Announcement: I received the proofs and a three-day deadline to give comments. One of my regular prepub readers and I went through the three book. I was able to correct some second edition issues in Aegypt. The proposed cover and info can be found at www.ancientlight.com. I'll keep you updated. I should have three new books out soon.
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 purpose of a novel is to reveal the protagonist and usually the protagonist's helper, the author needs to place them in circumstance that allows them to reveal themselves. The means can be conversation, exploration, discovery, other's conversation, confession, accidental discovery.
Here is a change in point of view (POV) with a description of Aksinya and Natanya from my yet unpublished novel, Aksinya: Enchantment and the Deamon.
On Friday afternoon, Freiherr Bockmann’s coupe, the covered carriage, came for Aksinya and Natalya. The Freifrau Bockmann herself sat in the coupe. For the weekend, Aksinya and Natalya had taken clothing from the house across the street. They wore something other than their Sacré Coeur uniforms now. Aksinya was dressed like a countess, and Natalya like a lady-in-waiting. Both of their jewelry was much more elegant than that which would have been expected any student to wear.
Freifrau Bockmann’s eyes widened when she saw them. She descended from the coupe and curtsied to Aksinya. Then, she greeted both the girls with a kiss. The Reverend Mother stepped out of the school to see them off. Frau Drescher stood as an after thought in the shadows near the gymnasium’s door.
The Reverend Mother curtsied to Freifrau Bockmann. It was a deep curtsy that included Aksinya, “Freifrau Bockmann, the Countess and Lady Natalya have started well. We are glad you decided to take them under your wing for their social training during the weekends.”
Freifrau Bockmann was effusive, “Thank you, Reverend Mother. I will return them Sunday evening. Please don’t expect them for dinner.”
“Yes, Freifrau Bockmann.”
With the driver’s help, they climbed into the carriage. After they were inside, Freifrau Bockmann tapped the ceiling of the coupe with the top of her cane and the driver started the horses moving.
Freifrau Bockmann gazed at her two charges. The one had a boyish figure and a sharp face. It was so typically Russian it almost hurt to look at her. Her features were not very lovely, but her clothing fit her perfectly and she was dressed exquisitely. Her hair was arranged with a touch of genius. The Lady Natalya had made the most of so little although Freifrau Bockmann thought she could see evidence that it was finally growing out. The young countess before her might not be very lovely to look at but her manner and manners were perfect. She sat and stood and walked exactly as you would expect from a countess or even a princess. Yes, she had the perfect demeanor of a princess. Plus that look in her eyes. The Countess Aksinya’s eyes gave an impression of majesty, strength, and power. That seemed very odd to the Freifrau Bockmann.
The Lady Natalya, on the other hand, was a perfect opposite to her countess. Her face was lovely. Her figure was like an opening bloom. Her proportions were exact and perfect. She looked like the picture plates you found in novels about the royalty. Her appearance seemed like a perfect reproduction in life of one of those still portraits. She didn’t show the exact and perfect decorum the Countess did—her face and actions were much more lively. She seemed the exact counterpoint to the Countess, and the Freifrau Bockmann knew, they were both very intelligent.
This is the kind of description I like to use to remind my readers about a character's physical attributes. From another POV, it becomes truth for the reader without the use of telling or omniscient voice. Is it true? I'll leave that to the reader to determine. The fact is that the POV might be prejudice or their opinions slanted in some manner. If you knew Frau Bockmann better, you would know that she is wholly a German/Austrian aristocrat. In other words, she sees everything from the standpoint of a German noble. A Russian is normally not "beautiful" in her mind. The fact she finds Natalya beautiful and Russian is more of a question of how unRussian Natalya looks from Frau Bockmann's standpoint. Further, Frau Bockmann is a good judge of power and strength--she sees it in Aksinya. Aksinya is indeed powerful.
Here is a picture of a Russian aristocrat for comparison:
This is generally how Frau Bockmann sees Aksinya. Is this "beautiful?" From a Russian POV the woman is beautiful, but this is not necessarily the beauty of a German, an Austrian, an American, a British person. Every culture and every nationality views beauty differently. Not that there are no similarities between cultures, but it is absolutely true that cultures view many normal aspects of life differently. If you ever looked at paintings from different eras, you can trace the changes in "cultural beauty." In some writing, it may be good enough to call someone or something beautiful, but that disregards these differences that are very critical to each culture.
A little on beauty, but the point of this exercise is to show a person from a different POV. This isn't purely discovery or other's conversation--not at this point.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: