the spilling of blood in justice. He felt he had a power over evil, and he became an angel of vengeance over the crimes of men.
Paul gradually came to himself. He held the coffee cup in a tense grip. He consciously relaxed his grip and set the cup down gently.
The blood of men was like nicotine and expresso; it existed to feed his lungs and senses with the musty scent of death. He was good at it too. His men followed him to their deaths. Success in battle overwhelmed them. His confidence became theirs. His zeal was theirs. They basked in the power his expertise brought.
When Paul was first assigned to Fort Saint, the outpost was almost overrun by the desert bandits. The Legionnaires were undisciplined and surly. Their combat losses were astounding. The peoples of Tozeur and Nefta held the Legionnaires in contempt. As was the intention of the Legionnaire commander of Tunisia and the Foreign Bureau when they assigned him, Paul changed all that. Paul had Sergeant Maurice le Boehm reassigned to the Fort. Paul worked with Sergeant le Boehm before. They were military comrades of over a hundred battles. Sergeant le Boehm was a tough and merciless professional soldier. The Sergeant wielded an iron discipline that molded the Legionnaires into a force Paul could lead to victory after victory. With the keen supervision of the Sergeant and the masterful leadership of the Lieutenant, now, no desert force was equal to them.
Unlike Captain Ourain the men invested their trust in Paul, and like the true officer Paul basked in it. His strength came from their open worship. His approval was crisp and heady to them.
His family would never understand. His father and father’s father all officers, all military courtiers, who had never known blood, the feel of a man’s life in their hands. He profaned them with his embrace of a combat command. His father couldn’t understand the secret of his change. His family couldn’t understand how he would choose the action of Tunisia over the promotions of Paris.
His parent’s letters came to him monthly. They begged him to return and spoke of sentiments and events he could barely understand anymore. His mother wrote of emotions Paul thought he could never know again. His life had become centered in one thing, the Foreign Legion and the responsibilities of command.
Paul could congratulate himself. He brought the esteem of his men up to a heady and overwhelming point. They were interested now in success and not just survival. He brought their battle loses down to nearly zero and increased their training to a fever pitch. They were a capable fighting force, now feared by the bandits and for once respected by the Tunisian and nomadic peoples who lived in the wastes surrounding the Chott Melrhir and Chott Djerid.
Paul was proud of his men and proud of himself. His family was foolish to try to tempt him to return to Paris; this was his environment. It was the essence of his self.
Paul Bolang is an archetype of a perfect military officer. He is dedicated to his profession and his way of life like few men. In this itself it should be obvious he is a Romantic character. Almost all archetypes are Romantic characters. Further, there is much more to Paul Bolang than what I gove in this short piece from the novel; however, it should also be self-evident that Paul Bolang is in opposition to his culture and society. Paul’s father found him a safe garrison command in Paris, Paul chose to go the French Foreign Legion in Tunisia. Paul’s father was a military courtier, Paul is wholly a military professional. Paul’s father is a man of genteel quality. Paul is a leader of men. Paul is in direct opposition to the norms of his father’s and mother’s culture and society. This is a further indication that Paul is a Romantic character. Paul is not a pathetic character and can’t be made one. His is too powerful as a man and as a person. You can’t feel sorry for a man like Paul Bolang. You can admire him.
Paul is a great example of a Romantic character. This is the type of character that most readers love. All Romantic characters have faults some more prominent than others, and all protagonists have a telic flaw that drives them and the novel. An author can never forget this.
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