28 January 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 937, Publishing, Protagonists, About Pathos
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?
Although you might discover one or two people in the world who think they have experienced no trials at all in their lives, I know that everyone else in the world—all seven billion or so minus two, think they have experienced great hardship. The most poor might not think much about it, but they seek every day for enough calories to survive until the next. On the other hand, the wealthy will tell you they confront difficult decisions every day. The wealthy know that their decisions mean the employment of hundreds if not thousands. They make decisions that affect the lives of others. Without those decisions many more people would be starving. Those in the middle likewise see their lives filled with difficulty. Their questions are more about their current work and future prospects.
In every case, from poor to wealthy, people truly do suffer to survive. You can’t denigrate the decisions of the wealthy that might lead to a person being out of work or the failure of a business. You can’t denigrate the decisions of a middle class person who is seeking the best for himself or her family. You must respect the decisions of the poor that mean literal life or death, food or hunger. Then there are the idiots, hangers-on, and moochers. These are perhaps those who know pain and suffering of another type, but cheat their hardworking brothers and sisters to lessen their poverty.
Even the lowest criminal will tell you about his or her suffering. They were filled with terror when they were robbing your house. Terror, that you might discover their nefarious actions.
In any case, every human being suffers in one way or another. The trick is to tie their suffering to your characters. Readers respect a Romantic character—they want to be like a Romantic character. On the other hand, they imagine their lives are like a pathetic character. Both are exaggerations, but they are common exaggerations. Human beings want an archetype to look up (or down) to. Similarly, human beings want to revel in their own pity. A Romantic character who evokes pity (pathos) is the perfect character—it touches almost every reader on a subconscious and fully conscious level. Everyone wants to be unique and special and everyone wants to imagine they overcome hardships to exist as they are.
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