5 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 945, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth
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?
The first novel in the Enchantment series is Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth. I went through all kinds of iterations to get to this title. This novel isn’t on contract yet, so I’m not sure if this will be the final title. Hestia is about the accidental incantation of the Greek goddess Hestia. In the concept of this novel, the gods existed for the express purpose of pointing people eventually to the one true God. If you know anything about the Greek gods, you know they have very odd antecedents. They were all created and not preexistent. Their questions about life are about the same as ours, but the question I wanted to ask in the novel is whether Hestia could be redeemed. At the same time, Hestia is not the protagonist. The protagonist of the novel is Dr. Angela Matheson. She is one of four archeologists who accidentally call Hestia. The problem of Hestia’s redemption becomes even more the problem of Angela’s redemption.
Angela is somewhat of a Romantic character. She is culturally different—she in in a profession that is normally not for women—especially for the time. She is strong and intelligent. She is the leader of the group although she is not the official leader. She takes Hestia under her wing to help the goddess cope with the modern world and her questions. Although Angela is somewhat of a Romantic character, she is not wholly a Romantic character. She is turned into a pathos character in the novel. Here is her description from the novel:
Dr. Angela Matheson was almost Phil’s opposite. Petit and dark, she was dressed appropriately for the temperature, but to a tee. She wore fitted khaki shirt and pants. Her black hair was pulled primly and exactly back from her pale features. A big floppy hat covered it. She was known for her fieldwork, and though she always started the day spotless, she closed it with more ancient dust and dirt on her than anyone.
Not necessarily the description of a Romantic character. She becomes a pathos character later.
After a moment of fumbling, Nomius took out a big ring of ancient keys and placed them on the counter.
“Lady,” Hestia half turned her head toward Angela, “take the keys, but use caution.”
Angela walked to the counter. She stared at the keys. Then she cautiously stretched out her hand, and grasped the ring. With inhuman speed, Nomius reached over the counter and flipped the ring over Angela’s hand. The ring closed immediately over her wrist, and she flinched back, shaking the ring and keys as though with that action she could fling them from her arm.
Nomius laughed aloud mirthlessly.
Hestia waved her wand and his laugh was immediately bitten off. The sweat sparkled in the curls of his hair and beard and dripped off the sides of his face. With a second motion, Hestia’s wand came up.
Nomius mouth fell open again, but he shut it immediately.
Angela strained at the ring and tried to pull it over her hand. The harder she pulled the tighter the ring became.
“Lady,” called Hestia, she waved Angela over.
Angela whimpered, but came to Hestia. A look of panic filled Angela’s features, and she pulled with all her might at the tightening ring.
“Stop!” Hestia demanded, “Show me the ring.”
Fear widened Angela’s eyes. She held the ring up for Hestia to study. Hestia didn’t touch it. She carefully inspected the ring and the keys. It rested loosely on Angela’s arm, but the marks of the keys showed on her sun-darkened skin. The ring appeared like old brass, a heavy patina covered it. No symbols or breaks were immediately visible on it. The heads of four keys, one new and three ancient, were threaded on the ring. Of the old keys, the first was iron, the second brass, and the third copper. She whispered to Angela, “Don’t try to remove it. It is an ancient enchantment.” Then she addressed the satyr again, “Nomius, I demand you tell us how to remove this ring.”
Nomius pressed his lips more tightly together. Hestia yelled threats and commands at him for a while longer, but he would not speak again. Finally, she pronounced, “Tomorrow, I will come in the morning. Be ready to answer my questions then, or you will remain here forever, unmoving.” She waved the laurel branch again, and though Nomius’ lips trembled, even the sweat stopped on his brow as though frozen in time. “Come,” she waved to the three behind her.
Jack and Phil left immediately, but Angela held up the ring on her arm. Hestia shook her head, “I cannot remove it now. I must think on these things. There is much more here than I expected to find.”
Angela is gifted a set of keys that hold the solution to one of the great mysteries of the novel. I won’t tell you more at this time. You can visit my site and read the first chapter of the novel. Each novel has a purpose. Each novel is unique in itself. Hestia is like The Second Mission more of an example of how a more normal character makes sense in the context of the novel. For all my explanation, Angela is more of a normal type character who grows in her understanding and power. This is similar to Alan Fisher in The Second Mission. Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is that although Romantic and pathetic characters are popular with readers, many times the novel needs a more normal archetype of a character. Further, notice, if Hestia were the protagonist, she would be a Romantic protagonist.
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