8 June 2012, Development - Historical Study, a Little Science in Science Fiction
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.
I'm writing about sources of historical research and how to make historical research. These apply to any novel or any subject you might wish to study. Here is a list:
1. Primary source documents or artifacts
2. Secondary source documents or artifacts
3. Tertiary source documents or artifacts
If you do get the history right--that is the details as well as the basics--there is another piece of history that needs to fill out your works. This additional part is cultural awareness. Here is the list of how to develop your target period for writing a historical novel.
1. Primary sources (secondary second)
2. Clean slate
3. Add in only what you find from primary sources (secondary next)
4. Cultural awareness
5. Historical feel
Science fiction is often ruined by a poor cultural awareness. The problem is that many who attempt to write science fiction have no realization of the importance of cultural awareness. It should not be surprising that many science fiction authors are very experienced with travel and cultures. You might wonder why some of them are not historical fiction authors.
Of course the real differentiator in science fiction is the science--isn't it? I will posit that although we would like to imagine that science fiction is all about the science--it really isn't at all. Most science fiction today is completely separated from science. The number of "hard" science fiction authors (like me) is dwindling. Most science fiction is written without a single thought to science at all--it's all fiction and fantasy.
So what makes the science in science fiction? I offer that true (hard) science fiction is an extrapolation of known science and technology. The problem with many science fiction authors is they have no idea about known science. You really can't write science fiction of any calibre without a strong understanding of science. The how of getting a strong understanding of science is obviously through study--and I don't mean popular literature and the news. I mean through papers, industry, and the university. Those who understand science are those who work with science--just like those who understand culture are those who have experienced different cultures.
I'll write more about this tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.