Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 455, Character Exercises Q&A Developing the Rising Action

2 October 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 455, Character Exercises Q&A Developing 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 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).
17.  Intro the concepts to my boys, using Homer’s Illiad, chp 4-7.
18.  Looking for a logical framework for their lit. analysis, or, even tricks, traps and techniques you’ve employed, as deconstruction/analysis and ‘imitation’ of good writings

I want to start with 18.  Looking for a logical framework for their lit. analysis, or, even tricks, traps and techniques you’ve employed, as deconstruction/analysis and ‘imitation’ of good writings

Slight digression: I’m writing from Cairo on another world tour.

Another good exercise is the development of a character.  The simple development of a character can result in a novel.  Creativity is easily unleashed with this kind of development.  Additionally, you can study history and historical characters by developing a character.  Here is an example of character development from my newest novel, Shape (working title).

First, what do they look like?  Essie, the protagonist of Shape is small and black haired.  She is about 15 to 16 (actual age unknown).  She looks like she is about 12, but more developed.  Her hair is long and straight an her skin is untanned.  This was the result of years of confinement.  Her face is relatively plain.  Her eyes are large and her nose is small.  Her ears are slightly pointed.

Second, what is their name?  Essie is not a person.  She is an Aos Si or Sith.  The name Essie comes from Aos Si which roughly sounds like Essie.  Her name in the novel becomes Essie Lyons.  She is unofficially, then later officially adopted by Mrs. Lyons, the protagonist’s helper.

Third, what is their history?  Essie is a Fae creature.  She was not born in the regular sense, or rather, her origins are part of the mystery in the novel.  She did not go to school.  Since her creation/birth, she has been kept  a small cage, first by the Welsh court of the Fae (fairies) and then by the Morfrans.  She was kept in a silver metal cage which is the only cage and lock that could hold her.  She owns a book, a cage, a key (for the cage), and a branch with an embedded stone.  The book is the book of the Aos Si, a book of spells only the Aos Si can accomplish.  The branch with the stone comes from her place of power.  The age of the Aos Si is unknown.  How long she was captured and kept is also unknown.  She was held so long that she has no idea of her past or her origins.  The Aos Si is a creature that is part human and part Fae.  She is a witch, but doesn’t use spells or magic in the human sense.  She can use the magic of the Fae.  That is why the Fae Courts hate her, and why they confined her.  The Aos Si can change into a Scottish wildcat.  That is a very large wild cat that is completely black with a white marking on its chest.  The Aos Si was considered the most dangerous of the Fae.  Because Essie is really a wildcat, she can’t and won’t eat anything except protein.  She has other cat-like characteristics.

Fourth, how do they think about the world?  Essie has been confined for as long as she can remember.  She was beaten by the Fae and by the Morfrans to prevent her from turning.  She has never been educated or forgot all her education.  She knows nothing of the world until Mrs. Lyons decides to keep and reform her.  Essie is a timid person and a fearsome wild animal.  As a person, she is unassuming, quiet, and slow.  As a wildcat, she is resolute and dangerous.  She can’t imagine anyone being her friend or her helper.  She has never had a friend or can’t remember having a friend in all her life.  She has nothing and no one.

Try this type of development of a character.  You can see, Essie is a character worth writing about.

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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