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.
Short digression: I'm writing from Dubai on another around the world tour. Still recovering from the time change, but breakfast is good, and I found the cigar lounge.
I've written about new novels for a year. I intend to continue on this subject. In this time, I've finished three novels--so, the experience of starting and finishing three novels has been encapsulated in one year's worth of blogging. I will continue to write about developing the novel, but I will eventually get into revising. That's what I'm doing at this moment--revising and editing.
Radio communications are more specific than phone communications, and if you don't want to look like an idiot, you need to research and listen to them. All radio communications, especially for aircraft (and spacecraft) follow a pattern and have their own language. I'll give you an example of a written radio communication from my novel, Escape, but literally, don't try this at home unless you know what you are doing.
He turned on the electrical controls and fired up the HF radio. Scott tuned the Air Operations Center frequency. He pressed the microphone key for a second and released it. He heard the tone in the mic as the system aligned the antenna coupling unit. Scott took a breath, then transmitted, “Air Operations Center, Atmospheric Shuttle 023.” He waited a few moments, then transmitted again, “Air Operations Center, Atmospheric Shuttle 023.”
The radio receiver crackled a moment, the auto tuner was adjusting the frequency and gain slightly. Then they distinctly heard, “…023, Air Operations Center, go ahead.”
Reb gave yell and grabbed Scott around the neck. She didn’t let go, just draped her small body against him to listen with him to the radio.
Scott replied, “This is the pilot of Atmospheric Shuttle 023. I had an engine malfunction and landed on the island of Freedom.”
There was a slight pause, then another voice came across the radio, “AS 023, thought you were a gonner. We are still picking up your emergency locator beacon.”
Scott keyed, “What about rescue?”
“Kind of dicey that…we are negotiating for you and the shuttle from authorities in Freedom. What’s your status?”
“I’m free with plenty of food. Evading the authorities at the moment.”
“Evading is not authorized. You need to turn yourself into the authorities of Freedom immediately. Do not commit any crimes in Freedom, like evasion, or we’ll never get you out of there.”
Scott took a deep breath, “You may not be aware of the conditions here—it isn’t safe to be in their hands.”
The radio blasted, “It’s already an international incident here. Turn yourself in and there might be a possibility for your return.”
Scott didn’t key the mic. He mumbled, “I can’t.” Then he keyed it, “I can’t turn myself in. I am being helped by one of their people. I need a rescue for two.”
The radio barked, “Not possible.”
Scott transmitted, “You don’t seem to be aware of the situation here. The authorities are highly dangerous to approach.”
Over the radio came, “Look son, we don’t have much leverage with those people. We are sending a delegation to the Capital to negotiate for the shuttle and the pilot—no one else. If you aren’t there, you aren’t getting out. It’s highly likely our negotiations will fail. They see the incident as an act of aggression. You weren’t supposed to be that close to the place to begin with.”
Scott didn’t reply.
The radio continued, “You still there?”
“These are your instructions. Turn yourself into the authorities. Our team will try to negotiate for your release. What is the condition of the shuttle?”
“Emergency landing made on the atmospheric reserve. The shuttle and cargo are whole and were safe when I left it. The engine failed at altitude. I was able to glide to the island. The authorities in Freedom took control of it, but I don’t think they can fix, move, or fly it.”
“Understood. How did you stay out of their hands?”
“I had help from one of their Citizens. Evading now.”
“I told you—you need to turn yourself in…”
“They’ll kill her, and they might kill me.”
“Understood. I might kill you myself if you ever make it back.”
Scott sighed, but didn’t transmit, “Yeah, I figured.” He came back on the radio, “We’ll attempt to contact your delegation in the Capital.”
“Just a warning. We have a triangulation on your position based on your transmissions.”
Scott cut in, “Can you send a rescue?”
“No way—we already have problems with Freedom and international ones here because of your unexpected landing. The reason for the warning, is if we can do it, so can they.”
“Recommend you turn yourself into the authorities. If you can’t or won’t, try to contact the delegation in the Capital. We can’t risk a rescue under the current circumstances. If we have more information or you need to contact us, use the same time and the alternate AOC frequency.”
“Look AS 023, we are trying our best to get you back, but our hands are tied.”
“Understood. If there isn’t anything else, over and out.”
Except for static, the radio receiver went dead.
A radio transmission always starts with a callout of the identification of the station you want to speak to followed by the identification of the caller. Therefore, in the example, Air Operations Center is the station Scott is trying to reach. His callsign (ID) is Atmospheric Shuttle 023. Once you are in contact, you can use plain voice (normal communications) as long as they are succinct and clear. In the old days, the radio instructions were to say "over." at the end of each transmission. This is unnecessary today and isn't accomplished anymore. "Over and out," means the entire communication is over. This is rarely used, but sometimes appropriate. Note, I used it as the finality of the communication between the AOC and AS023. You can see, radio communications can be a very important means to move the rising action forward. In Escape, this communication drives Scott and Reb to go to the Capital of Freedom. This was their original plan, but the hope of communications and rescue changed that plan. The AOC told them straight out, there was no rescue for them--not unless Scott gave himself in.
Part of the tension in this novel is that Scott doesn't really want to take Reb with him. Reb will and has done everything to escape, but Scott isn't keen on the idea. Reb may or may not realize this through the novel--to Scott it is a constant problem for him. The resolution of the novel is about not just escape, but who will escape. This drives the tension in the rising action.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
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