Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 364, Phone Information, the Rising Action

3 July 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 364, Phone Information, the Rising Action

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.

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’m writing about the transition from the initial scene to the rising action of my newest novel, “Escape.”  Escape is the working title.  I’ll decide on the actual proposed title when I finish the novel.  I’m at the nineteenth chapter right now.  That means I’ve written about 380 pages.  I’ve just started on the next major run-through.

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.  Recovering from the time change.

I’ve listed many ways of sharing and exploring information.  One of the most important in the past and one that is misused a lot is the phone and radio.  Everyone is an expert on phones–or in the first world, they should be.  If you aren’t an expert on phone communications–that is, if you haven’t used them most of your life, you shouldn’t even attempt to use them for information sharing in your novels–not without extensive study.

I’ve read pieces by expert writers who have messed up phone communications.  The main reason–they don’t follow the main guidelines (rules) of conversation–especially the first few. In writing a phone conversation, you must identify the participants in a much stronger way than you do in regular conversation.  The reason is that your tags and identifications from at least one side are all via sound only.  You can show tags and easily ID the Point of View (POV) caller–you can’t do the same for the other side.  You can see this might be a similar problem for texting and other types of two way communication.  The author must be very clear and very direct about the identification of the speakers.  Here is an example from my unpublished novel, Khione:

In the morning, when Pearce went to visit Khione there was an altercation at the hospital. They wouldn’t let Pearce see her, and her room was blocked by police officers and tape. Pearce called his father from the atrium, “Dad, what’s going on with Khione. They wouldn’t let me see her.”

Dr. Wimund’s voice was weary, “She’s gone Pearce.”


“She slipped out of the window last night and the police are searching for her.”

“Is she alright?”

“No idea. I just found out myself. The nurse said she was active and mobile and seemed to be recovering well. When they checked on her during the night, she was gone.”

“I’m going to look for her.”

Dr. Wimund’s voice was bland, “And how are you going to find her? From what you told me, she’s adept at hiding in the city.”

“Adept when she is well.”

“Perhaps that is part of it. She felt well enough to escape. She might show up on your doorstep. She doesn’t have anywhere else to go.”

Pearce asked, “Did she take her things?”

“No idea, the police have her room on a lockdown.”

“She isn’t an escaped convict.”

“Son, ICE is involved and maybe others. I don’t know what else might be happening.”

“Won’t they keep you informed?”

“Hard to tell. They think she is dangerous, but I don’t think they will shoot her or anything.”

“I’m going to look for her.”

“My prayers will be with you.”

“Thanks, dad,” Pearce hung up.

This phone conversation might need more tags especially from Pearce’s side.  Notice, the initial identification of who is speaking and the very specific sound tags.  There are limited ID tags to hold to the feel of a phone conversation.  The point is this–ID your speakers.  Remember tags can be sound based or voice based.  Make it sound like a phone conversation.  Ensure the reader understands the topic.  I think you can piece a great deal from this short conversation, and you haven’t read the rest of the novel.  Radio communications are even more important to get right.

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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