26 March 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 994, more Introducing Pathos into the Rising Action
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 also working on my 29th novel, working title School.
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.
For novel 28: 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.
For novel 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre 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?
As an author, don’t lose the advantage of building and developing pathos in revelation. If your characters can be made to build pathos through revelation, so much the better. Milk it for everything it’s worth.
Most of the time we are working with Romantic or with at least larger than life characters. Many of these characters are not pathos building to begin with. A little misfortune here, a little pain and suffering there, and you have a pathetic character. Remember, pathetic and pathos means they create powerful and correct emotion. The perfect example of a pathos building Romantic (or larger than life) character is the hero veteran from Southeast Asia. These people are tough, true specimens of powerful, strong, well-trained soldiers. When they are injured or maimed, they become immediately pathos building. There is absolutely nothing subtle about a brave man or woman who has lost a limb or worst in the fight for freedom. This is one of the most powerful pathos building revelations or events you can create in literature. I’m surprised it hasn’t been used more often. You see it in some very few novels. In general, the twentieth century was embarrassed about its war wounded. Not so much today—people are not embarrassed, they are ready to accept and feel for them.
This is just one example, but a very powerful one. The typical revelation and developed pathos are more simple: the suddenly hungry, the guy who lost his job, the guy who lost his family or wife. You can go on and on. As I noted, Flavia DeLuca is a potentially very powerful pathos character, but the author completely or nearly completely misses this characteristic in her. You see places where it rears its head out of the weeds, but then it’s gone again. What I could do with such a character—I’d draw out every nubbin of pathos. She wouldn’t act much different, but the picture would be much different. This may be part of the problem with the later novels—you can love a kid who is tough, but suffering. It is very hard to love a kid who is tough without much real reason for it. Just say’n.
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