Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 509, more Essie Actions Characteristics Character Presentation Q and A

25 November 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 509, more Essie Actions 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.

Actions define a character.  Words are actions.  Here is an example from the newest novel I’m writing.  Essie is the Aos Si.  She is also the goddess (guardian) of the fae.  The fae don’t like being ruled by a creature less beautiful, refined, and intelligent than they.  This short conversation perhaps encapsulates the essence of Essie more than any other.

After Mrs. Lyons picked up her fork from the floor and her jaw from its fully open position, she choked, “If you are not a person, then what are you?”

Essie turned her face away and didn’t look up, “My names tell you what I am. That is all I will say.”

“Well yes,” Mrs. Lyons became suddenly all bustle. “In that case, you must help me put the pantry to rights, then we will change your bed linens. After that, you may scrub my floor where you soiled it…”

“Please don’t beat me again.”

“I won’t beat you, child. I only want to help you. If you do as I ask, there is no reason for you to fear at all.”


“Well, yes. Can you stand on your foot?”

“Not well.”

“I’ll help you to the pantry. You will help me clean it up.”

“I will do as you say…for now.”

“Yes. If you do as I ask, I will not cause you any pain or threaten you, but I will point out, you broke into my house and stole my ham.”

Essie’s eyes flashed, but she didn’t dare glance at Mrs. Lyons, “I was hungry.”

“So you said. That is no excuse. I intend to give you a proper moral and ethical education. Even if you don’t think you are a person, you certainly look like one. If you look like one, you certainly should act like one. Do I make myself clear?”

“No one has ever treated me like a person before…”

“I shall, and that is that. Did you eat enough for breakfast?”


“Then to the pantry.” Mrs. Lyons helped Essie hobble to the pantry. They began cleaning up the mess. Mrs. Lyons tossed the girl a wet rag to wipe the floor. When they finished, they went to the guest bedroom and changed the linens on the bed. Then Mrs. Lyons helped Essie wash and scrub the floor.

Essie is a pure creature of the wild.  Admittedly, it is the British wild–so perhaps not so wild.  She is a very peaceful being and not easily provoked, but she has never been treated correctly.  I gave you a little of a scene about Queen (or rather goddess) Essie.  The fae reluctantly bow to her, but they fear her as well as love her.  She represents all that is wrong in their world, but she is the perfection of their world.

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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