Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 542, Verbal, Gesture, Action Q and A

28 December 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 542, Verbal, Gesture, Action 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 6. 6.  Verbal, gesture, action

Short digression:  I’m writing from Ketchikan, Alaska.

Language is probably worth at least a year of explanation and example, but I’ll move on to the next question. I already addressed this question in detail before, but we might as well tackle it again. I can try to look at the idea of verbal, gesture, and action from a different standpoint than before.

Usually, my main focus on verbal, action, and gesture is for the purpose of identification of characters during conversation and to bring out the unspoken parts of the conversation. In general, the entire purpose of gesture, action, and verbal is in character revelation. So let’s contemplate that for a moment.

There is something implied directly in that last statement. For example, in a novel, as opposed to a conversation, the writer can point out beautiful events and moments that happen often in real conversation, but are revelations in a novel’s conversation. I’m talking about the pregnant pause in all of its types, styles, and glory. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t say: no one spoke, as part of a conversation in writing. I disagree completely. Simply by writing: no one spoke, the author is revealing something potentially important about the conversation and conversers. There are other ways to convey these moments of silence.

In a real conversation, the conversers might simply miss, ignore, or bowl over the silence—in a novel, the moment becomes a moment of revelation. Thus:

Kathrin looked down, “She does sing the music of the fae—that’s exactly what we heard at her concert. She played the night music of the fae. She didn’t sing it, she allowed the organ to sing her song.”

Leila knuckled her eyes, “Grandmother, I saw her scars. You placed them there…”

“I did not scar her.”

“You did grandmother. You allowed the fae to capture her. They gave her to the Morfrans. The Morfrans beat her to keep her captive and to prevent her from using her power.”

“What is that to me?”

Leila stood, “If Essie is your subject, how can you cause her so much pain and suffering.”

Kathrin pressed her lips together, “I really don’t wish to argue with you, Leila. She doesn’t suffer as we do—the Aos Si is a dangerous creature.”

Leila clenched her fists, “Do you know the revenge Essie took on the fae for her confinement?”

Kathrin cocked her head.

“Essie blessed them. She does not take revenge. She has the power to cause all kinds of suffering, but she doesn’t. She chooses not to.”

“I asked you—what is that to me?”

“Grandmother, the reason the fae oppose you now is because of her.”

“Sit down, Leila.”

Leila shook for a moment, then she plopped down in her chair again.

Kathrin thought for a long moment.

When Leila began to speak, Kathrin up up her hand. Finally, Kathrin stated, “I admit. We are having a problem with the fae. I believe that problem has to do with the Aos Si. I think I am beginning to understand part of the problem, but I’m not certain.” Kathrin turned to Tilly, “Tilly, what do you think about all this?”

“I saw the scars on Essie’s back. I have her cage in my garden shed. I saw the Morfrans beat her…”

Kathrin sat up, “Beat her—you actually saw them beat her?”

“They told me, Ceridwen required them to hold and beat her. They said they acted on Ceridwen’s orders.”

Kathrin colored, “I didn’t imagine.”

Leila snarled, “You said yourself she doesn’t suffer as we do—she suffers much more than we do.”

Kathrin put out her hand, “Hush, Leila. I am trying to determine what to do about this.”

Leila curled her lip, “It should be obvious to you.”

Kathrin stared at her, “I want to ask Tilly’s opinion.”

The above presents an example of conversation from my latest novel, Shape. The conversation contains three instances of silence or broken conversation where actions or gestures occur instead of speech. These points and places are as important as what is spoken in the text. I’ll get into more tomorrow.

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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