25 February 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 965, Publishing, Protagonists, Conclusions, Humanizing
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?
How do you humanize a Romantic character? The obvious answer is through pathos. I am discussing the spy character of my latest novel (I’m still writing it). I was looking at superheroes—these are highly Romantic characters. I noted that most people are sympathetic to Spiderman, while they are in no way sympathetic to Batman. I also noted that James Bond can’t be a sympathetic character. They tried in one of his movies, and that actor was fired and never played Bond again. I have to admit, they keep trying to one degree or another, and they keep failing. The question then is how to make a Romantic character a truly pathos building (pathetic) character.
This is just what I want to do with Red Sonja. A competent spy is nearly always a Romantic character, and a character with whom your reader can’t sympathize. If you want to make them pathetic you have only a few options. The first is failure. A Romantic character can’t continue as a Romantic character if they fail in their major skill. They can fail for many other reasons, but not if they fail as a spy, for example. A Romantic character who is such as an intellectual, can’t lose in intellect. If they do, they lose their Romantic characteristic. This is why Romantic characters based solely on skills or similar characteristic rather than on their innate existence can be tenuous characters. For example, a character who is a superhero, a goddess, or a demi-god is innately Romantic. They remain a superhero, a goddess, or a demi-god no matter what. On the other hand, a character who is the world’s greatest detective has problems if they are bested as the world’s greatest detective. This is a whole other strain of literature.
If James Bond fails as a spy, that is the end of his character. Do you notice, the cliffhanger and theme of almost every Bond movie is just this potential failure, but at the end, he wins. Likewise, your Romantic character, to remain in their character must always succeed in their field (the reason they are Romantic). On the other hand, a Romantic character can always fail outside their area of expertise. For example, in love, in intellect, in science, in historical knowledge. James Bond is being shown up in all these areas all the time. In spite of his sexual prowess, the women don’t come back for more. He never ends with the same woman at his side. This is the hint of how to make a Romantic character pathetic.
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