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.
In the novel, Scott wants as much information as possible about Freedom. His purpose is to escape Freedom. The reader wants to know just as much, if not more, than Scott--that's entertainment.
I love these kinds of novels--both to read and to write. In the writing, I am creating a new world where all the parts connect through logic and human norms. The world that is created my not look exactly like any place in the human domains, but it must fit together logically and reasonably. The enjoyable part is the revelation of this world to the reader--in every sense.
Therefore, we need to find ways to inform Scott and the readers about this world. The first and most powerful is showing--actually living in the world. I cut off much of the description from the second scene of Escape. I think I'll give you a little of it--a taste of the showing. The second and much more powerful means is conversation. This is initially Reb and Scott. Scott has questions, and the reader has questions too. Reb can answer many, but not all of his questions. I think you can see, other conversations are then important to answer questions that Reb cannot. Further, another part of showing is exploration. Scott will explore the world of Freedom. This excites him and the reader. Here is more showing--its about the food the Citizens of Freedom eat.
Scott looked at the food in front of him. There were no utensils or plates. The food was entirely self-contained. The tray was made of a light grey synthetic material. He examined each piece of food. The closest to any food he was used to was a piece of something like bread. It was soft and light brown but didn’t crumble at all. He tasted it. It had something close to a flavor like bread and nuts. It tasted fresh and was fluffy. The second piece was like a small torte. There was a light brown crust with a yellow brown filling. He picked it up and bit into it. The flavor was similar to eggs and cheese. The crust was flaky, but didn’t crumble. Everything stuck together so nothing was lost or wasted—no trash, no mess. The third piece of food was an elongated sphere. It had a slightly elastic skin. Scott bit into it. The consistency was like fruit and it was somewhat sweet and juicy, but the juice didn’t drip from the pulp. He guessed it was artificial or synthetic—just like the others foods. The final large piece was a container filled with liquid. The container had an attached straw. The liquid was a little fizzy like a soft drink. It had a slightly citrus flavor.
Scott remembered, Reb also was issued another piece of food and a small lump that looked like candy. He had a piece of candy too. It was a small hard light green colored sphere. Her extra piece had been a caramel colored square. He had eaten and drank everything else. It was sufficient, but not enough to completely fill him. He popped the candy into his mouth. It had a slightly acrid and drug-like flavor at first. He wondered that he didn’t spit it out. He experienced a sudden burst of euphoria. He realized then that it was a drug. The flavor was like a cross between chocolate and mint—there was a creaminess to it. The euphoria lasted as long as the hard candy lasted.
His thinking was slightly befuddled because of the candy, but he began looking around at the posters and their slogans. The closest to him stated: Working is Freedom. He tried to get his slightly drugged mind around that—working is freedom. Another said: Property is Poverty, and another: Property is Captivity. Still another read: Life is Greater than Food and Wealth. There were more, but his mind had slowed to the point it was difficult for him to contemplate them. He sat in a daze until the lump of candy in his mouth was gone. Almost immediately, his head cleared. For a moment, all he could think about was another piece of candy. He glanced over at Reb. She was just popping the second piece of candy in her mouth—the square one. Her eyes went immediately blank. The other women at the table held similar expressions. They sat there for a few moments—their lips and mouths moved sucking every bit of drug and savor from the candy. Then one by one, as the candy disappeared, their faces returned to normal. Slowly, all the people were finishing their meals and leaving the place.
Synthetic food and drugs--this is what the Citizens of Freedom eat. In the novel, I describe once each of the three meals the Citizens eat. Later, I contrast this with the wonderful "real" food the Party Members eat. The Citizens have no idea how lavish the food of the Party Members is. It's just like our food.
The drugs are also part of dinner for each Citizen. Scott sees two drugs in action. There are more types of drugs that are used for different Citizens. To learn about the drugs, Scott needs to hear from someone else. Although Reb is an expert on chemicals, she is not savvy to the effects of the drugs on humans. In Freedom, only the doctors are knowledgeable about the human effects of drugs. As we saw yesterday, Reb has no idea about drugs in terms of human effects--her knowledge was specifically limited to chemicals. She does understand how chemicals can effect smells, tastes, vision, and to a degree, the human body. She doesn't understand "drug" effects or the point of drugs to control humans.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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