Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
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.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
I'm looking at science fiction and the science fiction based theme. If you are going to write science fiction, you need a science fiction based theme. Here's one definition for theme I will repeat:
theme (theem): a common thread or repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary work. A theme is a thought or idea the author presents to the reader that may be deep, difficult to understand, or even moralistic. Generally, a theme has to be extracted as the reader explores the passages of a work. The author utilizes the characters, plot, and other literary devices to assist the reader in this endeavor. One theme that may be extracted by the reader of Mark Musa’s interpretation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy Volume I: Inferno is the need to take account of one’s own behavior now, for it affects one's condition in the afterlife. One example of this theme can be found in Canto V - “...when the evil soul appears before him, it confesses all, and he [Minos], who is the expert judge of sins, knows to what place in Hell the soul belongs: the times he wraps his tail around himself tells just how far the sinner must go down” (7-12). In addition, Dante’s use of literary techniques, such as imagery, further accentuates the theme for the consequences of not living right, for he describes “the cries and shrieks of lamentation” (III:22), “…the banks were coated with a slimy mold that stuck to them like glue, disgusting to behold and worse to smell” (XVIII:106-108) and many other terrifying examples of Hell. In truly great works of literature, the author intertwines the theme throughout the work and the full impact is slowly realized as the reader processes the text. The ability to recognize a theme is important because it allows the reader to understand part of the author’s purpose in writing the book. See Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama, NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms, and Literary Terms: A Dictionary. Susan Severson, Student,
Yesterday, I looked at the theme statement for The Fox's Honor and explained how this set the novel in science fiction and began to set the plot. I'll repeat, in the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox novels, I used a theme based on honor. I will try to give you a cohesive theme statement for The End of Honor. The End of Honor is the first book in the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. It isn't a trilogy, but rather a series of separate novels that use the same characters and times. The theme statement for The End of Honor is: "A Prince, in a society where leaders are genetically chosen, loses the princess he loves through treachery that starts a civil war; he must lose his honor to end the war and save his people."
Again, like The Fox's Honor, the setting for such a novel can really only be in the future. There have been no societies where leaders are chosen through their genetics (unless you define this as through inheritance). This is a science fiction theme. So, first we have a science fiction theme.
Like The Fox's Honor, once we have a theme statement, we can build the characters and set the novel. This is the beginning of the plot. The setting must be this future when and how leaders are chosen genetically. Through the theme statement we have a prince (the protagonist) (this is a different prince than in The Fox's Honor), a princess he loves and loses (the protagonist's helper). We need to develop an antagonist. (the one creates the treachery that kills the princess and starts the civil war). Again, there is a lot of latitude for the development of the plot. There is huge latitude for the entire plot. In the beginning of The End of Honor, we find Prince John-Mark coming woo Princess Lyral Neuterra as his bride and to work with her in developing alliances within the Empire. The antagonist is John-Mark's brother Perodus-Mark, who kills their father, the Emperor and starts the war. John-Mark must give up his place as a prince to stop the war. At the same time, he must lead the Houses allied with him to victory--or at least not to ignominious defeat. We also discover that John-Mark must give up his position as a Prince to Devon Rathenberg, his cousin (Devon Rathenberg is the protagonist of The Fox's Honor and Tamar Falkeep is Lyral Neuterra's best friend). The plot derives directly out of the theme, and the plot drives the storyline. If you want to see how I develop this theme and plot, get the novel. It's available in paperback or electronic versions from most Internet sellers. You can read more about the novel at www.TheEndofHonor.com.
For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.