14 September 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 45 yet more Cultural Shaping
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 am writing about the extrapolation of science and technology to be able to write science fiction. I made the point that it is almost meaningless to try to fully extrapolate a universe (world) that is 10,000 years in the future (and maybe 1,000 years in the future) without applying some cultural and technological shaping.
By shaping the cultures of your science fiction universe, you can shape the science and technology that is extrapolated. Here is how I culturally shaped the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox to make the 10,000 year extrapolation work.
The use of an ancient historical culture makes the extrapolation of technology and science easier, more predictable, and exotic to the reader. For example, you really can't imagine a science fiction universe with plasma swords unless you are taking your culture from B movies. I wanted plasma swords, and I wanted a real duel. One reasonable way you can have plasma swords in science fiction is to have a future society developed around honor. The Anglo-Saxon culture is one such culture. I wanted a royal hierarchy with palace intrigue. I wanted ornamented and deeply steeped customs like ransomed brides and honor weddings. I wanted a culture that was very complex, but one that my readers could immediately grasp. I also wanted to develop a culture where men and women were equal but absolutely different. All of these are extrapolated and direct characteristics of an Anglo-Saxon culture. Now, there are still ornaments and new ideas within the culture I developed, but it is a culture based firmly on honor--thus the titles of the novels.
All the technology was extrapolated from the basis of the modern era, but with some simple deviations. I'll explain those tomorrow.
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 http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: