Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 948, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Khione: Enchantment and the Fox

8 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 948, Publishing, Protagonists, Example: Khione: Enchantment and the Fox

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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 SiEssie is my 26th novel.

Cover Proposal

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 development:

  1. Scene input (easy)
  2. Scene output (a little harder)
  3. Scene setting (basic stuff)
  4. Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
  5. Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
  6. 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:

  1. Design the initial scene
  2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
    1. Research as required
    2. Develop the initial setting
    3. Develop the characters
    4. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
  3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
  4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
  5. Write the climax scene
  6. Write the falling action scene(s)
  7. 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?

As I wrote before, the Enchantment novels allowed me to explore plots and themes I couldn’t in my other novel series. The forth novel in the Enchantment series is Khione: Enchantment and the Fox. I already explored about ancient goddesses and redemption and a sorceress and redemption. Khione looks at a different aspect of supernatural goddesses. In the Greek pantheon, when gods and goddesses conceive children with men, other gods, or creatures, it creates demi-gods and goddesses. These creatures are the numerous mythological beings in Greek epics and poetry. I touched on these beings in Hestia, and I was interested in writing about them along with their potential redemption. In Hestia, the demi-god beings are freed (redeemed) from their masters. In that group was Khione. Khione is a fox demi-goddess. Her name means snow in Greek. Her mother was Khione, the goddess of snow, and her father was the uncatchable fox created by Zeus.

Khione is the protagonist of the novel with her name. She is a Romantic character because she has powers and abilities outside the norm, plus she is at odds with her culture and society. These facts are revealed through the novel. Here is her description:

Pearce wore a similar uniform with his badge hidden in his pocket. He was not too tall or too short. He seemed a little too thin for his uniform. The university provided the uniform–it was supposed to fit well enough to cut a striking appearance. Generally, you got the luck of the draw. Pearce was between sizes—he looked like a little overwhelmed by the clothing. His official belt dangled too long at his side too. Beggars couldn’t be choosers. Pearce edged along the wall of the research building and slowly pulled the scope up to his eye. Immediately, the shadows lit up and Pearce saw it. He wasn’t certain at first exactly what he saw, but as his eye became used to the scope, he gently opened the other and the object in the shadows became clearer.

Pearce made a noise—a slight gasp.

Jason at his side shushed him, “You can’t make a sound, dude. You’ll scare her.”

“But she’s so far away.”

“She can hear…Tell me what you see.”

“I see a girl. She looks small and really thin. It’s hard to tell what she looks like. She’s staring at something…”

“The thing she’s staring at is a cat.”

“A cat?” Pearce’s voice tightened a little.

“Keep it down, man. If she hears you, she’ll scamper.”

“What’s she doing?”

“Hunting.”

“Hunting for what?”

“For cats. I’ve seen her catch squirrels and sometimes rabbits. Mostly she goes for cats.”

Pearce couldn’t take his eyes of the girl, “How long have you been watching her?”

“Since the beginning of the semester. I caught my first glimpse of her in the monitor for Bay State Road. She’s usually smart enough to stay away from the cameras. After that I started looking for her with the night vision scopes. She probably thinks she’s safely hidden in the darkness. She probably has no idea we can see her.”

Pearce shook his head, but not enough he lost sight of the girl, “This is crazy.”

“You bet it’s crazy. Wait ‘til she strikes. Then you’ll really be surprised.”

“Why’s that?”

“Just watch. When she tenses like that,” Jason pointed, “She’s about to attack…”

Pearce didn’t hear a sound. Through the night vision scope, he saw a green blur. He moved the scope in the direction of the blur. When he stopped, he gave another gasp. This one was really loud. For a moment, a naked girl knelt in the shadows and stared in his direction. A limp cat dangled from her mouth. Pearce couldn’t take his eyes off her. Then she was gone, “Where’d she go?”

Jason reluctantly put down his scope, “Who knows, man. She moves like the wind. She’s there one moment and you can barely see her move, the next she’s a hundred feet away—it’s uncanny.”

“Do you think we’ll see her again?”

“Maybe. It depends on whether this is her first or second kill tonight.”

“What do you mean?”

“She usually goes for two kills in a night.”

“Why two?”

“Dunno. Guess she’s hungry,” Jason laughed.

“Really, Jason, this is weird. Why would a naked girl be out hunting animals at night in this city?”

Jason leaned against the wall beside him, “I’ve been wondering the same thing for this whole semester. At first I thought it might be one of those weird sorority initiation rites. The school banned them, but you know how nuts the Greeks can get. But it wasn’t a one night thing. She was really hard to spot, but she was there consistently when I made my rounds.” He smiled, “That’s when I started applying the animal observation methods they teach in the advanced bio-labs.”

“They work?”

“They work too well. She follows basic predator behavior from stalking to kill.”

“And, you see her every night?”

Jason stared into the darkness, “Every night.”

At the beginning, Khione is living like a predator in the city. She lives on the street and hunts small animals. She eats them raw. In the next example, Pearce and Jason discuss Khione. This is one way to provide description through conversation. Here’s the piece:

Jason pulled a magnifying glass from his backpack and studied the necklace and the coin. After a moment he pronounced, “This looks like an ancient coin. Is that Greek lettering on it?”

“Yeah, it’s Greek.”

“A wolf on one side and an owl on the other. What’s that mean?”

“Dunno. I want to do a little research, but an owl was the symbol of Athena and of ancient Athens. I think that isn’t a wolf—it’s a fox.”

“Why a fox?”

“Khione calls herself a fox.”

“She acts much like a dog…”

“Don’t ever say that to her. She was offended that I said she acted like a dog. She’s emphatic about it—not a dog, a fox.”

“She’s pretty foxy. Under all that dirt, she looks pretty good. Her face looks foxy. Have you seen her ears?”

Pearce glanced at Jason, “Yeah, her ears are kind of pointed. I noticed, her teeth seem small and kind of sharp.”

“Are they actually sharpened?”

“No, they just look small, like kid’s teeth before they get their regular teeth.”

“Hey, man, that’s some good observation there. What about her body? I tried to get a good look the other night, but it was hard to see.”

Pearce shrugged, “She looks like any other woman, I guess. She appears kind of undernourished and immature, but I still don’t think she’s that young.”

“Yeah, her breasts are definitely different. Almost animal-like. You’ve seen everything.”

Pearce colored again.

Jason didn’t notice—he was writing. “Any odd jointings or strange muscle development?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Does she have a tail remnant?”

“A what?”

“On her butt—does she have a vertebrae extension that looks like a tail?”

“I saw that part—nothing like that.”

“Lucky you. Her face is definitely oddly shaped.”

“Her face is slightly strange, but not anything inhuman.”

“…but it does look like a fox. It’s slightly pointed, and her eyes seem large and slanted, but she doesn’t look oriental.”

“No, nothing oriental about it.”

Jason turned the page on his notebook, “Where did she say she came from?”

Pearce laughed, “She said she came from Greece.”

Jason wrote for a while, “She says she’s from Greece, and she has an old coin from Greece.”

“We don’t know that…”

“It’s got Greek on it. What else?”

“She wouldn’t eat cereal.”

“Meat eater. Why cats? Did you ask her that?”

“Not yet. Wait, I don’t want to get into a study of her.”

“It’s too late and why not? She’s conveniently taken a liking to you. I want information. What’s wrong with observing her and asking her a few questions every now and then? If you won’t do it, I’ll take her to my place and get everything I want.”

The Romantic part of the character is her obvious difference from the human norm. She is really smart (like a fox) as well. Since this is a discovery and revelation novel, it’s difficult to just find pieces from the novel that fully encapsulate the person who is Khione. You can see the pathos portion of the character as well. She lives on the street, eats cats, and has nothing at all. There is more to her pathos than that:

“Yeah, smartass, really. Look at my teeth. You’ve been staring at them since you came here. Look at my face. She flipped her hair off her ears—look at my ears, Jennifer.” She said the Jennifer a little oddly, like it was a new word to her.

Jason’s eyes got big.

“Do you want to look at the rest of my body? I’m not like you. I don’t look like you, and I don’t think like you.”

Jennifer turned her head to the side, “It doesn’t matter what you look like.”

“It always has before.”

Jennifer intentionally didn’t look at Khione, “Why are you here with Pearce if you think this way?”

“He has…he has…I cannot do otherwise.”

Jennifer faced Khione, “Why not?”

Pearce blushed, “She has to do whatever I order her.”

Jennifer, Jason, and Yumi’s mouths fell open.

Jennifer stammered, “Khione, you have to do whatever he orders?”

Khione stared at the stack of burgers, “What you said.”

“But why?”

Pearce sat back in his chair, “I have no idea. I told Jason, she tried to kill me when she first woke. She was injured. Since then, she has done what I ordered…”

Jennifer straightened, “And just what have you ordered her to do?”

Khione barked. It almost sounded like a laugh, “Usually, they want sex. He just had me write letters and learn to speak better.”

Jennifer blushed, “They want sex? Who are they?”

“Men, silly. Women hate me. Men use me. This is the way it has always been for me.”

Jennifer swallowed, “Just who are you, Khione?”

Khione’s lips rose over her teeth, “Look at my face. Look at my ears. You tell me who I am.”

Pearce cleared his throat, “She said she is a fox.”

Jennifer and Yumi turned Pearce an angry glance. Jennifer scowled, “What does that mean?”

Khione’s hands moved slowly toward the burgers. Jennifer flipped her one.

Jason asked, “Jen, aren’t you going to share with the rest of us?”

She scowled at him, but threw a couple of burgers to each of them. Pearce got up and returned with cans of coke. He got a large glass of water for Khione.

Jennifer asked, “Why doesn’t Khione get a Coke?”

Pearce popped his can open, “She won’t drink it.”

Khione had already eaten the meat out of her burger, “No like.” Khione picked up the glass and lapped at the water like an animal.

Jennifer slowly unwrapped a burger and took a bite. She swallowed it and asked, “Why do you say you are a fox? Who are you?”

Khione shrugged, “My father was Alopekos Teumesios and my mother was Khione the daughter of Boreas and Oreithyia.”

Jason began to write quickly in his notebook.

“Alopekos Teumesios raped my mother, and I was the result. I was bound…” She stopped suddenly.

Jennifer took another bite, “This sounds too much like a Greek myth. Go on.”

Khione glared, “You don’t believe me?”

Jennifer sounded apologetic, “I believe. It’s just difficult to understand. Your father raped your mother?”

“Yeah. My mother hated me. She was a creature of the woodlands, but a…” Khione held the sides of her head, “She was of the woodlands—I am an animal of the woodlands. She couldn’t stand that or the fact that I reminded her of my father. She sold me when I was still a girl.”

Everyone stopped as though they had turned to stone. Jennifer finally choked, “She sold you?”

“What else would a being like her do with a daughter who is an animal? She ate food like you. I hunted meat in the forest.”

Jennifer took a sip of Coke, “You mean you consider yourself to really be a fox?”

“This is why it will not last. I am not like you. I am not human. I am a fox.”

One of the great revelations in the novel is that Khione has always been a sex slave and a bound creature. She is a demi-goddess with great power, but her life has been one of slavery and degradation. This provides pathos and irony to the power of the Romantic protagonist. I think you can see why this character and these types of characters are so powerful.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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