22 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 22 History 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.
To develop your characters, you need to develop your science fiction culture. This is the first step in turning your theme into the plot. One critical item is that you must remember is this: on the earth there are over 200 developed cultures and more on the way. The 200 cultures doesn't include sub-cultures etc. If you have a universe with a single culture, you aren't writing anything close to science fiction. It might be possible for a planet to have a single culture, but that is not very likely either. You might express a single culture on a single planet--that is reasonable. The point is this, the universe you create can't be a single culture. Every planet and every place must have a different culture. The cultures might be less disparate than the cultures of the modern world, but they must be different.
As you develop names, you must take the culture in consideration, and you must build the names from at least a generation back. In other words, when you make your current character's names, you should realize they have fathers, mothers, and siblings. If necessary, you might need to go back two generations. The point is to build the history of your characters with their names. The names, in all human cultures come up through generations, and they have meanings within the culture. The making of the character comes with a history and a name, and the name and history is built through their culture.
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.