17 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 957, Publishing, Protagonists, Examples: A Season of Honor
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?
Readers like Romantic characters because they want to be like them. They like pathetic characters because they want to love and comfort them. I do use Romantic and somewhat pathos building protagonists in my science fiction. I have three published science fiction novels as a series, called the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. The novels are individually named: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A season of Honor. The theme of the novels is focused around–honor. What are the protagonists like? Let’s look at A Season of Honor.
In A Season of Honor, the Prince John-Mark is back, but he is a changed man. He was banished for ten years and lost his rank. At the moment, he is the Baron Shawn du Locke. Count Ian Acier asks Shawn to take his daughter Elina to the Imperial Capital to wed a Duke’s son. The problem with this is that Shawn is still haunted by his past and his inability to save his love Lyral Neuterra, and Elina Acier, Lyral’s cousin looks like her. The similarity in appearance also has a lot to do with the breeding and genetic programs of the Human Galactic Empire.
Here, we have Shawn, haunted by his past, but still a character of Romantic stature. He is still lauded by the nobility and the common people alike. He still has all the leadership skills that made him the Dragon in the minds of the people. He is still a Romantic character, but the touch of pathos is built through his unquenchable love for Lyral that now turns to Elina. Here is a description of Shawn from the novel:
“Shawn!” Count Ian Acier exclaimed.
Shawn grimaced, then tendered Ian with a crooked smile. “Yes, the adjunct of the Emperor.” Ian watched the younger man’s eyes. They were cold, gray, hard as steel, and he smiled. They embraced.
Count Ian Acier was dressed in his usual military garb. He was attired in desert tan, the casual uniform of his troops. His long large body fit the uniform well. His hard-bitten features were set off in their most handsome frame by the color and cut of the clothing.
“My friend, my brother,” said Ian holding Shawn closely, “I feared for your life. The Emperor himself would not be safe had he harmed you,” as they parted, Ian clasped Shawn’s shoulders.
Shawn let out a hard laugh, “Yes, thank God you and many others feel the same way. Still, by the Imperial Concession, I am made…” he searched for a word, “…ineffectual.”
“There, you are wrong. Even after your ten years of exile, the Imperial Huscarl’s are still loyal to you, and do not forget that during the Imperial Concessions at Neuterra, you represented fully a third of the Landsritters. Those Houses will not long forget the treachery of Emperor Perodus or your actions…”
“My actions resulted in my exile and our current problems.”
“Would you act any differently today?”
“No! But, I was a fool. Before he could act, I should have seen the evidence of the Emperor’s desires. I would have snuffed out his ambitions as I would kill a snake, but enough—for ten years, I have thought too much on that,” anger filled his features then his face calmed, eased. Shawn sat down and with a sigh let his whole face fall into a smile. “Now I am finally free to do what I want. I am free of the Emperor’s exile, long free of the duties of crown prince—my cousin Devon Rathenberg owned that title long before the Concessions. The Imperial Huscarls may still honor me, but I have not been their leader for ten years. By my accounting, I have no responsibilities.”
“I thought so. You’re an officer, a warrior. For hire?” Ian walked behind his large desk.
“Yes,” Shawn laughed almost easily, “I am opening a professional trade.”
“Would you like some coffee?”
“Only if it’s imported. The best I’ve tasted on this ball of sand is reconstituted simumeals.”
A guarded look came over Ian’s face. As he sat down behind the desk, he pressed the call button, “Coffee for two, Sergeant,” then blandly he asked, “How long have you been on Acier?”
“Before I got your message, I was thinking of joining your forces.”
“I don’t use mercenaries.”
“Yes, so I was told. Almost–almost, I would be tempted to swear fealty to you.”
“No!” the Count’s eyes blazed, he nearly leapt out of his chair. “When the time comes, it is I who shall swear fealty to you, My Lord.”
The silence hung between them.
Shawn’s eyes glazed slightly and he lowered his head. His words were quiet and distinct, “My dearest friend, I would gladly have you fight at my side again, and if I again had a House and a title, my proudest moment would be your acceptance of it’s burden of responsibility. If I had anything to offer, I would offer you that today. I am not even allowed a Sigil.” He closed his eyes and looked away from Ian. He clenched his fists. “But, since I have nothing to offer,” Shawn looked directly at the Count, “please, you must simply treat me in the estate the Emperor left me.” At this he smiled.
We see Shawn still as a Romantic character. The pathos is already being developed because I am asking the reader to see Shawn as a besieged man. He was unjustly exiled and demoted. He is still the hero of the people and the nobility. This is a theme built up in the novel. The real kicker in terms of pathos is his love interest in the Lady Elina Acier. Here are his musings:
From the surface of Acier to orbital docking with House Nior’s consulate ship, Dark Mane was a flight of only 30 minutes. Those minutes seemed like a lifetime to Shawn du Locke. He was deeply aware of his position as, protector, escort, representative, and of his own vulnerability. Already, he was in the hands of his erstwhile enemies, and although they probably did not realize him, he faced the constant possibility of recognition. The simple fact that he had no part in the planning of this secret movement of the Lady Elina acted upon the self-conscious doubts that plagued him since the long ago affair on Neuterra. He was not sure he could adequately complete the mission he so glibly accepted from House Acier.
Shawn was a hunted as well as a haunted man. His enemies, though placated by the harsh censure of the Emperor, desired no less than his death. To them, he was a random and dangerous leader as effective today as he was before the Concessions banished him. Ten years ago he defeated the Emperor Perodus, but at what a loss.
Further, Shawn was achingly aware of the woman beside him. In the darkness, the soft sound of her breath produced haunted images before his eyes. His thoughts brooded on the macabre of ten years past, and fixed in his thoughts was a horrible awareness of guilt. He imagined Elina’s features covered with blood, and in the darkness, silently stifled a shudder. He drew his hand over his eyes. This woman was not Lyral–she was Elina. She was not a ghost, long dead but a woman alive and living. Shawn was a powerful man physically, emotionally, mentally. The shock of confronting a living ghost from beyond death unnerved and depressed him. Awakened, unbidden came the thousand thoughts of what might have been if he had taken Lyral with him, if he had guarded her himself, if he had only… Shawn sat up straight and forced those numbing thoughts out of his mind. He had been over them too many times before. At this point, his only thought must be the protection of Elina Acier. Like before, ever like ten years before, he would place his own life before any danger to this young woman. Unlike the past, this time he would succeed. Shawn promised himself, he would put his own life ahead of any obstacle to the success of House Acier.
Shawn remembered: on a warm night, on the fertile moon called Neuterra, he made almost the same oath to a man he loved almost as deeply as his father. To Ian’s Uncle, Duke Paris Neuterra, Shawn promised a marriage, an alliance, and his personal protection for the Lady Lyral. The Lady Lyral Neuterra, his fiance, was dead, long dead. She was dead as if by his own hand—yet, suddenly, Lyral was reborn. In this woman Elina Acier, Lyral was suddenly alive as she had not been since the Emperor presented her head before the Landsritters.
Without any warning, the light from Acier’s harsh companion star topped the planet’s horizon and illuminated the face of the Lady Elina beside Shawn. The pallid light outlined only her face, and to him, he saw again Lyral’s sweet visage bruised and bloodless. Her eyes miraculously closed, and had he been alone, Shawn would have cried. As it was, he steeled himself and under his breath called to his warrior soul to take these visions from him.
In this way, I enlist the reader to pull them into the pathos development of Shawn du Locke. He is a powerful and skilled man driven suddenly by love as well as honor. This is the point of the novel. In this novel, love drives the honor from this standpoint. The novel is about escaping the forces of the Emperor, but at the same time the slow falling of Shawn for Elina and Elina for Shawn. The problem is their honor. They must both oppose the forces of their allies and their enemies to unite in love. The pathos here is formed by love—or the potential love lost because of honor. I’ll look at Escape from Freedom next.
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