21 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 21 Culture and 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.
Choosing a name for a piece of historical fiction is easy. All you need is the culture, theme, and setting. With these three, you can make an Internet search and begin to pick out names. If you don't have the culture, theme, and setting, you are really setting yourself up for failure.
Now, think about it. If you are writing science fiction, you should have the theme (I'm hoping) and possibly the setting (I'm hoping here too). The thing you don' have is the culture. You must develop the culture. This is why I used the Anglo-Saxon culture as the basis for my Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox novels. The Anglo-Saxon culture is a very powerful culture and fits excellently within my novel and the universe of my novel. When you develop your science fiction universe, you need to develop or borrow a culture. I assure you, you will have to make changes to the culture to fit your science fiction universe, but it is much more powerful to take a known culture and modify it than to try to make your own with no basis. Even Jack Vance based his cultures on variants of human culture. He was very wise. His forte was developing concepts, items, and animals to display the science fiction power of the cultures he developed. You should aim for the same.
The trick is that you have to develop and write down some of the basics of the culture you propose for your science fiction novel. Once you have the basics of the culture, you can begin to think about names.
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/, www.thefoxshonor.com, www.aseasonofhonor.com.