5 June 2012, Development - Historical Study, more Themes in Language and Cultural Feel
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
Here I am, back to theme. Theme is the most important consideration in any novel. The selection of the culture, history, and language use must fit the theme. Many times, at least in my experience, the theme is intimately matched to the history, culture, and language because it comes directly out of them. For example, my yet unpublished novel, Dana-ana, is about an Anglo-Saxon maiden in the modern world. That is part of the theme and the theme, culture, language, and history mutually support each other.
You might ask, why do I write about Anglo-Saxon culture so much? That's like asking Tolkien why he wrote about Anglo-Saxon culture so much--it was a culture he understood well. Because I understand the culture, the language, and the history, I can write about Anglo-Saxon culture.
Back to the idea of theme. In the first novel of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox, The End of Honor, honor is the theme, the Anglo-Saxon culture is the background for the the universe, the characters while acting honorably and within the context of their culture are suddenly forced to act in ways they never expected to. Their world falls apart when patricide and dishonor suddenly attacks the Imperial family. The end is two people living and dying for honor but having difficulty discovering if their own actions are honorable. Thus the theme drives and is driven by the culture within the novel. This is science fiction and there is a lot to write about science fiction.
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/.