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.
I mentioned yesterday that conversation can and should drive your action scenes. Since I am providing (on my website) the first chapter of Valeska, I'll give you an example of action and conversation from it. George Mardling is dying:
He was dying.
A movement caught him by surprise. It came from the dark alleyway away from the street. A small person moved very quickly from the opening to stand right in front of him. It stopped suddenly and whimpered, then sat on its haunches. It squatted outside of his reach and watched him. Its face was thin and pale. The face barely showed in his night vision goggle. That, in itself was surprising. It wore clothing that seemed exceedingly fine, but they were filthy and damp. It had on the filthy remains of a girl’s party dress. The dress had once been white with red or pink ribbons, but now it was torn and bedraggled. The ribbons blended with the stains on the dress. The stains seemed like long dried blood and not just the dirt of the streets.
The girl, it was a girl, stared at him with bright eyes that seemed tinged with silver. They appeared slightly dull in the night vision goggle. Her hair was black and matted. It reached almost to the cobbles of the alleyway where she squatted. Her face was finely etched and hard looking. She let her tongue slip out of her mouth. She licked her lips. Her tongue was slightly pointed, and George could swear, her teeth were pointed like fangs.
She raised her eyes to his and spoke. It wasn’t Polish. She spoke high German with a strange lilt. Her voice was low and melodious, “You, mortal man, you are dying.”
George groaned, “I’m dying. Can you call the police with my phone?”
She eyed him strangely, “I don’t have a phone here—what good would it do?”
“My phone. It fell at my side.”
She shrugged, “I don’t know what that is. I wouldn’t be able to use it. You are dying.”
“I am dying. Can you help me?”
The girl stared at him, “You are dying. It is a full moon—I am starving.”You obviously can't do every action scene and every action sequence with conversation. In this short example, note that there is space for setting (description) and narrative. However, the tension in the scene is purely action based--George Mardling, the agent, is dying. The vampire was hunting. George ruined her hunt. That comes out in further conversation. The tension in the scene moves from George dying to the vampire's hunting and needs. George is still dying, but the tension in the scene has suddenly changed. This is the power of conversation and the power of showing. Notice that everything here is showing. There is no telling. You learn everything from description and conversation.
Note also some other details in the writing. As I've written before, use 100 to 300 words to describe major characters when you introduce them. Introduce handles and tags with the characters. A consistent tag with the vampire is her tongue and fangs. It is also her choice in clothing. She likes to wear pink and white especially with lace and ribbons. These kinds of tags will allow you to bring the character into character in your writing. Perhaps I should discuss this next.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: