2 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 970, Publishing, Protagonists, Conclusions, Pathos
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?
Superheroes can’t really be pathos developing characters, but there is a potential problem with pathos characters. The first is, your characters can’t be allowed to fall into bathos. Pathos is great—bathos is death. In pathos, a reader feels the proper emotion for a character. In bathos, the reader feels or expresses the wrong emotion. For example, in the middle of a sad emotional scene and something makes the audience or the reader react with laughter. The same for an emotional love scene. It happens occasionally in “so-called” great movies. It happens more often in novels and stage plays. I’m certain you have seen it. You might have experienced it. It is a great break in the suspension of reality in the novel, movie, or play that can’t be stopped or held back. We sometimes call these moments sappy. The reader is embarrassed instead of properly emotive. The same thing can happen when humor falls flat in a novel, or when there is a break of tone or feel. Pathos is great, but bathos is an art killer.
The other potential problem for your pathos based characters is that your readers will not want to see themselves in them. This isn’t so great a problem with a Romantic character because most readers like and want to be like a Romantic character. On the other hand, a pathetic character can be presented so low and literally pathetic, the reader can’t or won’t identify with them. This is the main reason I like to use Romantic characters in pathos. You have much less chance of making too difficult a character to like and deal with. A good example of these types of characters can be seen in Hans Christian Andersen’s short stories. The characters in his tales are deeply pathetic, but the pathos turns to revulsion or horror depending on the story. Look at the Little Match Girl—she drives wonderful pathos, but she dies. The pathos turns to horror. I’m certain HCA intended this reaction. It is great for a short story, perhaps terrible for a novel. Or HCA’s Little Mermaid, she gives up her life for a horrible prince. There is no beauty in the pictures HCA paints. If this is your goal, go for it. I don’t find long works with this kind of tension interesting. Perhaps we should look at this as a subject next.
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