Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but the publisher has delayed all their fiction output due to the economy. I'll keep you informed. More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.
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 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer. Lilly is my 24th novel.
Let's review my guidelines for conversation.
1. Cultural norms (greeting, introduction, small talk, big talk)
2. Logical response (characters must respond to each other in the conversation)
3. ID the speaker
4. Show us the picture of the conversation
5. Use contractions (most of the time)
6. What are you trying to say?
7. What is unsaid in the conversation?
8. Build the tone of the conversation.
9. Show don't tell.
10. Keep proper names to a minimum.
I'm an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action--in fact, to write any novel. I'll describe this technique (and style) again if you are new to my blog or you missed it before.
The input for the next scene (from the initial scene) is Reb leading Scott away to a place of safety. Here is that scene transition. You might note, there isn't much of a change of scene--you could almost see this as a continuation of the previous scene. What makes it a new scene is the potential driven by the previous scene. In the initial scene, there is an obvious inevitability--Reb and Scott will meet. Once they have met, the scene transitions--there are choices to be made. She can turn him in. He can surrender. She can try to capture him. He could force her to help him. I decided, that for this novel, she would decide to help him, and he would take her up on the offer. This was logical to me. So, we have the continuation based on that decision:
Rebecka stepped up to him and grasped his gloved hand, “Then come with me.”
“I need to get my survival gear.”
She let go of his hand, “Get it then and hurry.”
Scott ran to the side of the shuttle and climbed back up a couple of steps. He opened a compartment on the side above the wing. A survival kit and a raft popped out. The raft filled and flopped onto the ground. Scott put his arms through the straps of the kit and ran back to her, “I’d really like to get rid of this pressure suit.”
“No time.” Rebecka grabbed his hand again and tugged him into the long grass.
The length of the grass increased as they moved away from the shuttle and the headland. The girl ran almost faster than Scott could keep up in his suit. She came to a place where the grass began to thin. He could still see the coastal cliffs through it behind them. Then she paralleled the coast at the thickest portion of the grass. They crossed a track, but she ignored it and pulled him inland still within the thickest portion of the grass. The sun was already down, but there was enough light to see.
The grass began to thin again. The girl stopped and stayed very still.
Scott began to ask her, “Where are we…?”
She stuck her hand over his mouth, “Shush.”
Scott didn’t say anything more then. He noted there was a road ahead of them. The grass was low at the edge of the road and thinned away from it like a military thoroughfare. The girl squeezed his gloved hand and whispered, “Wait here. We must cross the road. I’ll take a look…” She glanced back at him and added, “Don’t move.” She looked both directions and stepped out of the tall grass. She walked nonchalantly through the thinning grass to the center of the open area. She looked to the north and the south along the road then turned toward Scott and frantically waved him to her.
He looked both ways and ran toward her. She saw him coming, nodded, and ran toward the opposite area of tall grass.
Scott took a look around as he ran. The road was not paved. It was a road made of dark grey hexagonal paving stones. The surface appeared nearly perfectly flat and beautifully made. It had to be a handmade construction. It was only wide enough to accommodate one wheeled vehicle of the types he was used to. Along the road, he spotted a poster with some writing on it. He couldn’t read it from where he crossed the road. Close to it was a large picture of a man. He crossed the handmade road in a moment and continued to the cut grass and then the tall grass on the other side. He lost sight of her for a moment, then saw her and caught up. She was waiting and grasped his hand. She pulled him along through the grass.
Scott was breathing hard. His pressure suit was heavy. The girl didn’t seem to notice or care. After a few more hundred yards, Scott wheezed, “Wait, wait a moment. I can’t run much further.”
She slowed and turned. Her nose sniffed oddly, “Can you continue to move? They will find your flying machine and soon begin looking for you.”
“Let me take this off.”
“Bear with it. You will have to carry it one way or another. You can’t just leave it here. I’d rather run, but we can walk. Come,” she drew him by his hand at a much slower pace. Scott gave a sigh of relief. In the distance ahead, Scott could see a long line of trees.
They went almost a mile and she suddenly stopped again. She covered her mouth and nose and made a gagging sound.
Scott looked at her, “What’s wrong? Are you all right?”
The girl lifted her hand. She closed her eyes and gagged again. A small dribble of bile came out of her mouth and traced her chin. She bent over and spat, then she straightened and rubbed the saliva from her chin.
I didn't reach the end of the scene--they are still escaping immediate capture. You can see how the action narration and the description move the scene. The obvious point everyone is waiting for--the time for conversation. The reader wants Scott and Reb to be able to speak candidly to one another. Scott wants to talk to Reb--there are many confusing events and things happening to him and around him. Reb wants to know about Scott. Everyone is waiting for the moment of conversation. That is the moment of truth--the point where many things can become clear. Funny how important conversation is.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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