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.
What about "off stage" exploration? Usually, this is where a character reports in conversation to another character about what she has discovered about someone else. I did mention that exploration is a great means of revelation. You wouldn't want all your revelation to be this way, but this is a great method to share "truthful" information.
Usually, it is hard to trust information from the mouth of a character, but the impression of exploration and investigation lends a credibility to the information. Now, it is also true that the information could be entirely false, but that is something an author can use to drive the theme, plot, and storyline. In my novel, Shadow of Darkness, a yet unpublished Ancient Light novel, the KGB is constantly investigating my protagonist. She has some idea that she is being investigated, but doesn't care much--that is the way of the Soviet. I also give you conversations between the leaders of the Soviet agencies and they are discussing my protagonist. This is the use of on stage conversation to pass on off stage exploration. Here is an example:
General of the Army Sergei Nikiforovich Kruglov was the First Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs for the NKVD. He was a bloodhound faced man with soft soulful eyes, a large nose, and full lips. His cleft chin almost seemed inopportune at the end of his face since it did not lend any strength to it. But he was not a man to underestimate. Viktor Abakumov stepped into the car and sat beside him. Kruglov tapped the glass and the car began moving, “What is Beria doing with that girl?”
Abakumov lit a cigarette, “He is playing a game with the offices—setting them up for the event.”
“Why put this child in this office?”
“Have you heard her speak?”
“Bah, Viktor, I have many translators.”
“None like her.”
“You hired her, and Beria took her from you to set up this office—Embassy Relations. What can he have in mind—what could you have in mind?”
“Svetlana Evgenyevna is unbelievable. She speaks numerous languages.”
“So do I.”
“Perfectly! No accent! No word out of place. The minute she speaks, they hang on her every word.”
Kruglov spat, “Are you in love with the little girl, Viktor?”
Abakumov laughed out loud, “Quite the contrary. Bewitched is a better word. Have you seen her?”
“You must meet her. You will, of course, but soon. She is the most exquisite looking woman you may ever see. A godlike being, she is so attractive she almost seems to take away your desire with your breath.”
“I never thought of you as a dreamer, Viktor.”
“Dreamer, no. Realist, yes. I wanted her in SMERSh for the same reason Beria snatched her up. The minute she speaks, she acquires every man and women’s attention. Her voice is torn, injured, but it contains such power and authority—they listen, all of them. She listens to them too. Almost as though she sees each person to the core of their being. You must read her reports. Her assessment of individuals borders on the intimate.”
Kruglov lit another cigarette, “As you say, I must meet this person. My question is what will we do with this new office after the event?”
“We’d be fools to shut it down. Already Svetlana Evgenyevna is invited to every embassy fete. They are inviting her to their homes and privately inside the embassies.”
Kruglov smiled and let out a large breath of smoke, “I see what you mean. You are receiving reports from this new office?”
“A few. Beria is keeping most of them to himself. I understand those are even more detailed.”
“After the event, we must see just what secrets Beria has uncovered.”
“Perhaps we should ask her for a report on Beria.”
“That is a thought, Viktor. That is a thought.”
Two highly placed Soviet officials are discussing Sveta, the protagonist of Shadow of Darkness. This is a report of exploration that occurs off stage, but it also give the reader insight into the characters and the protagonist.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: