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.
I mentioned yesterday that tension can be easily developed in an "on stage" exploration scene because of the connection of the character being explored to the one providing the information. If the character providing the information hates the character being explored, you have tension. If the character providing the information loves the character, you have tension. Let's see how it plays out in the example.
Here is some more of the "on stage" exploration of Leila from my novel, Valeska:
“I don’t remember who signed that paperwork. I really have no idea. There isn’t something wrong is there? Leila isn’t in trouble?”
“No,” George lied, “There isn’t anything wrong at all. We were just investigating the company for the government.”
“Has the company done that well?”
“Done that well?”
“Certainly, with Leila in charge it should be making a mint. The reason she put it together was to begin to design weapons. She was enamored of weapons…especially pistols.”
George leaned forward, “Has Ms. O’Dwyer tried to contact you about Etan Arms?”
“Until you called me, I hadn’t heard a thing about it in ten years. I wish she would. I’m an engineer, but I don’t get to play much with new designs or engineering work anymore. Leila was entirely hands on. She worked until everything was perfect. She was hard to get along with sometimes, but…why don’t you talk to Leila yourself?”
George and Scáth glanced at each other.
Mrs. Laighléis leaned forward, “You can’t can you…that’s why you came to me. She’s off on a tear again.”
“Off on a tear?”
Mrs. Laighléis’ nose turned up slightly, “Oh, yes…off on a tear. Leila was sixteen, but she was absolutely precocious. I didn’t realize that until later. She could drink like a sailor. She never ran away from university, but I do know she ran away to university…” Mrs. Laighléis started to laugh. She didn’t stop for a while, “Leila must have had the most horrible home and relatives--she ran off to university. When she was twelve, she snuck away from some boarding school in Belfast. She applied to school using a fake identification. Her parents didn’t know she was in Dublin for weeks. When they found out, there was a huge blowup on the campus. It was really quite hilarious. Even at twelve, Leila could make herself up to look older. She was very tall for a girl. The government got involved somehow, and they put her on a short leash, but she continued at university. Like I said, I was one of her few friends at university. When she graduated, she ran off again. That time British government investigators got involved.”
George carefully kept himself from smiling, “How do you know that?”
“They came to me. You couldn’t miss their accents, but they stated straight out they were with the British government and looking for her. Leila wanted to finish her Ph.D. in engineering. She could have with another year. I know she was already working on her dissertation. I hoped she got her company going and was doing well…”
George stood. He handed Mrs. Laighléis his card from the Belfast Motor Vehicles Special Division, “That answers our questions for us right now. If Ms. O’Dwyer contacts you, please give us a call.”
Mrs. Laighléis smiled, “You didn’t answer my question. Has Leila run away again? Is her company all right?”
George sighed, “As to both questions, we are looking for her.”
“Is she in trouble? You’re from an odd government office.”
“Whenever you make weapons, you can always expect the government to be involved and interested. We are one of those offices.”
“She’s missing, isn’t she?”
“As to that, I’m not at liberty to say.”
Mrs. Laighléis’ features became stern, “I’ll not do anything to hurt her. Leila always had a hard go at life. If you saw hope much work she put into everything, and how hard she struggled to keep up, you would realize that.”
“Ms. O’Dwyer isn’t in trouble with the government. You won’t be hurting her if you tell us where she is or if she contacts you.”
Mrs. Laighléis shook her head, “I’ll not tell you anything. If she’s hiding, she has a good reason to hide.”
George nodded, “Thanks for your time. I promise you, we are trying to help her.”
Mrs. Laighléis stood abruptly, “It was a pleasure to speak about Leila. I hope you don’t find her, and I hope Etan Arms is doing well.”
As they walked out the door, George called back, “Very well, good day.” The door shut hard enough to bring down a small cascade of dust.
We get a good deal of information about Leila, but that was my point--and the point of the exploration conversation. Still, I was able to interpose some tension and a little excitement into the mix--plus you learned a very important piece about Leila--her friends love her. The reaction of Mrs. Laighléis is insightful because it tells us how she views Leila. She is a professional woman and professional about her work. She views Leila as her equal as a person and a professional. Although George doesn't have anything negative to say about Leila, Mrs. Laighléis is still defensive.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: