20 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 20 more 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.
I wrote yesterday that naming your characters is critical. Let's see about characters names. You could choose a name like Luke Skywalker and immediately brand your book as a B-class movie. If you didn't notice before, George Lucas stated he intended Star Wars to have a B-class movie feel. It was initially supposed to be like the Buck Rogers and Errol Flynn matinees. It only turned into something more with the addition of more space fantasy "metachlorinas" and such. Only a real non-scientist like George Lucas or Gene Roddenberry can make a potentially great science fiction show a horrible piece of science fantasy. Oh, you can too. Just follow their lead.
Names are one of the stickiest problems for a writer. For my historical fiction, placing names on characters is easy--I used historical names and names that have cultural meanings. You don't usually have this advantage in science fiction. You are developing the culture. You must develop your culture well enough that you can place names with a connection to your culture. If your culture is a B-class movie, you are in luck. Otherwise, you must know the culture before you write, and you must take the culture into consideration when applying a name.
A great example of a writer whose cultures are well formed is Jack Vance. I want my writing and the cultures I develop in my science fiction to be as clear, complex, and well developed as his. He is the most perfect example of a developer of science fiction and fantasy cultures. He understands well the development of names and words in the cultures he develops. You will not go wrong reading and studying Jack Vance as a writer and author.
Remember, names have depth--you don't pick them because they sound good or you like them. You choose names that match and accentuate your theme.
Also 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.