Announcement: There is action on my new novels. The publisher renamed the series--they are still working on the name. I provided suggestions as did one of my prepub readers. Now the individual books will be given single names: Leora, Leila, Russia, Lumiere', China, Sveta, and Klava--at least these are some of the suggestions. They are also working on a single theme for the covers. 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.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of this new novel is: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.
When you first develop and introduce a character, you need a physical description. I agree with Arlo Guthrie Jr., the physical description of a main character should be 300 or more words--period. In the initial description of the vampire, I have about 216 words, the rest are taken up in further description in the dialog. I prefer not to just set a description indiscriminately--I like to intermix with the conversation or action when possible. Part of the physical description is the name. However, the name can only come out with conversation or specific description. In POV (point of view) it is possible to give a name in description. Thus from the beginning of the new novel I'm writing:
A full moon hung above midnight Gdańsk. The dark medieval streets were wet and filthy. Puddles ringed with oily rainbows covered the cracked cobblestones. The moon shown in each of them, reflected as a milky glow that was grimed with the floating sheen. The scent of saltwater and rotten fish rose with the night time tide, an unavoidable stench this close to the waterfront. At street level, the night was utterly dark. The very few modern lights along the crumbling cobblestone avenue shared little illumination with the ancient alleyways that pierced the darkened buildings on either side of the street. George Mardling stepped gingerly to the alley beside an old shop and glanced down it. His eyes were already adjusted to the dark. Still he flipped the night vision goggle over his left eye and scanned the alley. It was clear.
The late fall night was cold--George wore a suit and over it a black overcoat. He had a dark felt fedora on his head. That helped conceal the night vision goggle. The night vision equipment was very modern and compact. The organization had issued it to the field last month. The point was to get a lot of night visibility out of a very small package—it worked well, but the battery life was limited.
George was a tall and thin man. He liked to think his physique was like a body builders’, but he knew he was too thin. He also knew his face looked too young and too serious. More like a student or a professor than an agent. That was probably good for the organization.
George carried a Beretta nine millimeter in his jacket and a Beretta nine millimeter kurz in his waistband, he hadn’t unholstered either weapon—yet. According to headquarters, his target wasn’t supposed to be armed. According to his orders, this wasn’t an attack or an arrest—he was making a reconnaissance, a surveillance with a contact. If he could identify the mark, all the better.
Notice, George Mardling is named in the description. Heidi is not. I'll give you that example tomorrow. For now, let's look at naming. I choose the names of my characters based first on their character. The point is to have a name that connotes meaning in the novel and for the theme. In the case of George Mardling, I meant for his name to be strongly British, different from my other main male characters, and to refer to a redeeming spirit. George is strongly British and connotes George the Dragon killer and a Red Cross Knight. The Red Cross Knight is a knight who is willing to give all for his country and others. George is obviously this kind of character--the reader shouldn't miss this about his personality and character.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: