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.
The first point about characters is that you must have a physical description. This description needs to be at least 100 to 300 words long. Within physical description: what does the character look like. Their facial features, their height, weight, their demeanortheir hair and eye color are basic physical description. Secondary physical description is their clothing, tattoos, hair style, shoes. You can show your readers quite a lot through this basic description. Here is the initial description of Sir Devon de Tieg (secretly Devon Rathenberg) from The Fox's Honor.
This young man was arrayed in colloquial finery. An officer’s uniform, yes, but the style and the natural materials left little doubt that it and its owner obviously came from a culturally deprived planet. The gentleman’s boots were real leather; they creaked. His pants bloused over his boot tops, and as he walked they swaggered like a Cossack dance.
The seneschal announced the young officer: “Sir Devon de Tieg, Knight of the Red Cross.” A small number of the Duke’s less cautious guests let loose a traveling titter that lost its momentum in a few muffled guffaws.
The knight said nothing. Those who recognized the order of a Knight of the Red Cross instantly sobered, and the Duke made a second appraisal of the man.
The knight’s eye glinted with his bold smile, and he strode across the broad floor of the ballroom. His ceremonial dagger clinked against his left leg, balanced by an oddly shaped cylinder on his right, and his knight’s spurs jingled with each step. He stopped with a flourish and a low bow before the Duke. “My lord Falkeep, will you grant me the privilege of a dance with your daughter, the Lady Tamar?”
There are a couple of big points I want to make with this description. The first is this--note how much I show you about the knight with just description. I don't need to tell you anything about some of the things I describe--you realize their importance right away. All of this description is about the secondary characteristics.
The second point in this description is that it is wholly science fiction. There are elements that could be from a historical setting, but the description punches the points about a culturally deprived planet, his real leather boots (compared to those that are more modern), and to the odd weapons at his belt.
In science fiction, try to make your descriptions sing science fiction. That's the point of writing science fiction, after all. If your characters can be found around the corner, you might be setting your novel in the wrong century.
Note the character has a name--names are the next point. I'll get to the other attributes later.
Remember, I'm trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a science fiction theme statement and turn it into a plot.
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.