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.
I gave you part of the second scene in the novel Escape. I usually don't give much more than the first chapter, but I'd like you to see how I move the rising action to conversation. What you missed was: Reb took Scott back to the community by the back way. She had him bathe in the shared facility, and gave him a clothing issue. They went to her private room and stowed way his clothing and equipment. They went to dinner. At each step, I showed the reader more and more of the world of Freedom (the country). Finally, Scott and Reb return to her room where Scott wants to know about everything...
Reb soundly shut the door behind them. She took a deep breath. The soft lights came on in the room.
Scott crossed his arms, “Now I want you to tell me everything about this place.”
She shushed him, “Not so loud. The walls are synthetic concrete, but the vents can convey conversation well. Is that knowledge really necessary for you to escape?”
She pulled her footlocker to the side of the bed and pointed toward it. Scott sat on the footlocker, and she sat on the bed. First Scott bent his head toward hers and grabbed her left arm. She gave a low squawk and pulled away for a moment, but he didn’t let go. Scott pulled up her sleeve to reveal a tattoo. He examined it. The tattoo was her name with a barcode underneath it. It literally said V10+S10 537 Rebecka. There was a strange space before the five. He guessed the barcode repeated the character. He asked, “What is this exactly?”
She looked up at his eyes then down at the tattoo, “This is my life mark. I was very surprised to see that you didn’t have one anywhere on your body.”
“What does it mean?”
Reb gave a haughty smile, “It says that I am a visual acuity level ten plus and a scent acuity level ten. My personal number is 537 of all those who are coded V or S. My series name is Rebecka…”
“It is the name people usually call me. It indicates my birth year and special sequence and allows others to address me.”
“My name is Scott Phillips. I guess in your understanding, Phillips Scott. You can call me Scott.”
“We had a Scott series once,” she added ominously, “but I think he went to the hospital—and didn’t return.”
“Is there more than one series name?”
Not usually more than one under a single code, but it’s not unheard of. There are only so many names to go around—the computer has trouble sometimes inventing new series. Usually the judgment and categorization willows out many of the repeated names.”
“Judgment and categorization…what’s that?”
“Each of us has our special place here. It is a place we were bred to fill. I am a special of category VS that is also my code. VS means that I have a highly acute and accurate sense of sight and smell…”
“How acute and accurate?”
“We measure things using a very scientific standard here, but both my acuity and accuracy in vision is more than ten times greater than a normal citizen. My sense of smell is likewise ten time greater than the average citizen.”
“That’s why the smell of the sewage pond bothered you so much. You were bred that way?”
“For what purpose?”
She grinned proudly, “I develop scents and colors for our nation, Freedom.”
“Scents and colors? How are they used?”
She cocked her head, “I developed the colors for the foods you ate today. I also helped make the scents of some of them. Ruth is our scent team leader, but I helped with many of them and especially the candy.”
“Yes, the candy at dinner—it’s a drug.”
He shook his head, “Why don’t you know about drugs? A drug is something you ingest that causes a reaction in the body or mind.”
She shrugged, “In that case everything we ingest is a drug of some kind. We design it all. Everything comes from basic molecular compounds. We mix the compounds for taste, texture, sight, and smell to make them most pleasant for each citizen…”
“What about the effect of the drug in that candy?”
“I don’t understand what you mean by effect.”
“When you begin to eat it, you get an initial acrid taste—that’s the drug. It very quickly changes to a completely different taste and gives you a feeling of euphoria. It is a very powerful hallucinogenic drug that seems to have almost no lasting effect—or at least any noticeable lasting effect.”
Reb pulled on her bottom lip, “It does have lasting effects…”
“I have no idea—that is classified.” Her smile returned, “I worked on the scent and colors. We have always had a problem with the initial taste—the moment the chemicals begin to act, you no longer taste them. Isn’t it wonderful?”
“It’s a drug—all right, a chemical. What about the extra food you had?”
“That was extra protein and a chemical enhancement.”
She tapped her lips, “It improves our acuity.”
“It also appeared to have the same euphoric effects.”
“It does make you feel good,” she sighed at the thought.
“So what does the euphoria hide?”
Scott had a frown on his face, “I’m not an expert on drugs, but in my land, you put in flavors and anesthetics, euphorics, to mask the effects of more powerful drugs.”
She stared at him, “Is that true…?”
“It is true.”
“I need to think on this very carefully…”
Scott rubbed his chin, “I need to know more about your island…”
“It is called Freedom…”
“Freedom. You work with many scents and colors—what does your nation, Freedom do with them all?”
“Do with them?”
Scott leaned back, “How many colors and scents do you develop over a year?”
She smiled, “Perhaps one color and one scent a week. Usually, I design a series of colors and work on a series of scents. Many times they are matched to one another…”
“Then how are they used?”
“Look for all the colors and scents you developed, we saw two examples, both drugs. Where is the rest of your work?”
“There is another edible chemical I worked on, but I hadn’t thought about that before—I have no idea what they do with the rest of my…our work.”
Likewise, Scott has much to hide--the biggest secret is that he is using Reb to help him and has no intention of letting her come with him. On the other hand, Reb will do anything to escape--anything. These are powerful secrets that are revealed through showing and some individual contemplation.
The transition to the rising action from the initial scene involves action and finally conversation. Indeed, my goal in this novel and any novel I write is to let the reader see (action and description) followed by conversation that touches on or details the action and description. This is especially true in a discovery novel like this. This is a discovery novel. The revelation is, of course, the main characters, but also the plot revelation includes the culture of Freedom. I know my readers what to know as much as Freedom as Scott does. For Scott, it is life or death. For the reader, it is entertainment. To facilitate knowledge about Freedom, Scott needs to explore and more information.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing,