1 August 2012, Development - Rules of Writing, Themes Again
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.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
All language is symbols. Therefore it shouldn't surprise you that your writing should include higher level symbols. What are higher level symbols? I mentioned before the cross as a symbol. The cross is a higher level symbol--a symbol that doesn't depend on language. Symbols can be ready made or author made symbols. Some symbols are a mix.
The first step in developing a character is the picture. I wrote about this before, but I'll try to approach it from a different perspective. Before, I described how the picture of Aksinya came about. I drew the picture, set the scene, and released the characters. I'll do the same again, but I'll use a different example. This time, I'll use Aegypt as the example. Now is the time for you to run out and buy a copy of Aegypt. You can either order it from your favorite Internet book seller, order it at a brick and mortar bookstore, or download it for your computer, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, or other book reader. Okay, you don't have to buy the book. I'll try not to give out too many spoilers.
Let's evaluate the development (creation) of the novel, Aegypt. The first point about Aegypt is the theme. Here is the critical point about character development. The theme always comes first and the characters are developed out of the theme. You might say, but you wrote before that you developed the characters and the plot and storylines came out of the characters. That is absolutely true, but the basis for the characters came out of the theme.
The theme for Aksinya was that a person called and bound herself to a demon to protect her family, but her family died and left her bound to a demon. That is the theme and from that theme, the characters, plot, and storylines developed. So what is the theme of Aegypt? I'll get to that, tomorrow.
There is much more to writing without confusing your readers. I'll write about that tomorrow. The following is a question asked by one of my readers. I'm going to address this over time: Please elaborate on scene, theme, plot, character development in a new novel creation....ie, the framework, the development, order if operation, the level of detail, guidelines, rule of thumb, tricks, traps and techniques. To what extent do you outline the historic context, culture, mannerism, speech, dress and thought process of the main characters, in a historic novel...in order to maintain integrity, and gradually (help) reveal attributes of a character in the story, or otherwise clarify the plot, scene, transition, tension or resolution?
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/.