19 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 19 Naming Characters
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.
Naming characters is critical. I should have mentioned this before description. I always name my characters first. The character's name has critical ramifications to the theme, plot, and storyline. In the case of science fiction, I usually don't derive the names historically. In the case of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox novels, the names do not have any historical basis, but they are of Anglo-Saxon derivation. They are not connected directly to historical sources like my historical writing. The point is the feel of the names in the context of the novels.
When you design a science fiction universe, it needs to have elements of the normal world we are used to. The greater the normative elements, the greater you can build the deviations. The deviations must be scientifically and elementally consistent for science fiction, but the feel should draw in your readers and the deviations should launch them into the science fiction.
In the case of the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox, there are significant elements a modern reader can grasp and realize are similar to the historical and modern world. These elements serve to accentuate the differences with the modern world. The people of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox live in a near feudal type society based in genetics. Their nobility are nobility by real birth--they are shaped and breed to rule. This drives the culture and the society.
Likewise, the names in this culture are driven by the culture. We discover very early the problems in the nobility between the Rathenberg and the Haupenberg branches of the nobility. These form the background that feeds the theme, plot, and storylines. The choice of a name and the naming conventions in the science fiction universe you design are small elements that make the science fiction universe real to your readers. Pick the names first and choose them wisely.
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.