Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 484, Age to Youth Example Speech Characteristics Character Presentation Q and A

31 October 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 484, Age to Youth Example 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 began, “Now Essie, if you can, please ignore that Mrs. Lyons is in the room with us and just relax and answer my questions.”

Essie nodded.

“First, why would you like to go to school here?”

Essie smiled and glanced for a moment at Ms. Weeks, “I just learned about school and I would very much like to attend one. Father Maddison has been teaching me, and he recommended your school to us.”

Ms. Week looked puzzled, “You just learned about school?”

Essie cocked her head, “I am adopted. I wasn’t raised in the best circumstances. I only recently learned to read. That’s why I am a bit slow.”

“Slow, oh my. Will you be able to keep up?”

“My mother tells me I will be able to, but I might need some help.”

Ms. Weeks leaned toward Essie, “What kind of help exactly?”

“I have no problems if I hear something, but my reading is still a bit slow. Father Maddison says I have a photographic memory.”

“Amazing. The teacher I wish to assign as your form tutor should be able to help you and pair you with other students who can also help, but I’d rather you not fail. Your vocabulary and speech sounds very skilled. Much better than many of our students your age. Other than your memory, what are your special skills?”

“Father Maddison told me to say: Welsh and the organ.”

“Welsh, that will please many of our teachers—not many in Wales speak, read, or write the language any more. What would you say your skills are?”

Essie grinned, “I can make tea and serve it. I can sing and tell stories.”

“Very well, Ms. Lyons. Please make us tea and serve it.”

This conversation may not be the best example of one between age and youth, but it does indicate the basic structural components of difference I’ve been mentioning.  The main point is the approach of each to the conversation.  Mrs. Weeks is an adult.  She is focused on exactly what she wants to know.  This isn’t always true of every adult in conversation, but this should always be true of an adult in an interview.  The giver of the interview always has the upper hand.  Second, although she doesn’t speak down to Essie, their positions are obvious.  Essie, on the other hand, is open to the point of being naïve.  That is just Essie, but many if not most youth are like her.  She desires to please and is willing to answer the questions honestly.  An adult would not be so honest or obliging.  Adults realize quickly that the absolute truth is not always the best in every situation.  Maturity in transition makes use of this.   In looking at these examples, you might say the differences in the approach to the ages of the characters is subtle–why, yes it is.  That is exactly the point.

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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