27 February 2019, Writing – part x697, Writing a Novel, Fleshing Out Characters
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I’ll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. More information can be found atwww.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels–I think you’ll really enjoy them.
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 withhttp://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.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
- 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 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential titleBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: 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 cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30thnovel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working titleDetective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
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 30: 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 31: TBD
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: Why don’t we go back to the basics and just writing a novel? I can tell you what I do, and show you how I go about putting a novel together. We can start with developing an idea then move into the details of the writing.
With a setting and a telic flaw, we have the basis of the initial scene and the plot. All I need is an initial scene. The only piece we need that we are missing is the characters.
Characters are protagonist and antagonist and optionally a protagonist’s helper. The protagonist is the focus of the revelation of the novel. Most precisely, the protagonist owns the telic flaw. In a romantic novel, the protagonist is the only character in the worldview of the novel who can uniquely solve the telic flaw and resolve the novel. This is an absolutely sufficient definition for a protagonist, any protagonist. In the case of Deirdre and Sorcha in my newest novel, one of them is the protagonist. I’ve set up Sorcha as the focus although they both share the telic flaw or needing to be finished to meet their goals. This is also the goal of the resolution of the novel.
The other character of the two is the protagonist’s helper. The protagonist’s helper is the character who helps the protagonist resolve the telic flaw. The protagonist’s helper has an even more important job as well. The protagonist’s helper most importantly helps reveal the mind of the protagonist.
When we show and don’t tell, there are few ways to show the mind of the protagonist other than the actions of the protagonist. A protagonist’s helper allows the protagonist to show their thoughts through dialog and other means. This prevents telling and enhances showing.
The final required character is the antagonist. I’m still working on the antagonist for this new novel. I just haven’t moved to the point where I need to introduce the antagonist. In general, you can have an antagonist who is not human or specific. I advise not, but you can. In a novel with a protagonist’s helper, it is unnecessary to introduce the antagonist in the initial scene. On the other hand, in a novel without a protagonist’s helper, it is usually a good idea to introduce the antagonist in the initial scene.
These characters literally make every novel. You must have a protagonist. You must have an antagonist. I recommend a protagonist’s helper, but that character is not required. Let’s look at character development. By that I mean protagonist development.
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