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.
Conversation should drive your novels. Even in the action sequences...have you noticed that in many more seasoned movies, the banter in the fighting and action sequences move them. Or perhaps you were forced to read Shakespeare--I love Shakespeare. In every action and fighting scene, the combatants trade barbs along with blows. This is the model of action and conversation.
In my conversational scenes (90%+ in my novels), I first determine the information I want to convey. Many times it isn't what you think. Second, I determine the tension development in the scene. Third, I write the scene as if it is a scene of intellectual action.
Conversation can be a type of combat, and the undercurrents of the scene are as important as the conversation. I mentioned that the information you want to convey may have nothing to do with the scene as hand. The example below is exactly what I am writing about. This comes from Valeska (the vampire novel). The conversation is between the protagonist, George Mardling, and another important character, Leila. The point of the conversation is to get to know one another and to prepare for a mission. My purpose in the conversation is to tell the reader about Leila and to reveal bits about her character. One of her handles (tag lines) in the novel is "I said too much."
George moved his chair around the table so he had a direct path to the exit. Leila moved her chair so it was directly across from his. They both had a clear path to the opening.
Leila sat. George sat.
She didn’t know what to say next.
Finally George cocked his head. He was still smiling, “I see you have my dossier, but I’m at a distinct disadvantage—I don’t have yours.”
Leila hadn’t thought of that. She stammered, “Um, I…I um.”
“If you can share an expurgated version, I can get it later…”
“I’ll just tell you about myself for now.”
“That would be good.”
“I’m an agent. I joined the organization…” She paused. She would have to be very careful about what she said, “I went to university at Trinity College Dublin…”
“And studied linguistics.”
George’s jaw dropped, “You’re not kidding.”
Leila turned her face a little and puckered the side of her face, “I’m a bit of a rebel. My parents weren’t keen, but I studied engineering to Masters level.”
“Why didn’t you continue?”
She bowed her head, “They said they needed me in the organization more than the university or the country needed engineers.”
“I see.” And he really did. “I wanted to study engineering. At Sandhurst, I focused on combat engineering, but I haven’t used those skills as much as I would have liked. What kind of engineering?”
“Design and mechanical.”
“You must be good at math…”
She smiled slightly, “Excellent, actually…I like to do advanced problems for entertainment. I’m doing one right now for a pistol design.”
“Just for fun?”
“Just for fun. I don’t have many friends and my family isn’t so happy to have me around—that’s why I’m here.” She looked up and put her hands over her mouth.
“Said too much.”
“Yeah, said too much.”
“That means you aren’t part of interrogation…why meet here?”
“It’s convenient…and close?”
“Close to what?” He purred.
“Said too much.”
“Okay, I won’t ask any more about that. What do you like to do—other than advanced math that is?”
“I like to read…read all the time.” She put her hands on the table and twiddled her fingers, “That’s enough about me. Why don’t we go over the mission?”
George smiled, “That might be a good idea. Although, I’d like to hear more about you sometime.”
Leila raised her eyes to his. Her mouth was wide open, “Really. Most men run screaming the moment I tell them I’m an engineer. The remainder are gone when I tell them I like to do advance math for fun. Anyone left over, leave after I tell them I like to read.”
George’s smile broadened, “You probably said too much again.”“Yeah, said too much.”
If you notice, although the conversation is supposed to be about the mission, they haven't said anything about the mission yet at all. The conversation shows you a lot about Leila and something about George. The entire point is to show the reader about Leila. I don't tell you about Leila, I show you Leila through her own words. The conversation is focused on the mission, but the purpose, my purpose is to show you Leila. There is much more involved--especially from an entertainment and excitement perspective. Isn't the conversation fun? Don't you feel for Leila? Don't you want to know more about her? The tension in the scene is that this is her first time leading a mission. There are other undercurrents and motives in it. There is much that is not said that the reader knows but Leila and George don't know--not at this point. The tension and release are moving on many levels, and the example doesn't begin to touch all of it.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: