26 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 26 Don't Tell
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.
When you hear the statement, "show and don't tell," this means that you only describe those things that are physical. You may use narration, "tell," to describe the physical. You must "show" (actions and conversation) history, mental, emotional state, thoughts. You may not "tell" us any of your characters' ideas, thoughts, nothing in their mind. I know this sounds redundant, but many writers don't seem to get what the statement "show and don't tell" means. It means that you don't let your readers into your characters' mind.
This is really difficult for first person characters--it is almost impossible. This is one of the reasons I don't recommend using the first person in a novel.
Am I being clear here? This is the reason most writing fails on the most basic level. Writing is about revealing characters. If I were to write--Janet was a drunkard and a bad girl; she hated her mother and couldn't hold a job--I just told you everything about Janet. Well not everything, but most of what I you could reveal in a novel. The above statements are what you might write in your character development--they are not statements you should write in a novel.
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.