Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 483, Age Examples Speech Characteristics Character Presentation Q and A

30 October 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 483, Age Examples Speech Characteristics Character Presentation 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 2.  2.  Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)

An author develops a character first and then reveals the character through the plot.  Plot revelation is what it is all about.  We do not reveal characters by telling.  First develop, then reveal.

Appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, and actions are means of character revelation.  I really like this list–let’s look at each piece.

Here is another example from the newest novel I am writing, working title, Shape:

Ms. Weeks led and Mrs. Lyons and Essie followed up the front stairs and to the headmistress’s office. The secretary was missing from the front office, but Ms. Weeks went right into her office. The room was large, bright, and airy. It looked as if it might have started life as a classroom. The whitewashed wooden walls were covered with photographs of girls from every year the school had been opened. She pointed to a comfortable long sofa in front of her desk and asked, “May I offer you tea?”

Mrs. Lyons nodded. Ms. Weeks poured. The tea was a bit stale.

Ms. Weeks went around her desk and sat. She made a slight face, “I received the letter from Father Maddison introducing you and Essie. Perhaps you don’t realize, induction of new students was scheduled for June this year. We are just about to begin the Michaelmas Term on one September. In other words, you’ve missed the usual entrance examination and vetting process, especially those for scholarship students.”

“Ah, I see. Then I suppose we should be going.”

Ms. Weeks brow rose, “Not so fast, please. My intent wasn’t to put you off entirely, but to give you a little insight to my difficulties…I do have an open position in the 10th year that I believe Essie might be able to fill, but I can’t assure you of any scholarships or many choices of curriculum. Additionally, although Father Maddison gave Essie a glowing recommendation, she must still take the usual entrance examinations.”

“I see. Then how shall we proceed?”

Ms. Weeks took a breath, “I know this is a little backwards, but first, I would like to interview Ms. Lyons. Pending that, we can schedule her examinations, and finally, we can have her scholarship skills evaluated. Father Maddison wrote that Essie is skilled in the organ and keyboard. I do happen to have scholarship money remaining for music this year.”

Mrs. Lyons cocked her head, “In the main, I was hoping that Essie could get a tour of the school and meet some of your students. She hasn’t had much organized schooling. I’d like to see if the school itself is a good fit for her.”

“Yes, yes, yes…I understand entirely. Let me interview her today. If you can return in a week’s time, one of my new teachers will be back for the Michaelmas Semester. I want her to administer the tests and introduce Essie to the school. It will be her first year here, and she will be Essie’s form tutor. My music staff will be available to introduce Essie to the music studies at the same time. Additionally, most of the girls will be back.”

“Very well. Would you like me to leave, or may I stay and listen to the interview?”

“Please stay. But could you please take my desk chair while I speak to Ms. Lyons?”

Mrs. Lyons stood and walked around the desk. Ms. Weeks took Mrs. Lyon’s seat on the sofa.

This is a conversation between two older women.  Essie is in the room, but she doesn’t interact here–yet.  Mrs. Lyons is in her 80s and Ms. Weeks is in her 50s.  Ms. Weeks doesn’t need to establish hierarchy–she is the headmistress.  Mrs. Lyons doesn’t need to establish hierarchy, she is older.  The conversation is informative an without many exclamations or figures of speech.  Both characters are differential and respectful.  Standard English is used throughout, but the formulas and terms used are a little stuffy.  This is one example of how adults address each other, and how they interact.

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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