My Favorites

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 31 Creativity

31 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 31 Creativity

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

Science and writing creativity will put you on the science fiction map.  Is this really difficult?  Yeah, it seems to be.  There is way too much science fiction (so called) that is neither scientific or creative.  This is what I meant when I wrote that the world doesn't need another knock off Star Trek or Star Wars.  Neither is based in science, and when someone reuses the idea, it isn't creative anymore.

I already wrote about science.  You must understand science if you want to write science fiction.  Creative science fiction is something entirely different.  There was a pun there.  Creativity and science are the necessary ingredients for science fiction. 

Creativity doesn't mean crazy-weird.  Crazy-weird was the norm for some "so called" science fiction during the 1970 and 80s.  Creativity means developing a unique and new idea that is your own and applying it in a science fiction theme, characters, and plot.

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:
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

Friday, August 30, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 30 even more Driven Plot

30 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 30 even more Driven Plot

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

So how do you wow your readers with your writing?  You must write very well.  This is true of all writing.  There was a time when a second rate writer could write science fiction and have the possibility of being published.  That isn't true today.  There are too many good authors writing science fiction.  The problem today is there are few science fiction writers who have any knowledge of science.  The lack of science in science fiction makes an opening for science trained people who want to write science fiction.  All you need to do is write well.

Well, there is a little more than writing well--that is, if you don't include creativity in the concept of writing well.  I've been trying to point out how to produce powerful science fiction themes, characters, and plots.  There is more than one concept in writing well.  You can write technically perfect drivel, it might get you an "A+" in a writing class, but no one will publish it.  On the other hand, you can write very creatively so poorly that no one could stomach to read it.  For science fiction, you need powerfully unique and creative writing that is technically strong that includes science.  

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:
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 29 more Driven Plot

29 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 29 more Driven Plot

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

The other code word for science fantasy is space opera.  I'm not sure why the science fiction community has allowed this kind of influence, but it isn't good.  Hard science has degenerated into Start Trek and Star Wars.  If I have to explain to you why they are not good science, you really aren't at the point where you should be writing science fiction.  Perhaps the reason we, as a society, have moved from real science fiction into science fantasy is that we are not a culture based on scientific knowledge.  Most graduates from Harvard can't build an elementary circuit using a battery, wire, and light bulb.  Most Harvard graduates can't explain why the seasons happen.  How are they going to understand orbital dynamics or physics.  The problem is that we have a culture filled with science morons.  This is a problem for science fiction, because many of our audience can't understand what is being written about on the most basic level.  This is where great authorship comes about.

Great science fiction is about making science understandable to an audience that may have little understanding of science.  If they can read, they likely can understand science.  The evidence that they really are longing for some degree of scientific knowledge is the number of people who watch "Big Bang Theory."  You can tell these are not real scientists because they are attracted to Star Wars and Star Trek without complaining about the bad science in them.  But, the audience for the show is large--there are a lot of people who want to learn more about science.  They are attracted to science.  The trick is to win them with your writing.

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:
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 28 Driven Plot

28 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 28 Driven Plot

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

The theme drives the setting which drives the culture and the characters.  The characters drive the plot which drives the theme.  This is intentionally recursive.  A science fiction theme drives a science fiction setting which drives a science fiction culture and makes the characters science fiction characters.  Those science fiction characters drive a science fiction plot which drives the science fiction theme. 

I already discussed what makes a theme and a setting a science fiction one.  Each and every part of a piece of science fiction drives the science fiction.  Now, this whole sequence should make you think: just as I can have a historical novel that is simply a modern novel in a historical setting, is it possible to have a science fiction novel that is just a modern novel in a science fiction setting.  The answer is a resounding--yes. 

Bad science fiction can get much worse than that.  For example, I started this whole discussion with some warnings about recreating bad science fiction.  I mentioned Star Trek and Star Wars.  These are pretty bad science fiction, but pretty good science fantasy.  They really do miss the point of science fiction--the science.  In a similar manner, there is a lot of soft science fiction out there.  Soft science fiction is a code word for science fiction without the science.  In other words, written by those who don't have a clue about science.

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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 27 Science Fiction Characters

27 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 27 Science Fiction 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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

What makes a character a science fiction character?  They must obviously think differently than those in the modern world.  Their development comes out of their culture.  The culture comes out of the setting.  If you remember, the setting must be a science fiction setting.  The setting drives the culture that drives the characters.

As you develop your characters, you must expect them to act according to their culture and their development.  Now, it is possible to have a character act anti-cultural, but you need to understand what that really means.  A character must act within their character--no matter what that is.  A character can act counter to his or her culture, but that part of the character must always be the same.  The development of the character and the characters' actions must be as expected and within character.

It is also possible to have a character intentionally act outside the bounds of her or his character.  Generally, these are specific turning points and we can either expect the character to change or for the event to be a one time event.  In developing your plot these are critical events that define your character.  This is also how your characters tie directly into the plot--and 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.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 26 Don't Tell

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 25 more the Part not Described

25 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 25 more the Part not Described

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

For a science fiction novel.  First comes the theme.  Second, you develop the setting and design the culture.  Then you flesh out the characters.  You start with physical description (actually, you might design the physical description later, but I like to do physical description first).  You name the character focused on the culture.  Then you develop the part of the character you reveal in your novel, but you don't describe--that is the non-physical part.

The part of the character you reveal instead of describe is the part that you can't observe with your senses.  You can quote me.  If you can see it, smell it, taste it, feel it, or hear it from your character, then you may describe it.  Otherwise, you must reveal those parts that are not physical. 

The past life of each character, starting with the protagonist should be outlined and described as a part of developing the character.  Further, the characters should be designed emotionally and mentally.  These are the parts you can't tell (describe)--you must show (reveal) them.  The way you reveal the past life of a character is through conversation or flashbacks.  I don't like flashbacks, but they are effective means of revealing, and I have used them.  Conversation is the best means of revealing the past life of a character.  The only means of revealing the emotional and mental state of a character is though physical description, their actions, and conversation.  

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.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 24 yes the Part not Described

24 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 24 yes the Part not Described

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

After we see the character in a stage play, the play begins and the character is revealed.  The only way a character in a stage play is revealed is through the conversation and actions of the character.  This is also how a novelist should reveal the parts of the character that are not physically evident. 

The character is already developed by the author before the character is revealed in a novel or a stage play.  In other words, the author of either work has already defined the character, but the character is not revealed.  The character may never be fully revealed.  For example, how much do you really know about anyone in your life.  You may or may not know much at all.  You certainly do not know the full revelation of any person--not even yourself.  Most people do not fully understand themselves or their motivations.

The author must fully understand his characters.  He must fully develop them before he writes his novels.  The characters are already developed before the novel is written and the author reveals the characters.  How does she reveal her characters? That is for 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 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.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 23 the Part not Described

23 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 23 the Part not Described

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

We are finishing up the items of a character that are revealed.  I started with the physical and moved to the name.  The name and the physical description (including clothing etc.) are the things you are allowed to describe about a character.  Now, we need to move to those thing which you can only show and not describe.

We have touched them more than once, and through the creation of a name, we have begun the process of character development.  That process is the building of the actual character.  Just as you are a name and a physical being, every character is a name and a physical being.  The physical is the part described--in the sense of life, it is the part the viewer can see.  It is the part of the character that is revealed just by walking out on the stage. 

Think of a stage play--this is one of the main ways I like to write about novels.  The setting is the stage; this is what the author of a novel should be happy to describe.  The characters are the actors; this is another obvious part the author should describe.  Like the stage play, their descriptions are obvious and should be immediately given.  The name likewise is a proper handle for a character.  In most stage plays, the author announces the names of the characters immediately.  This is the character of a stage play and a critical skill in the author of a play.

The next part is the part not described.

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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 22 History and Naming Characters

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 21 Culture and Naming Characters

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 20 more Naming Characters

20 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 20 more 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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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 wrote yesterday that naming your characters is critical.  Let's see about characters names.  You could choose a name like Luke Skywalker and immediately brand your book as a B-class movie.  If you didn't notice before, George Lucas stated he intended Star Wars to have a B-class movie feel.  It was initially supposed to be like the Buck Rogers and Errol Flynn matinees.  It only turned into something more with the addition of more space fantasy "metachlorinas" and such.  Only a real non-scientist like George Lucas or Gene Roddenberry can make a potentially great science fiction show a horrible piece of science fantasy.  Oh, you can too.  Just follow their lead.

Names are one of the stickiest problems for a writer.  For my historical fiction, placing names on characters is easy--I used historical names and names that have cultural meanings.  You don't usually have this advantage in science fiction.  You are developing the culture.  You must develop your culture well enough that you can place names with a connection to your culture.  If your culture is a B-class movie, you are in luck.  Otherwise, you must know the culture before you write, and you must take the culture into consideration when applying a name. 

A great example of a writer whose cultures are well formed is Jack Vance.  I want my writing and the cultures I develop in my science fiction to be as clear, complex, and well developed as his.  He is the most perfect example of a developer of science fiction and fantasy cultures.  He understands well the development of names and words in the cultures he develops.  You will not go wrong reading and studying Jack Vance as a writer and author.

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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 19 Naming Characters

19 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 19 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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

Naming characters is critical.  I should have mentioned this before description.  I always name my characters first.  The character's name has critical ramifications to the theme, plot, and storyline.  In the case of science fiction, I usually don't derive the names historically.  In the case of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox novels, the names do not have any historical basis, but they are of Anglo-Saxon derivation.  They are not connected directly to historical sources like my historical writing.  The point is the feel of the names in the context of the novels. 

When you design a science fiction universe, it needs to have elements of the normal world we are used to.  The greater the normative elements, the greater you can build the deviations.  The deviations must be scientifically and elementally consistent for science fiction, but the feel should draw in your readers and the deviations should launch them into the science fiction.

In the case of the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox, there are significant elements a modern reader can grasp and realize are similar to the historical and modern world.  These elements serve to accentuate the differences with the modern world.  The people of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox live in a near feudal type society based in genetics.  Their nobility are nobility by real birth--they are shaped and breed to rule.  This drives the culture and the society.

Likewise, the names in this culture are driven by the culture.  We discover very early the problems in the nobility between the Rathenberg and the Haupenberg branches of the nobility.  These form the background that feeds the theme, plot, and storylines.  The choice of a name and the naming conventions in the science fiction universe you design are small elements that make the science fiction universe real to your readers.  Pick the names first and choose them wisely.

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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 18 more Science Fiction Characters

18 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 18 more Science Fiction 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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

The first point about characters is that you must have a physical description.  This description needs to be at least 100 to 300 words long.  Within physical description: what does the character look like.  Their facial features, their height, weight, their demeanortheir hair and eye color are basic physical description.  Secondary physical description is their clothing, tattoos, hair style, shoes.  You can show your readers quite a lot through this basic description.  Here is the initial description of Sir Devon de Tieg (secretly Devon Rathenberg) from The Fox's Honor

This young man was arrayed in colloquial finery. An officer’s uniform, yes, but the style and the natural materials left little doubt that it and its owner obviously came from a culturally deprived planet.  The gentleman’s boots were real leather; they creaked. His pants bloused over his boot tops, and as he walked they swaggered like a Cossack dance.

The seneschal announced the young officer: “Sir Devon de Tieg, Knight of the Red Cross.” A small number of the Duke’s less cautious guests let loose a traveling titter that lost its momentum in a few muffled guffaws.
The knight said nothing. Those who recognized the order of a Knight of the Red Cross instantly sobered, and the Duke made a second appraisal of the man.

The knight’s eye glinted with his bold smile, and he strode across the broad floor of the ballroom. His ceremonial dagger clinked against his left leg, balanced by an oddly shaped cylinder on his right, and his knight’s spurs jingled with each step. He stopped with a flourish and a low bow before the Duke. “My lord Falkeep, will you grant me the privilege of a dance with your daughter, the Lady Tamar?”

There are a couple of big points I want to make with this description.  The first is this--note how much I show you about the knight with just description.  I don't need to tell you anything about some of the things I describe--you realize their importance right away.  All of this description is about the secondary characteristics.

The second point in this description is that it is wholly science fiction.  There are elements that could be from a historical setting, but the description punches the points about a culturally deprived planet, his real leather boots (compared to those that are more modern), and to the odd weapons at his belt. 

In science fiction, try to make your descriptions sing science fiction.  That's the point of writing science fiction, after all.  If your characters can be found around the corner, you might be setting your novel in the wrong century. 

Note the character has a name--names are the next point.  I'll get to the other attributes later.

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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 17 Science Fiction Characters

17 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 17 Science Fiction 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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

The main point in developing the plot is this: you gain your characters from the theme statement and you develop them as part of the plot.  The how is a little more complicated.  I'll give you some ideas.

From the theme statement, you should have a protagonist and potentially, a protagonist's helper and an antagonist.  The first step in developing the plot is to flesh out these characters.  The first question is: what do they look like?  I'll go back to my main point on characters.  When you introduce a character in a novel, you need at least 100 to 300 words to describe them.  For a primary character (protagonist, protagonist's helper, or antagonist) you need at least 300 words.  For secondary characters 100 to 300 will work.  Note, you must not tell us anything about these characters--you must show us these characters.  This means, your description is a description of their physical (external) attributes.  You are not allowed to "tell" us anything about your character.

Your job is to make a physical description that is about 300 words long for the major characters.  You must also write down something about their inner description, but you are not allowed to ever "tell" us about this.  You may show us all about this part of your character.  So, do you get it?  Your character has external attributes you are allowed to show--write about at any time--and internal attributes (mental, emotional, etc.) that you are never allowed to tell us.

You might ask then, how can I show the inner attributes of my character?  The answer is simple.  You can "show" us though conversation and actions.  There is much more to this.

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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 16 Science Fiction Plot

16 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 16 Science Fiction Plot

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

The purpose is this exercise is to have a theme statement that you can turn almost immediately into a plot.  Every plot begins with the characters.  I know that some people imagine that a plot begins with action and a "plot," but this just isn't true.  The plot is secondary to the characters--the plot is always about the characters.  It is meaningless without the characters.  To add to this, the characters are what makes the plot work.  Imagine any successful novel and the plot behind it.  Was the novel great because the plot was great or because the characters were great.  Think of a terrible novel you have read recently.  Either you will say, the novel failed because the plot was great, but the characters were not.  Or you will say the novel failed because the characters could not sustain the plot.  In any case, it usually was not the plot, but the characters.

You will occasionally find a novel whose plot is horrible.  These novels are being published due to self publishing.  Usually, a publisher will not touch a novel whose plot and characters are terrible.

I hope I have established for you that the main element in a plot is the characters and not the storyline or line of action.

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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 15 Science Fiction more Theme

15 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 15 Science Fiction more Theme

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

You really can develop a theme statement using the listed elements.  Here are the elements again:

The first element in a theme statement is the protagonist. This can be as simple as "the boy," the girl," "the woman," "the Captain's son," "the beautiful singer," "a girl who...," "a boy who..." and all. Let's state the protagonist in simple but specific terms.

The second element is the setting. This doesn't have to be very specific at all. If the novel is not a science fiction novel, I'd suggest the setting can be undetermined, but the setting is usually the part of the theme statement that makes the theme a science fiction theme. Typical settings are: on a spaceship, on a planet, during a planetary war, during a planet exploratory mission, etc.

The third element is a verb or action statement. Examples are: discovered, fought, rescued, found, investigated, invented, and all. The point is to have the protagonist do something in a scientific setting. This sets the theme statement in a form that can be turned into a plot.

The fourth element is an antagonist. This is not necessary, but if you can include the foil to the protagonist that's a step forward.

The fifth element, and optional, is the protagonist's helper.

If you develop or have a theme statement with these elements, you can immediately begin to flesh out the plot.  This is where I break with the single word theme folks.  Sure, you can have a single word theme, but what does it get you--nothing.  A theme statement, as described above, provides the beginning of your plot.  With a theme statement, you have a protagonist, a setting, and an action of progress.  If you add in an antagonist and the protagonist's helper, you have all the elements of a plot.  The theme statement isn't the plot--it is simply the basis and beginning of the plot.  The next step is to flesh out the characters and develop the setting.

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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 14 Science Fiction Theme

14 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 14 Science Fiction Theme

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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.

The point I've been trying to make is that to write science fiction, you must start with a science fiction based theme.  A regular theme won't do.  Now, if you are silly enough to define a theme with a single world, you might not have a science fiction based theme.  This is why I've qualified the definition as a theme statement.  To me, a single word is not sufficient to define a theme.  That's why I want to break down a theme statement.  I don't think you need every element that I will describe in your theme statement, but it can't hurt.  If you do follow these simple directions, you will be able to write a theme statement and develop a plot from it.

The first element in a theme statement is the protagonist.  This can be as simple as "the boy," the girl," "the woman," "the Captain's son," "the beautiful singer," "a girl who...," "a boy who..." and all.  Let's state the protagonist in simple but specific terms. 

The second element is the setting.  This doesn't have to be very specific at all.  If the novel is not a science fiction novel, I'd suggest the setting can be undetermined, but the setting is usually the part of the theme statement that makes the theme a science fiction theme.  Typical settings are: on a spaceship, on a planet, during a planetary war, during a planet exploratory mission, etc.

The third element is a verb or action statement.  Examples are: discovered, fought, rescued, found, investigated, invented, and all.  The point is to have the protagonist do something in a scientific setting.  This sets the theme statement in a form that can be turned into a plot.

The fourth element is an antagonist.  This is not necessary, but if you can include the foil to the protagonist that's a step forward.

The fifth element, and optional, is the protagonist's helper. 

I've written before, that with a setting, a protagonist, protagonist's helper, and an antagonist, you can write a novel.  This is all you really need (well, along with imagination and writing skills).  Here's an example of a theme statement built with the above elements.  A boy from a space ship discovers a creature that appears to be an intelligent form; he tries to get the creature recognized by the government forces.  The protagonist is the boy.  The protagonist's helper could be the creature.  The antagonist is likely the government forces.  The setting is someplace where you will find an intelligent but nonhuman creature and a space ship.

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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 13 even more Theme and Plot

13 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 13 even more Theme and Plot

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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'm looking at science fiction and the science fiction based theme. If you are going to write science fiction, you need a science fiction based theme. I didn't repeat the definition, because I think I've made my point. I am going to expand my explanations and examples to my (as of yet) unpublished science fiction novels. This series is called The Ghost Ship Chronicles. This is a peek at the future of the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox almost 2000 years later. The Empire is gone, and in its place is the Confederation of Human Space.

Each of the novels in the Ghost Ship Chronicles is titled after a space ship. The second novel is Twilight Lamb. The theme statement for Twilight Lamb is this: Beginning from the theme statement for Athelstan Cying: the Captain's son through the help of the First Officer's daughter is becoming a success--they encounter a criminal psy organization that is using ancient psy devices to affect politics.  For those who like single word themes, this is a success concept theme.  I know this is a complex sounding theme, but you can see it is very strongly science fiction based. This is still a discovery theme.  Additionally, the theme of the second novel must take on the theme of the first novel--in such a continuation novel, anything else would be impossible. 

With the theme statement, we can build the characters and set the novel. The setting must be the future when there are space ships and psy. Through the theme statement and the first novel's theme statement, we have the Captain's son and the spirit of the ancient leader (the protagonist) (this is a character related to the times of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox). We have a protagonist's helper (the First Officer's Daughter) and now an antagonist (the organization seeking ancient psy and using them for political reasons). I mentioned that this is still a discovery novel--the spirit who is now within the Captain's son must discover his and the protagonist's helper's purpose in the world around them. The world of the Captain's son is already fully populated from the first novel. The reader discovers more of it with the spirit. The main character is Den Protania. His nemesis, Natana Kern becomes the protagonist's helper. We discover the antagonist (the Athenian Charter) in this second novel, Twilight Lamb.

These are really fun novels. I know the theme sounds kind of complex and possibly clunky, but the execution of the plot and storyline is a very smooth and exciting adventure novel. The reader discovers the world of the Family Traders and the Confederation of Human space along with the main character. Additionally, the novel has a strong romance theme. Need I write that the plot derives directly out of the theme, and the plot drives the storyline. You can't read this novel, yet, but you can read the first chapter and more about it at www.TwilightLamb.com.

Remember, I;m trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a sceince 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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 12 more Theme and Plot

12 August 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 12 more Theme and Plot

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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'm looking at science fiction and the science fiction based theme. If you are going to write science fiction, you need a science fiction based theme.  I didn't repeat the definition, because I think I've made my point.  I am going to expand my explanations and examples to my (as of yet) unpublished science fiction novels.  This series is called The Ghost Ship Chronicles.  This is a peek at the future of the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox almost 2000 years later.  The Empire is gone, and in its place is the Confederation of Human Space.

I'm going to look at the theme statement for the first novel in the series.  These novels are a pentology (five novels) (I hate this type of series).  The reason it is five novels is I started writing the first and realized halfway through that it was too long for a single novel.  I broke it up into five parts.  Each novel can be read separately, and I have a synopsis and introduction (my publisher might have me dump it). 

Each of the novels is titled after a space ship.  The first novel is Athelstan Cying.  The theme statement for Athelstan Cying is this: A Family Trader ship intercepts a derelict space ship on which the spirit of an ancient leader resides; the Captian's son, a failure, is injured and the spirit tries to save him, but is trapped in the body of the Captain's son.  This is a ressurection concept theme.  That's for those who like single word themes.  I know this is a complex sounding theme, but you can see it is very strongly science fiction based.  This is also a discovery theme. 

Once we have a theme statement, we can build the characters and set the novel.  The setting must be the future when there are space ships. Through the theme statement we have the Captain's son and the spirit of the ancient leader (the protagonist) (this is a character related to the times of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox).  We need to develop a protagonist's helper and an antagonist.  I mentioned that this is a discovery novel--the spirit who is now within the Captain's son must discover the new world around him.  The world of the Captain's son is already fully populated.  The reader discovers it with the spirit.  The main character is Den Protania.  His nemisis, Natana Kern becomes the protagonist's helper.  We don't discover the antagonist (the Athenian Charter) until the second novel, Twilight Lamb

These are really fun novels.  I know the theme sounds kind of complex and possibly clunky, but the execution of the plot and storyline is a very smooth and exciting adventure novel.  The reader discovers the world of the Family Traders and the Confederation of Human space along with the main character.  Additionally, the novel has a strong romance theme.  Need I write that the plot derives directly out of the theme, and the plot drives the storyline.  You can't read this novel, yet, but you can read more about it at www.AthelstanCying.com.

Remember, I;m trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a sceince 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/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.