22 May 2019, Writing – part x781, Writing a Novel, Protagonist in the Initial Scene, Technology
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: Deirdre and Sorcha are redirected to French finishing school where they discover difficult mysteries, people, and events.
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.
To start a novel, I picture an initial scene. I may start from a protagonist or just launch into mental development of an initial scene. I get the idea for an initial scene from all kinds of sources. To help get the creative juices flowing, let’s look at the initial scene.
- Meeting between the protagonist and the antagonist or the protagonist’s helper
- Action point in the plot
- Buildup to an exciting scene
- Indirect introduction of the protagonist
The protagonist is the novel and the initial scene. If you look at the four basic types of initial scenes, you see the reflection of the protagonist in each one. If you noticed my examples yesterday, I expressed the scene idea, but none were completely independent of the protagonist. Indeed, in most cases, I get an idea with a protagonist. The protagonist is incomplete, but a sketch to begin with. You can start with a protagonist, but in my opinion, as we see above, the protagonist is never completely independent from the initial scene. As the ideas above imply, we can start with the characters, specifically the protagonist, antagonist or protagonist’s helper, and develop an initial scene.
If we start with a protagonist, we need some kind of guide. Here is a general guide for developing a modern protagonist. We’ll look at examples and explain the ideas.
- Normal person (not wealthy, noble, or privileged)
- Loves to read
- Loves to learn
- Unique skill(s), power(s) and/or learning
- Pathos (poor, homeless, abused, friendless, ill)
- Individualistic and independent
- Naturally good
- Rejection of the urban
- Rejection of the modern
- Appeal to the imagination
Many times Romantic protagonists are described as loving nature or going back to nature. Actually, a better description is that Romantic literature rejects the urban. There is more to this—the Romantic Era is a rejection of the urban ideal of the Victorian Era.
Romantic literature is the literature of science fiction, and it produces amazing science fiction. Romantic characters make the best protagonists in general and the best protagonists for science fiction, speculative fiction, and fantasy. The reasons might not be that obvious and might seem conflicting because Romantic characters and literature to some degree rejects technology.
Victorianism exults in the concept of technology and manufacturing. This can be seen today in the Steampunk movement. The cosplayers or portrayers in Steampunk may not even understand their love of technology encased in the Victorian portrait is part of the Victorian embrace of the urban.
Romanticism has a love hate relationship with technology and science. It wants to completely reject the urban and controlled but it can’t, the urban and technology defines many of the skills, powers, and learning that form the basis for a great protagonist. I’m not as ambivalent as the pure Romanticist, and most science fiction and fantasy authors aren’t either. What is important to notice and use properly is the views of the Romantic protagonist, and to realize the basis for Romantic thought.
As we write Romantic protagonists, we need to recognize they have some issues based on Romanticism. I wouldn’t reject the use of Romantic protagonists and characters, in fact, I don’t think you can.
Writers use Romantic protagonists and characters without an appreciation for what makes them Romantic. The reason I point this out to you is so you can recognize how to write great characters. Romantic characters are great characters, and if you go through the list as you develop your characters and especially your protagonists, you will be able to produce great characters who excite your readers. That’s the point, to develop entertaining characters—this is the entire idea behind fiction writing after all.
So, this isn’t a conclusion, but use the ideas of the Romantic protagonist to develop your writing and characters. However, realize the Romantic ideal is something you can’t ignore in your writing, but there are potential limitations you might have to subconsciously overcome. These are ideas we need to look at.
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