Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 309, Paragraph Initial Scene

9 May 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 309, Paragraph Initial Scene

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 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.

I’ll make a slight digression because I’m developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly.  Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.

Cover Proposal

The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene.  I’m writing about the initial scene of my newest novel, “Escape.”  Escape is the working title.  I’ll decide on the proposed title when I finish the novel.  I’m at the eight chapter right now.  That means I’ve written about 160 pages.

The entertainment (and excitement) should start with the first sentence and paragraph and grow to envelope the first scene.  Here is the first paragraph from Escape (working title).

V10+S10537 Rebecka trudged home alone from the Development Center. She took the shortcut across the headlands instead of the main road—that way she wouldn’t have to see the pictures of the supreme leader or read the current slogans posted along the way. She was a sensitivity level ten plus for visual and a sensitivity level ten for smell. The colors of the posters always upset her and the smell of the processing facility made her nauseous. Usually Racheal, Robin, and Ruth walked home with her this way, but they had not been released from their shift right away and Rebecka was hungry plus her head hurt. She always finished her quota early and usually, Robin released her from their shift on time.

I suspect I could bring a little more excitement into the initial paragraph by focusing on Scott first.  Scott is piloting the shuttle way above Reb.  Let’s see what I am trying to do with this initial paragraph.  I’d be interested to know if it excites you enough to want to read the novel.

I wanted to start with balance–the life of Reb and a little about her.  This is the purpose of this first paragraph.  I want to present an odd existence–an existence that cries out to be understood.  An existence that I want my readers to desire more about.  That’s why I start with her name which is like a social security number.  In her society the name has been replaced with a code.

In this first paragraph, I provide a bunch of unsolved mysteries, secrets if you like, that will be revealed in the novel.  The first and most obvious is her name code.  The second is the Development Center.  Next are the pictures and slogans.  Then her skills–they are more than human.  Secondary are her friends and her work.  These aren’t mysteries so much as description to fill out her life–and to draw in the reader.  That’s the point of everything, to draw in the reader–the more intimate the better.

More tomorrow.

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



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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