2 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 942, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Warrior of Darkness
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 wrote, these types of characters appeal to readers. Readers like Romantic characters and they feel an emotional attachment to pathetic characters. I’ll give you more examples from my writing. The novel that follows Warrior of Light in the Ancient Light series is Warrior of Darkness. Warrior of Darkness is about one of the sisters in Children of Light and Darkness, Klava. Klava also plays an important role in Warrior of Light. Klava is the protagonist of this novel. Here is her description from the novel:
Rain sizzled across the broken concrete. The black skies drained dark cold drops and sprinkled frozen bits of ice. They touched Klava Diakonov’s skin and numbed her cheeks and fingers. A blast of lightning cascaded across the heavens. She could not see it with her eyes. Still, she wrapped her black scarf more tightly over her face and pulled her dirty black coat closer. In spite of that, the blaze of light touched her senses and blinded them for a moment.
The lightning outlined and illuminated her. She stood across from The Bishop’s Cross Pub in the grass at the base of a knoll. She was a slight woman with very black hair and dark skin. Her complexion was uniformly the color of coffee au lait. It was much darker than the Irish norm of Belfast. Her eyes were emerald and as deep as two still pools of water. They appeared almost Egyptian, or at least, like a tomb painting from that cursed British Museum. Klava was dressed entirely in black. And in her hand she held a small tablet of black metal that was covered with hieroglyphics and the depiction of a face. The face was hers and the tablet was hers.
Regardless of the downpour, Klava lifted up her cold wet hands. Water dripped down her sleeves and further chilled her. Her features tensed in concentration and strange words that were neither Irish Gaelic nor English escaped her lips.
Klava is obviously a Romantic character. You can also tell, she is a very strong pathetic character. This novel is very dark. Klava is a dark character. She isn’t evil—she is misunderstood. The depth of pathos in this novel is extreme. I’ll give you an example from it:
Scáth meandered along the dark streets of Belfast. She was fourteen, but very tall for her age and thin. Her hair was black and she was dressed in black. She was dressed in black because that was all Klava wore, and Scáth received whatever Klava passed on or bequeathed. Scáth’s face was covered with grime. Under the dirt it was white, very white and unfortunately her cheeks lacked the cute freckles all Irish lasses were supposed to have. She wished her skin were dark like Klava’s, but that wasn’t to be.
The rain stopped a while ago, but the streets were still wet. Klava had been gone too long— Scáth knew what that meant. She kept her nose up and took deep breaths. That was the best way to find Klava—perhaps the only way to find Klava.
Scáth turned onto Ballarat Street. This was a bad area, but not any worse than were she and Klava lived. She didn’t exactly live with Klava, but Klava let her stay at her flat. That was just about as good as living. She had a place out of the rain—except when she was looking for Klava. Scáth had tried all the usual places. Klava knew the darkest and most secluded hiding spots of the city. They were places always just in view, but hidden. The best places to disappear and still keep an eye on things. Usually, by this time Klava wouldn’t be able to do anything, especially keep an eye on things.
Scáth smelled it. Ah, there it was. The smell of John Player Specials. The sweet cigarette smoke was clear to her in the wet night air. Klava couldn’t ever hide from Scáth’s nose—not as long as she smoked that brand of cigarettes. The usual fair in Belfast was some cheap Irish brand or at least an American Winston or Camels. Klava always smoked John Players. Scáth bought them for her by the carton.
Scáth sought with her nose. Klava must be in really bad shape. She had never hid out here before. Scáth followed the smell toward a loading dock. A pile of crates sat in front of it. The sweet tobacco scent came from there. Scáth walked quietly over and stepped behind the pile.
Klava leaned back against the concrete loading dock. Her legs sprawled out in front of her. A cigarette dangled from the side of her lips. On the ground at her side were the cast off butts of more than one pack. Scáth sat next to her. She sat as close as she could. Klava was cold. Her hands trembled and her fingers were blue.
Scáth took Klava’s arm and clasped it against her, “You’re wet and cold.”
Klava took a shuddering drag on her cigarette. Her eyes were tired and without hope.
Scáth tugged on her arm, “All right. I know what you want to tell me. How many this time?”
Tears leaked between Klava’s eyelids, “I saved over a hundred. One hundred thirty-seven exactly.”
“Let’s see it.”
Klava dug in her pocket. After a bit, Scáth had to help her find it. Scáth pulled out a fine gold chain. It was very thin and very long. It was so long, Scáth couldn’t tell there were new links, but there had to be one hundred thirty-seven new links on the chain. Klava leaned against her. Her voice was choked, “Please, Scáth, count them.”
“Only the new ones, then.” Scáth began to count. When she reached one hundred thirty-seven Klava gave a sigh. She began to sob softly. Scáth put her arms around her and rocked her, “You saved one hundred thirty-seven, dear. You did well tonight.”
Klava tried to light a fresh cigarette. Her hands shook too much to manage it. Scáth held the lighter to the tip and it finally lit. In the light of the flame, she touched Klava’s lips, “You bit your lip and bled quite a lot.”
“You smell like vomit. Did you have anything to eat?”
Klava shook her head.
“Let’s go home. You need to warm up, dear, or you won’t be able to do anything tomorrow.”
“I’ve got to confess…”
“Of course you do.” Scáth knew the routine: first the number saved, then counting the links, confession, then the number who died, then counting those links.
This is absolute pathos. In case it isn’t clear, Klava causes herself mental harm and anguish when she uses her power. Her power can save many—the innocent, but at the same time, those who caused the situation are killed. She is a person of great mercy, but she doesn’t appear to be at all. In my opinion, this is the most powerful type of pathos. A character who is hungry or injured because of their own fault or even because of other neglect is nothing compared to those who hunger because they give their food away, or those who accept injury for another. This is the true power of pathos. In the case of Klava, you have a goddess who is willing to face great humiliation, pain, and suffering for people who have no idea she even exists. This is a very powerful pathos idea that can almost only be developed with a Romantic character. Klava is indeed Romantic—she is a goddess.
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