24 May 2019, Writing – part x783, Writing a Novel, Protagonist and Modern
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
Romanticism and Romantic protagonists typically reject the modern. This isn’t what it might seem. Romanticism, because of its love of nature and the natural, saw perfection and enlightenment in the antecedents of culture and society. Thus, they brought myth and spirituality into their writing.
The Victorians and realists, in general, rejected myth and spirituality. I write, in general, because they accepted as real the spirituality of Christianity and especially ancient Christianity, but tended to reject any other form of spirituality. You do see spirituality and especially Christian spirituality used in some Victorian Era novels. A Christmas Carol and Dracula are examples. You also see the spirituality of other religions and groups used as a prop for some novels. The Moonstone is one example. But Romanticism allowed the author to go back and take hold of myth, fable, stories, spirituality, spirits, creatures, magic, and all, and interject these ideas into the writing to produce literature that reflected ideas and thoughts that realism and Victorian Era fiction could not.
This is a key and critical feature of Romantic Era literature that realism could not touch. In fact, realism could not touch many of the subjects of Romantic literature. The Romantics wanted to be able to write entertaining novels that covered ideas and subjects the realism of the Victorians could not reach. For example, the Romantics wanted to express the anguish of the people who could not keep up or even find livelihood under the Victorian ideals of royalty, birth, wealth, technology, and urbanization. The Romantics wanted to be able to express their dismay at the crime, criminality, sexual abuse, child abuse, slavery, paternal ownership, lack of human rights for some, sex, marriage obligations, and all, but they needed a mode to make these expressions without upsetting the apple cart, so to speak. The means was through metaphor and allegory. The metaphor and allegory was carried in an entertaining manner through myth and spirituality. An example of this type of direct use of metaphor and allegory is found in Herik Ibsen’s plays. That isn’t all.
The Romantics were freed from the idea of only Christian spirituality. When you mixed this with myth, fable, and other religions you were able to produce reflective worldviews of more than just the Victorians. The reflective worldview allowed many new and very entertaining subjects to suddenly become the focus of fiction novels. One such is magic. We’ll look next at a reflective worldview and the rejection of the modern.
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