17 June 2018, Writing – part x442, Developing Skills, Protagonist’s Helper, Example Freedom
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:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of 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
I finished writing my 28th novel, working title, School, potential title Deirdre: Enchantment and the School. The theme statement is: 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.
Here is the cover proposal for Deirdre: Enchantment and the School.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I continued writing my 29th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 28th novel, working title School. If you noticed, I started on number 28, but finished number 29 (in the starting sequence—it’s actually higher than that). I adjusted the numbering. I do keep everything clear in my records. I’m just finishing number 30, working title Detective.
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 29: 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 30: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the scene development outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
Today: Many people would like to write, but writing is hard work. I’ll express again, if you want to be a skilled and potentially a published author, you need to write about one million words. That equates to about ten 100,000 word novels. When you look at it this way, it is a daunting goal especially if you haven’t written a single novel.
To become a good writer, you need two specific skill sets first reading and then writing. Without these skill sets, I really can’t help you much. I provide advanced help and information on how to write great fiction.
Characters are the key to great writing. Entertainment is the purpose of fiction writing. The key to entertainment is character revelation. If we want to be a successful writer, we must aim for great protagonists, and I would say, great protagonist’s helpers.
The protagonist’s helper is simply a character who is critical to the expression of the plot of the novel because the protagonist could not achieve the resolution of the internal or external telic flaw without that character. I’ll provide some examples.
In my yet unpublished novel, Escape from Freedom, Scott Phillips is the protagonist and Reb is the protagonist’s helper.
This is a very unusual novel and a very unusual relationship. First, the world of the novel is a colony planet. On this planet, one of the nations created itself as a communist system. The system is horribly unjust and Orwellian from our standpoint. The people produce products until the value of their work declines below the value of their bodies—then they go to the hospital to be salvaged for parts.
Scott crash lands on the island nation of freedom and Reb is the first person to greet him. She also hides him from the armed citizens and the party members. Reb has a purpose that she will tell no one–she wants to escape freedom. She doesn’t know if there is anything better, but she wants something better. Scott’s tales of his nation and true freedom encourages her to want to escape even more.
Now here is the rub. Scott has no idea the extent of Reb’s desire. Reb has no idea if Scott will really keep his promise to her. They have strong reasons to completely distrust and yet to trust one another. Reb has known nothing more than the nation of Freedom. There is no trust and no honor in Freedom. Scott is not a pure soul. He wants to escape and return to his own land. His motives are not pure, and neither are Reb’s. Yet, they can be protagonist and protagonist’s helper.
They are intimate players in the novel and intimate partners, but at the same time, they speak a completely different language and experience. The intimacy and openness of their conversation comes from their mutual desire to escape. Nothing else really binds them together. They communicate with each other because they must to escape and to succeed—to survive.
This is a special case of a protagonist’s helper. Instead of a simple companion, we have a very complex and dangerous relationship. The characters still can converse on an intimate level, but there is always an undercurrent of secrecy—just as the secrecy of the nation of Freedom.
I have another pair like this in my Ghost Ship Chronicles.
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