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 my newest novel, Valeska, is this: An agent of the organization becomes involved with a vampire girl during a mission, she becomes dependent on the agent, and she is redeemed.
Here is my proposed cover for Valeska:
The resolution in a novel is not about showing (or telling) everything. In fact, a wise author will not show or tell everything about a character. In many cases, the author might hint or provide some breadcrumbs, but too much information will only ruin a novel. Let me go back to an example I like to use about this very subject. This is from the initial scene of Children of Light and Darkness one of my Ancient Light Novels.
Kathrin McClellan tugged at her soggy blouse. She was already soaked, and the sun had barely crested the hills or the jungle treetops. The rain forest was heavy and green, bursting with vitality. Insects, birds, and larger animals already lifted up their repetitious calls with the rising sun. The aroma of the jungle was pervasive, and to Kathrin’s nose, everything, seemed thick and cloying. It was only made worse by the constant heat. Kathrin was not immune to the smells yet either—the fragrance and the heat. The air was so full of moisture each breath seemed like it tried to strangle her. She was reminded of the steam baths in
, but here, there was no
opportunity to run out into the cold and dive into a freezing pool of
water. There wasn’t any air conditioning
here to escape for a little while from the oppressive grip of the heat, and the
nighttime didn’t offer any relief either.
At night, the place was dark and hot.
Ugh, she hated it. It was so
different from her native Finland Scotland,
and from her adopted . Kathrin liked some of the food and the
people. She liked to travel, and she
enjoyed the experience, but she was just not used to the heat. James encouraged her and told her to keep at
it. If they weren’t here on a job, she
would have left a week ago. But it was a
job. See the world, the recruiting
posters said—well she had seen a lot of it, and this was about the only piece
she didn’t like much at all. land
James stepped out on the veranda, “Heat still bothering you, Kathrin?”
Kathrin didn’t say a word. She pursed her lips and clenched her jaw.
James turned around at the rail and leaned against it. He was tall and handsome, clean shaven. His hair was slightly tousled—always slightly tousled. It was brown and nondescript. His face, though handsome, was still nondescript. MI, Military Intelligence, liked their agents to look good, but not to draw too much attention. It was easier that way. James was strong and well trained. He always treated her like a lady, even when he didn’t have to and when she didn’t deserve it.
Kathrin knew she was pretty—perhaps bordering on beautiful. Her face was freckled and sported blazing green eyes. She had heart shaped lips in a heart shaped face. Her hair was red, and she was thin, perhaps too thin. She wasn’t very tall either. None of those characteristics ever seemed to affect her negatively. She spoke with a thick but improving Scottish brogue that made her a little difficult to understand at times. She knew she always showed a slightly harried look, and that was backed by an overly brisk personality. And true to the Gallic stereotype, she did possess a raging temper. It was a prideful secret that she kept it in check almost all of the time. When she let it out, it scared her. She didn’t let it out often, not at all since she had been working for the organization.
“The organization.” Now there was an enigma. It had been MI19, Military Intelligence section nineteen, during the big war, World War Two, but MI19 was officially defunct. It was just called “the organization” now. MI19 had originally been the language and interrogation services for British Military Intelligence. There was a big stink after the war about interrogation techniques, and to calm the public and foreign sensibilities, MI19 closed for a day and reopened the next as “the organization.” The focus of the organization today was language agents and operatives. It provided agents who could blend into the cultures and societies from which the British needed to gather information and intelligence. The organization now rarely conducted enemy agent interrogations—it did handle all defector and special intelligence interrogations. Sometimes it still accomplished enemy agent interrogations. All right, to be truthful, MI19 still did all the work it had during the big war, it just focused mainly on languages now—there weren’t that many enemies to interrogate. Kathrin ought to know, she was the head of the organization’s interrogation department. She was an operative and not an agent. She didn’t usually carry out field work, but her special skill and subtlety were supposed to be necessary here. During the big war, well before her time, her department included over half of the employees in the organization. She had just hired and trained a new interrogator so her department was now three strong. That’s the only reason they would think of sending her out to
on a mission with James
James was an organizational share out to MI6. Military Intelligence section six was the British Secret Intelligence Service. James was a real agent. When he was a child, his family had lived in
missionaries, and he had a fantastic ear for the language and the culture. Like so many of the agents who worked for the
organization, he learned to speak his language in the streets as a child. He spoke the Burmese languages perfectly and
knew almost every dialect in the nation.
He also knew Mandarin Chinese, but he had not told Kathrin any of the other
languages he spoke—she had no official “need to know,” and his language knowledge
was somewhat classified. Burma
Bruce Lyons was the director of the organization—Kathrin and James’ boss. For a long time, Mr. Lyons and the members of the organization thought he would be transferred and the organization subsumed under some other MI. Instead, as the British government scaled down their intelligence services, the organization had taken over many of the defunct MI groups. The organization supplied all the language trained agents to the rest of the MI system. That’s why James was a share.
For some reason, Bruce Lyons himself briefed them on their mission. The director usually didn’t do that, and the mission seemed simple. It had turned painful for more than one reason.
James checked his sidearm, “You still mad at me about last night?”
Kathrin’s eyes flashed at him. James tucked away his weapon and raised his hands.
All the fight drained out of her. She gazed out on the jungle, “It was my fault.”
“Then come on. It will only get hotter the longer we delay.”
Kathrin bared her teeth. She pulled her large hat around her ears and grimaced. She was slightly sunburned, and her ears and nose received the brunt—her ears, just where her hat rested on them. She followed James down the veranda and into the bursting sunlight. She sped up a little and caught up with him, “Where to today?”
“We tried the main sites all around the region.” He took a cautious glance around, “The reports and our leak said they were last seen in this general area. It mentioned a tomb and a temple—their usual modus operandi. We tried the obvious ones. I think we will get the lay of the land and seek locally for a while.”
“I haven’t thought that far. We’re way off our original plans, and we still have time, orders, and funding.”
Kathrin folded her arms across her chest and paced at his side.
This isn't the entire scene. You can read the rest of this first chapter at my website. In this scene, we know something happened last night between James and Kathrin. Although the what is talked around by them later, I never tell you directly what happened. You can guess, but it is better for the novel to leave the exact events unsaid. I don't even need to give the reader a flashback. All I need to do is give you a few breadcrumbs, and you make up a whole scenario in your own mind. The in your own mind is precisely the point. I'm going to tell you something your writing coaches, teacher, professors never told you. This is it--don't ever show or tell everything and don't describe anything to perfection. I'll let you in on this secret tomorrow.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: