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.
If you are going to write science fiction, you need a science fiction based theme. Here's one definition for theme I will repeat:
theme (theem): a common thread or repeated idea that is incorporated throughout a literary work. A theme is a thought or idea the author presents to the reader that may be deep, difficult to understand, or even moralistic. Generally, a theme has to be extracted as the reader explores the passages of a work. The author utilizes the characters, plot, and other literary devices to assist the reader in this endeavor. One theme that may be extracted by the reader of Mark Musa’s interpretation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy Volume I: Inferno is the need to take account of one’s own behavior now, for it affects one's condition in the afterlife. One example of this theme can be found in Canto V - “...when the evil soul appears before him, it confesses all, and he [Minos], who is the expert judge of sins, knows to what place in Hell the soul belongs: the times he wraps his tail around himself tells just how far the sinner must go down” (7-12). In addition, Dante’s use of literary techniques, such as imagery, further accentuates the theme for the consequences of not living right, for he describes “the cries and shrieks of lamentation” (III:22), “…the banks were coated with a slimy mold that stuck to them like glue, disgusting to behold and worse to smell” (XVIII:106-108) and many other terrifying examples of Hell. In truly great works of literature, the author intertwines the theme throughout the work and the full impact is slowly realized as the reader processes the text. The ability to recognize a theme is important because it allows the reader to understand part of the author’s purpose in writing the book. See Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama, NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms, and Literary Terms: A Dictionary. Susan Severson, Student,
In the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox novels, I used a theme based on honor. In the minds of some writers and literary professors, the concept honor is sufficient to be a theme. I'm not so sure. I will try to give you a more cohesive theme statement for The Fox's Honor. The Fox's Honor is the second book in the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox. It isn't a trilogy, but rather a series of separate novels that use the same characters and times. The theme statement for The Fox's Honor is the easiest for me to write down succinctly. It is: "A Prince, in a society where leaders are genetically chosen, who dies for his Emperor by intentionally giving up his honor is given back his life by the woman he loves and strives to regain his honor."
The setting for such a novel can really only be in the future. There have been no societies where leaders are chosen through their genetics (unless you define this as through inheritance). This is a science fiction theme. Now, if I take away the statement "in a society where leaders are genetically chosen" or modify it slightly, the theme could be placed in the past. It isn't and I didn't.
I've written before that once you have the theme statement, you can build the characters and set the novel. This is the beginning of the plot. The setting must be this future when and how leaders are chosen genetically. Luckily, the future of the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox presupposes this future. Through the theme we have a prince (the protagonist), a woman he loves (the protagonist's helper), the Emperor, and we need to develop an antagonist. (the one who kills or has killed our prince). Note, with such a theme statement, there is a lot of latitude for the development of the plot. There is huge latitude for the entire plot. In the beginning of The Fox's Honor, we find Devon Rathenberg coming to dance and woo, Tamar Falkeep. He meant only to pronounce his love before he died for the Emperor, but he didn't realize Tamar would fall in love as well. The Emperor is no evil person or leader. We find that Devon Rathenberg is going to death as a result of his own plans to help the strength of the Emperor and the Human Galactic Empire. Devon is an honorable man, but he didn't realize that what Tamar Falkeep wants, Tamar Falkeep gets. The plot derives directly out of the theme, and the plot drives the storyline. If you want to see how I develop this theme and plot, get the novel. It's available in paperback or electronic versions from most Internet sellers. You can read more about the novel at www.TheFoxsHonor.com.
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.