Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 521, Name Details Character Complexity Q and A

7 December 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 521, Name Details Character Complexity Q and A

Announcement:  Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy.  You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com.  Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness.  I’ll keep you updated.

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.

Today’s Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select “production schedule,” you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.

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 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.

Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the ComputerLilly is my 24th novel.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action.  I’ve started writing Shape.

I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.

Scene development:
1.  Scene input (easy)
2.  Scene output (a little harder)
3.  Scene setting (basic stuff)
4.  Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
5.  Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
6.  Release (climax of creative elements)

I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:

1.  History extrapolation
2.  Technological extrapolation
3.  Intellectual extrapolation

Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been.  It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect).  Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.

One of my blog readers posed these questions.  I’ll use the next few weeks to answer them.

1.  Conflict/tension between characters
2.  Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
3.  Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
4.  Evolving vs static character
5.  Language and style
6.  Verbal, gesture, action
7.  Words employed
8.  Sentence length
9.  Complexity
10.  Type of grammar
11.  Diction
12.  Field of reference or allusion
13.  Tone
14.  Mannerism suggest by speech
15.  Style
16.  Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter’s style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).

Moving on to 3. 3.  Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme I’ll repeat:

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

Third, I know what they look like and who they are.   What do your characters look like?  Okay, the point is this–know what your characters look like.  I write notes for myself, and I make notes about my previous descriptions of my characters.  You must know what your characters look like, and you must describe them sufficiently to your readers.  If you can’t do this, you can’t build a very complex character.

Fourth, what is their name.  A name is a critical item for a character.  This is what you will call the character through the entire novel.  You can’t just pick a name haphazardly.  I always match the name to my characters.  For example, Essie Lyons comes from the true name of the creature Aos Si and the last name is adopted from Mrs. Lyons.  Aos Si sounds like Essie.

The Lyons name comes from Matilda Anne Robina Acland Hastings Lyons.  Mrs. Lyons was originally Matilda Anne Robina Acland Hastings, but she married Bruce Lyons.  Matilda is almost always abbreviated to Tilly.  She is called Aunt Tilly by those who love her.  Matilda Anne Robina Acland Hastings was the only daughter of Lord Hastings.  Her nephew ascended to the position of Lord Hastings and Tilly got Bruce.  This was a good deal to her since she didn’t care a wit for the title, but she cared a great deal about Bruce.  We find that Bruce came from Lyonshall and Tilly returned there with him when he retired from government service.  Bruce died and Tilly lives alone in their old house in Lyonshall.  That is the history of Mrs. Lyons and her name in a nutshell.  You might ask about the other names.  I haven’t arrived at that point in my newest novel to explain them, but I shall. Names are critical.  Here is another example from Shape.   Essie’s house buddy is Tabitha Gwalchmai.  The Tabitha was taken from popular names for the times.  I chose it because I liked the way it sounds for the character and because I wanted to contract it to Tabs.  Gwalchmai is Welsh for field hawk or hawk of may and directly describes Tabs character to a degree.  Tabs studies Welsh with Essie and is Welsh.  This is the extent I go to pick the exact name for a character.  By the way, always say the name out loud and make sure it doesn’t sound stupid or bad.

More tomorrow.

For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:

http://www.ancientlight.com/
http://www.aegyptnovel.com/
http://www.centurionnovel.com
http://www.thesecondmission.com/
http://www.theendofhonor.com/
http://www.thefoxshonor.com
http://www.aseasonofhonor.com

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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