1 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 941, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Warrior of Light
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’ve learned to develop characters who are Romantic and pathetic. As I’ve wrote, these types of characters appeal to readers. Readers like Romantic characters and they feel an emotional attachment to pathetic characters. I’ll move on to more examples from my writing. The novel that follows Children of Light and Darkness in the Ancient Light series is Warrior of Light. Warrior of Light is about a young man, Daniel Long, who becomes connected to Sveta and Klava, the girls from Children of Light and Darkness. Daniel Long is the protagonist of this novel. Here is his description from the novel:
Daniel Terrance Long was free, finally free. He felt that freedom like the blaze of late May sunshine and the heady spring scents that filled the London air. He was free from school. Free from his old, horrid school and his old neighborhood. Now he was accepted and enrolled in a new school, and he strolled down the side of the quiet tree shaded street of his new neighborhood. This new neighborhood was a bit more upscale and aristocratic than the last. It was dotted with Tudor mansions and older Victorian homes, all of them possessed large yards and gardens. In his mind, this was quite an improvement from the tightly packed suburban track-built homes that all looked the same, and gave him the impression they were all filled with similar unpleasant and ignorant people. His parents could not understand how happy Daniel was to move away from there. They were so indoctrinated with psychological claptrap along with modern ideas of childhood that he couldn’t even speak to them about it….
Herbert Lamport looked out with a smile at the young man there. He had heard that Mr. Long’s son might come calling. He hadn’t expected the lad so soon or so well disposed. Daniel Long was dressed in slacks and a long sleeved shirt. He was a pleasant looking young man with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was thin and didn’t look particularly athletic. Daniel’s face was not elongated like his father’s but his features were relatively nondescript. Handsome, but not particularly noteworthy. Herbert gave a slight bow, “Good afternoon.”
Daniel Long is made into a Romantic character. He is also manipulated into a somewhat pathetic character. He really doesn’t meet the criteria I gave you before. Here is what he becomes in the novel.
Daniel popped the top off his bottle with a flick of the back of his knife. He raised the bottle to Paul. Paul raised his, and they drank.
Paul stared at him, “It’s a good beer, but beer is an acquired taste for most.”
“I like cider,” Daniel grinned.
“I like British cider too,” Paul raised his glass. “You have learned well, Daniel. I am very proud of you. You are becoming a man, a man of great potential. You are not ready yet.”
“Yes, sir. I realize that.”
Paul nodded, “Your training will continue in Britain. Don’t worry about the why or how. If you have the opportunity to gain more skills…”
“More skills than this?”
“These are the basics in warfare, ancient warfare…the skills every man should know and practice—especially every man of action.”
“Am I to be a man of action?”
“What do you want to be?”
“I want to be like you, Colonel Bolang.”
It was Paul’s turn to look to the side and take a big bite out of his sandwich. He continued after a while, “When you return to England, you will find scope for your new skills: A riding team, a fencing team, a shooting team. We will help make these things happen. Don’t worry about them. Do you still want to go to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst?”
“I do right now.”
“You realize what it will take for you to succeed at that goal?”
“No, not really. I will strive at my academics and strive at any training you place before me. I will exceed their standards and seek to exceed yours.”
“Good. You realize that your future life will be one of danger?”
Daniel grinned happily, “I hope, but how do you know that?”
“Sveta and Klava. I will tell you this now. It is a breach of their faith that I know you will keep silent about until the right time. I want to warn you, and I want to prepare you. You have been chosen…”
“What do you think about it?”
“This is all I’m going to tell you about it. Sveta chooses a warrior. She has chosen you. You yourself must choose, but first, I told you before, you must prove yourself.”
“How can I prove myself?”
“Sandhurst is a good start. I could have started at that point, but I didn’t.”
Paul stared at him, “I was a fool.”
“I don’t believe it.”
“Believe it, Daniel. I was not like you. I was a rebellious youth and a rebellious man. I had not disciplined myself to life, like you. Leora would not have chosen me, then.”
“Leora chose you? Like you say Sveta chose me?”
“Yes,” Paul stroked his chin, “They chose their warriors.”
“Who are they?”
Paul smiled, “Leora and Sveta. Daniel, you are the man I would like to have been. I wasted my youth learning all these skills the hard way.”
“There is an easy way?”
“The tutelage of masters and teachers is always a better way to learn rather than on the battlefield with bullets whizzing next to your ears. Your mother will thank you. My mother feared for me every day. Now about Sveta.”
Daniel looked up expectantly.
“She has chosen, but she is still a young woman. Your job, your responsibility, is to see no harm befalls her. If you prove yourself, if you chose her, if you are worthy of her, perhaps your life may be linked to hers in marriage and in life. You must do nothing to short circuit that process. I promise, if you do, your fate will rest in your own hands.”
Daniel’s throat was dry and no amount of beer could slake it, “What if Sveta…?”
“She may try. She is not perfect, but you know that. She is not like you and me, but she is not perfect. She is impulsive. She does not think out her actions many times. She is immature, but she is only fifteen.”
“She might get angry at me.”
Paul laughed, “She will be angry at you. You may fight like old married people.”
Daniel glanced at him.
“Look, Daniel. In the history of the world, things never happened to these women like they are now. Their lives are changing with the times. It wasn’t their choice and it wasn’t their desire, but it is.”
“Who are these women?”
“In time, you may know. Protect her. Prove yourself. Make your choice. Be worthy of her, and you may be brought into the club. If you truly want to be like me, that is the way of it.”
They finished their sandwiches in thoughtful silence.
Daniel Long does not begin as a Romantic character—he is developed into a Romantic character. This is a special type of novel, and one I really enjoy and admire. Starship Troopers is this type of novel. It is a novel where the protagonist starts as an ordinary character, but who slowly becomes a Romantic character. Readers also like these types of novels—they lead the reader to assume that they too can become a person like the protagonist. On the other hand, Daniel Long can’t really become a strong pathos character. I do us a little trick to make him slightly like that. Not much further in the novel we read:
The woman listened for a moment, hung up the telephone, and turned abruptly toward Daniel, “She said she doesn’t want to speak to you under any circumstances.”
“I want to speak to her.” Daniel took the steps two at a time. The woman below bellowed after him then she picked up the telephone again.
Daniel ran to Sveta and Klava’s room. He knocked on the door. Sveta answered. When she saw him, her eyes slitted, and she tried to slam the door. Daniel was too quick for her. He put his foot in it and his fingers. The door slammed partially against his hand and he grunted. Daniel pushed the door open. Sveta’s strength was nothing compared to his. She stood defiantly in front of him. Klava sat in the desk chair. She had turned to face them.
The room was small with two single beds, two desks, and two chairs. Books covered nearly every surface. Klava called out, “Hi, Daniel.”
Sveta snarled, “Tais-toi, Klava.” She stared at Daniel, “What do you want?”
“I want to know why you stopped writing to me. Is that any way to treat me?”
“You didn’t tell me about Pevensy.”
“I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“What do you think it feels like to be lied to and led along, Daniel?”
“I had other things I was thinking about that night. Do you honestly think I could tell you the horrible things Mr. Pevensy said about you?”
“I think you could have told me that he would never hire me. Do you know how embarrassing it was for me to face him? He said I had a voice that sounded like a retarded child. He said I couldn’t control my voice. He said I would be an embarrassment to his organization and the nation. That hurt, Daniel. But he told you all that already, didn’t he?”
“Yes, and I tried to defend you.”
“How can you defend against that? He didn’t attack my abilities, he attacked who I am. I can’t fix these things. They are a part of me.” A new thought came to her, “Do you feel the same way about me, Mr. Long?”
“Never. I love you the way you are,” the words sounded trite to Daniel.
“Really?” Sveta’s reply was frosty.
Daniel caught the sound of running steps on the stairs behind him.
“Please Sveta, they will be here in a moment. I have so much I want to talk to you about. Please let me stay for a moment.”
Klava spoke behind her, “They are coming for him, Sveta. Betty must have alerted security.”
“I don’t have anything more to say to Daniel right now.”
“Please, Sveta. When can I speak to you again? I’m begging you.”
Klava scraped her chair back, “That sounds earnest.”
“Write me. When I am of a mind, I might reply.”
Two security officers rushed up behind Daniel, “Sir, you will have to leave the woman’s dormitory. You were not invited in. If you don’t leave, we’ll have to arrest you.”
“I’ll leave officer, but let me say just one thing more. Sveta. Klava make her look at me.”
“Sveta, perhaps I should have told you what Pevensy said, but what have you not told me that you should?”
Sveta whipped around. Her mouth opened wide. Daniel was already being escorted down the hall and toward the stairs.
The pathos here is that Daniel and Sveta have a fight and it appears their wedding is off. This is about the most powerful way to build pathos for a Romantic male character. This pathos is developed and built in the novel to the end where Sveta—that’s giving you too much. Let’s just say, one of the fun parts of the novel is how Daniel wins Sveta’s heart again and how Sveta comes back to Daniel. Sveta has a lot to learn about life. You can see that I made a Romantic character, and I put that Romantic character into a pathetic situation.
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