6 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 974, Publishing, Protagonists, still more Themes and 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?
The most powerful themes then are those about humans and real human emotions and problems. Let’s connect this to pathos. Pathos broadly and correctly means correct emotions. The best themes are about individuals who provoke the highest level of powerful emotions caused by the depths of human problems. For example, a child, an abused child, a hungry child, a poor child, a child from a repressed background. Each of these can evoke strong emotions in a reader. You can make these more powerful with strong contrast. A poor child who is very bright. A poor child who is very bright but can’t afford to go to school. A poor bright child who is bullied but can’t afford to go to school. You can figure out means to add to the pathos.
The resolution of these pathos characters can move in many ways, but remember, in a comedy, the protagonist overcomes their telic flaw, and in a tragedy, the protagonist is overcome by their telic flaw. In the case I set up: a poor bright child who is bullied but can’t afford to go to school. In this case, the telic flaw might be going to school or not being bullied. The resolution can effectively accomplish both. In a comedy, the protagonist (poor, bright child) would overcome being bullied and find a means to go to school. In a novel in the twentieth century, the “afford school” might be resolved by a wealthy person who helps the child. In more modern novels, the expectation of the resolution is for the child to procure some means on their own to afford school. There are many other options. For example, what if you had a child who snuck into a girl’s school and attended classes secretly. I like this idea so much, I think I’ll figure out a way to blend it into a novel.
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